UGANDA, Lira | Real Muloodi News | In Part 1 of this series, we told the story of how Mr Michael Chris Adonyo, a young 26-year-old average income earner, was able to save enough money in 4 short months to buy a plot of land in Lira and commenced building his three-bedroomed, self-contained home for his young family.
Let’s pick up where we left off on Michael’s construction journey:
Building up to the Wall Plate Level
After Michael finished the foundation, he let go of the contractor and directly hired 5 builders; 3 pulleys and 2 helpers, who could take daily wages.
Michael narrates: “I would pay one builder more than the others so he would supervise the other builders and the helpers. So, like this, I built from foundation to window level.”
This was the easiest milestone for Michael since he was taking it slow. Unlike the foundation, he wasn’t so strained because he could break down the costs into amounts manageable for an average income earner, as opposed to having a big amount of money at once.
He narrates, “A contractor tells you, okay, you need USh 500,000 right now for something on the site, which sometimes becomes scary. You wonder where you will get such an amount! It is much easier for a self-employed person to plan and manage the work.”
Michael says, “Whenever I had some money, I would buy ten bags of cement and calculate how long it would take to finish a certain portion of the building. If the builder tells me it would take about five days, I look for their labour money for five days. I look for money to feed them for five days. I look for the money for water for those five days. My trusted builder would tell me that a bag of cement would last for about this many days, so it made me plan well.”
The total cost of building from the foundation to the wall plate was USh 3.8 million; bricks and 20 bags of cement and sand inclusive.
Michael told Real Muloodi News that building up to the window level was actually easier and a little bit cheaper because the house had big windows and doors.
After that, it took Michael one month to recuperate before he started laying the beam.
Laying the Beam
Michael says the hardest part of building his home (financially) was the beam. The beam was extremely expensive for him because he was building a three-bedroomed house with a master bedroom and a kid’s room, a dining room, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and an executive toilet.
“My builder told me if you want your house to be strong, ensure to lay the iron bars on the whole upper part. So I bought the iron bars to make the framework, and it was extremely expensive,” he says.
On top of the cost of the iron itself, Michael also had to pay for the cost of timber holding up the beam. He was able to save a bit of money by hiring the timber, which was cheaper than purchasing it, and he was given days to take it back, he explains.
Running out of Money
The beam was so expensive, that Michael had to resort to selling his belongings just to finish this stage of construction.
Michael narrates: “It became so hard that I had to sell some of my household items. Yes. I sold my sofa set and TV and we started sitting down on the ground. Yeah. We had to sell our fridge,” he laments.
“Building the foundation and the wall coming up wasn’t all that expensive. But then the beam was another thing altogether. It taught me a lesson that I had to prepare enough for roofing.”
Michael says, “When it comes to roofing, make sure you plan. I had not planned the cost of tying the beam. Laying the beam cost me USh 7.6 million.”
After laying the beam, Michael was so strained financially that he laid off the construction of his home for a full year.
With the lessons learned from the beam, Michael had the forethought that the roofing might cost him a lot, so he decided to plan ahead for it. He wanted to have all the funds ready to finish it in one go.
“The person who did my roofing was different from the builder. I sat down with the carpenter to get a quotation for the roofing cost. The total budget for roofing only was USh 15 million, yet even the land I bought was less than that amount. So, he advised me to start depositing at a trusted hardware store for iron sheets and timber, which are the most expensive items on the budget,” he narrates.
“We budgeted for 70 iron sheets. The carpenter told me to save some extra money because there are things that get missing when roofing starts,” Michael says.
Michael bought box corrugated iron sheets through his deposits of money at a trusted hardware store. The store had been in existence for more than 5 years and knew it wouldn’t close overnight and disappear with his money.
Micheal narrates: “When I started roofing, the iron sheets weren’t enough. They were less by five. I had to add an extra five of them each at 40,000. That was USh 200,000. The cost of iron sheets went up to 3 million, yet at first, we had budgeted for USh 2.8 million.”
He didn’t have the funds for all of the iron sheets, and this is where he started seeking small bank loans to make up for the shortfall.
He used 75 iron sheets and each cost USh 40,000. The total cost of the iron sheet was USh 3 million.
Clever Means of Using Timber
According to Michael, although timber for the roofing was expensive, he devised means to reduce the cost.
He explains, ”I bought pine trees, which was actually cheap. Each pine tree would cost me USh 200,000 and we hired a machine to cut them. They would cut around 20 pieces of wood out of one tree. The cost of cutting was between USh 5000-8000 and I saved a lot more money here.”
The total cost of timber was USh 2.6 million. He did the roofing and the ceiling at the entire cost of around USh 11 million, labour excluded.
After roofing, Michael says they took a break of four months so they could service the loans he had taken from the bank.
Window and Door Installation
In January 2021, before the second national lockdown, Michael got a local welder to give him a price quotation for all the doors and windows the house needed. He deposited USh 1.5 million in advance, although that was not the total cost of all the doors and windows.
According to Michael, the front door cost USh 500,000. The house needed six windows, and each was at USh 350,000.
“The installation of doors and windows was also extremely expensive. We wanted slide bugler-proof windows. We also needed two doors, one for the kitchen and one for the guest room. Each of these doors cost USh 280,000,” he says. “We also installed small windows for the toilet and each was USh 120,000. We were stuck again, and had to borrow from friends,” he explains.
Window frame and door installation cost a total of USh 3.4 million, glass and labour excluded.
Luckily, Michael had supportive friends that lent him some money to complete his house.
When the window frame and door installation was done, Michael and his family decided to move into their house, and do the finishings while sleeping in it. This is when things got really hard.
When Michael and his family moved in, there was no running water, and he didn’t have a toilet. The windows were without glass and the floor was still dirt. Life was difficult.
In Part 3 of this series (CLICK HERE), we will continue with Michael’s journey constructing his 3 bedroomed family home.
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