UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Homeowners always have good reasons for entering an unfinished house. By the time they decide to move in, they are probably tired of renting, are out of options, or believe the construction will go faster. Ideally, everyone wishes to finish their house before moving in, however, financial constraints force many to adjust their dreams. Many believe that if a house is roofed, and has doors with a concrete floor, it is habitable.
On September 3, 2019, Allan Gyavira and his family opted to enter their unfinished house because of pressure from rental arrears.
He narrates his predicament, “it was scary, yet it was the only option, having lost my job at the beginning of the year. We had to prepare the children for what lay ahead. Unfortunately, it was not enough as the younger one was so shocked. The place was deserted and bushy, the house had a rough floor, no water or electricity.”
“We used a latrine rather than a flushing toilet. Looking back, we felt it was a mistake, but working together to build our home with all the resources at our disposal has drawn us together,” Gyavira recalls.
Moving into an Unfinished House Experiences
Ronald B. Ogwang, a software developer, and his family moved to their incomplete house in January 2020. When the area is bushy, the house isn’t painted, and with an unlevelled compound, the drawbacks of moving in may outweigh the benefits. Stagnant water from the unlevelled ground becomes the breeding place for mosquitoes, putting your family at risk of contracting diseases like malaria.
“The house is in Bunono Entebbe near Lake Victoria, where mosquitos are abundant. Yet also because of the unlevelled compound where sometimes water would stagnate and cause more breeding space for the mosquitos, this became the biggest problem for my family. The ventilators had not yet been wire meshed, which made matters even worse,” says Ogwang.
“I remember how my three-year-old would keep telling me ‘dad the mosquitos are too many here but they were few in the other home’ and I would feel the pressure to do something about it,” Ogwang recalls.
Dusty homes may also cause allergies to the family members. Too much dust was another challenge, according to Ogwang.
“There was too much dust even though we had put woollen carpets to reduce it and also offer a level of protection for the children against nasty falls. I always feared for my gadgets, especially the workstation. Every time they swept everything would become dusty,” Ogwang says.
Robert K. Musabe, an electrical engineer, began constructing his house in 2017. After plastering inside, and putting the doors and windows in, his family moved into their incomplete house in January 2019. The house had no water and partially installed electricity in some rooms.
“We were living in a two-bedroom rental house for which I was being charged Ush 380, 000 per month. On calculating how much the money would contribute to the completion of our own house, we moved in since the basics were already in place,” says Musabe.
According to Musabe, the major inconvenience was the outside latrine with the bushy surroundings. Musabe’s house was the first to be built around many undeveloped plots of land, and his immediate neighbours were distant.
How to Enter an Unfinished House safely
Zedekia Mwesigwa Mbeta, an architect at Mweze Construction Company Limited, says the most common challenge is allergies. Depending on the level of the house, dampness, dust and chemicals in the paint may trigger allergies.
There are ways to cope with mosquitoes and dust, among other challenges. Here is how to safely enter an incomplete house.
Rainwater harvesting could solve the lack of piped water supply. This will also help to reduce stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. Before entering the unfinished house, put all ventilators and external windows and doors to keep away insects and thieves.
According to Mwesigwa, to avoid allergies, it is safer to enter the house when the slab is dry.
“Usually the floor slab takes about 21 days, emitting some vapour as it sets after which it continues setting without the emission. It’s safer for one to enter after at least 21 days. The paint also needs about seven days before one can live with it day and night having no form of allergic reactions to the chemicals in the paint,” Mwesigwa says.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Supervise Your House Construction
Aggrey Musobo, a quantity surveyor, says moving into the incomplete house helps the homeowner supervise the progress of the house.
Before moving in, Musobo warns you should be ready for the inevitable inconveniences. Digging dry walls, floors, and ceilings could arouse toxins that could compromise the health of your family.
Even mere dust without toxins can be an enormous challenge, as it may require constant cleaning and may cause health problems for asthmatic individuals.
“Some people are even allergic to paint; if the process requires moving heavy stuff in the house, it can also be such an inconvenience,” Musobo says.
Save More to Complete the House
Philip Luswata, an actor, says, he used to pay a monthly rent of USh450,000. He then realised that instead of paying rent, he could save that money to buy materials to finish his bungalow.
“So we first beautified one room to a habitable level and moved into the house,” he says.
He kept saving the would-be rent to buy materials, and the strategy worked. Luswata advises salary earners to open a direct debit account and deduct a certain amount monthly to fund the construction.
However, Luswata admits that at some point, you may become too comfortable and not complete the house as you hoped, even if you get the money.
Dorine Banya with over 14000 followers on Facebook advises that as long as the house has a roof, try every available means and enter your house.
“One of the hardest stages of construction is roofing. When you finally roof and don’t have enough money to fix windows and doors, just get pieces of iron sheets or pieces of wood and block those gaps. Fabricate a door from wood or even iron sheets, then leave your landlord’s house and move into your own.” “I lived in my house like that for one year and five months. No electricity, no water, no cement on the floor but soil, with two little children,” Banya’s post reads in part.
She also advises her followers not to put themselves under pressure “because your neighbour built a kalina (storeyed house) in less than eight months.”
According to her, to complete the house in the shortest time, assume that you are still renting, and save the rent money.
“In your mind, keep assuming that you are still renting, and use that rent money you would have given your landlord, finish your house slowly. Every time you get some extra money, do not spend it on that fancy bag, pair of shoes, or perfume. Pass by a hardware store and deposit for materials,” Banya says.
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