What it takes to build boys quarters

By Umar Nsubuga

Added 8th April 2018 03:05 PM

For convenience, many people need their house help to be resident, thus the need for boys quarters

House 703x422

For convenience, many people need their house help to be resident, thus the need for boys quarters

PIC: Boys quarters are provided for in modern architectural planning. (File photo)


In modern housing estates, each apartment has a provision of an extra room attached to the main house for the house help.

Architect Abdu-Wahab Nyanzi says people build servant rooms for many reasons, ranging from cultural to the need for family privacy. The size, Nyanzi says, depends on one’s taste or space.

In modern homes, it is inevitable to have chores that will require extra hands from a shamba boy or house help.

For convenience, many people need their house help to be resident, thus the need for boys quarters.

David Kireli, a civil engineer, says although some people are abandoning boys quarters due to space constraints, they are still provided for in modern architectural planning.

The traditional servants’ quarters is a two-roomed structure detached from the main house — one room for the female and another for the male servants. This structure could cost about sh9,690,000 to sh10m.

The materials

Fred Lukoda, a construction engineer, says a developer will need about 7,500-8,000 bricks to put up a complete structure. The current market price of clay bricks is sh250-280 per burnt brick, so the developer will spend sh1, 280,000 to sh2,080,000 on bricks.

You will need about two trips of sand for constructing the wall and another two trips for plastering. The type of sand used should be lake sand because it makes walls less prone to cracking as it has smaller particles. The cost of a trip of sand goes for sh350,000 to sh400,000. Thus, it will cost sh1,600,000 for the four trips of sand, says Lukoda.


Lukoda says a developer will need about 85 bags of cement (for building the wall and plastering). “Raising the wall will consume about 40 bags and plastering will require 45 bags,” he says.

Calculated at the price of sh29,500 to sh32,000 per bag, you will spend about sh2,560,000 on the cement.


During the plastering time, lime is used and at least two bags will be needed. Each bag costs about sh24,000, hence about sh48,000.

Fred Mpalanyi, a carpenter and a roofing expert, says 35kg of nails and 18-20 iron sheets are required for roofing. For the nails, going by the current market prices of sh6,000 per kilogramme, you will incur about sh180,000.

For iron sheets at the price of sh32,000 per piece, you will need sh850,000. According to Lukoda, this price is for ordinary, plain galvanised iron sheets. He says the price will be higher if you choose the coloured galvanised iron sheets, which cost between sh50,000 and sh70,000.

After sorting out iron sheets and other materials, there is also expenditure on timber. For roofing to be complete, one needs 80 pieces of timber. Mpalanyi says pine is more preferred because it is straight and durable, although it is more expensive.

He also says a developer can use musizi timber, which is cheaper. Each piece costs sh11,000 to sh12,000. Thus, for 80 pieces, you will need about sh800,000 and sh1.2m, if you choose pine timber.

The other expense will be on hook loop rolls for holding roof timber to the main wall. You will need two, each at sh22,000. Thus, it will cost sh44,000.

“The developer will also need fascia boards (these will be about seven or eight pieces). Each piece goes for sh25,000. This means you will spend about sh200,000,” Lukoda says.

After roofing the house, the next step is painting. You will need four 20-litre jerrycans of paint, all at a cost of sh400,000. You will need two windows and two doors. You can use wooden or metallic ones.

Kireli says the metallic ones are preferred because they are cheaper; each may go for sh200,000, hence sh800,000 for both windows and doors.

More From The Author

Related articles