By Umar Nsubuga
Occupying unfinished houses in Uganda is common. People are sometimes presented with challenges that force them to move into their unfinished houses .The most common one being the financial.
But because of the financial problems many are forced to occupy them.
The public health regulation have guidelines on what a finished and habitable house is, many people are unaware of this and hence have developed their own standards of what is finished or not.
Abdu-Wahab Nyanzi an architect with JR Consultants says, the definition of unfinished or almost finished is relative.
"For the purpose of this, we shall consider a house with a roof, window frames and external doors as the minimum unfinished unit. Having an operational bathroom and toilet is critical to having this arrangement successful", he says.
The decision to move into a finished or unfinished house is entirely up to the owner. For obvious reasons, a finished house is every one’s desire but to many it remains a dream.
Why people move into unfinished houses?
Some people move into unfinished houses due to difficult economic situations. For example one might have a sudden reduction in income and can no longer afford to pay for rent.
Nyanzi says some clients want to closely supervise the work on their houses as it nears completion. Such a client might decide to move in as one of the alternatives.
"That way he can manage to stock expensive finishing materials and also give directions on how to install some of the delicate pieces", he says.
Saving for completion
If a person is living in a rented house and is having challenges finding money to finish his house, it would be a wise decision to move in and use the savings on rent to push the project to completion.
Pressure from family and friends
Many people move into their unfinished houses due to pressure from friends or family
Very often wives push their husbands to move into unfinished houses. Sometimes friends convince one to move in citing all the advantages of living in one’s own home.
Some people opt to move into unfinished houses in search for more living space. Rented space is usually limited.
Why some people opt to finish their houses before moving in.
"Some developers are so mindful of their social status that they would not want to be seen living in an unfinished house", says Nyanzi.
Living in such a house might be interpreted and a decline in social status, a troubled financial situation or poor taste.
Advantages of finishing a house first
Living in an unfinished house comes with a lot of inconveniences. Depending on how far the project has gone, the house usually has a lot of dust and it is difficult to clean.
In some cases there might be many workers at the site who encroaches on owner’s privacy.
Living in the house that is still undergoing construction, exposes the occupants to accidents. There is risk of injury due to falling debris, children playing with tools, live electrical wires and falling from heights.
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