Building in Kenya ordinarily requires several consultants that work in tandem with the Kenyan Architect to create a successful building project. Once the architect has carried out design of the masterplan, additional design is required on the infrastructure all around the master plan. Enter the civil engineer.

The Kenyan Architect working in tandem with the Civil Engineer

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civil engineering on roads

The Civil Engineer will be expected to design the requisite civil engineering and infrastructural services that are necessary not only to adequately serve the proposed development at full usage but also provide habitable and hygienic conditions that meet the basic health and environmental requirements.

The services will include the access roads, internal roads, car parking, storm-water drainage; water supply and sewerage systems. The design will aim to provide functional and yet economical infrastructure for the proposed development, while taking into consideration the necessary engineering, health and environmental factors.

Design of Roads, Parking and Drainage by the Kenyan Architect, then by the Civil Engineer.

The Kenyan Architect is responsible for the general classification of various sizes of roads within his masterplan. Linkages and nodes, which are part of the masterplan must be clearly thought out, and spatial qualities must be considered. The landscape architect has a part to play here too. General specifications of roads and paving may be done as part of the architect’s external space designs, and this is thereafter handed on to the civil engineer.

This component of the services will entail the provision of the necessary access roads, footpaths, parking areas and drainage systems that conform to the applicable design standards and that are of sufficient capacity to serve the expected usage of the office building.

Usage of locally available materials for the road surfacing, road structure and drainage facilities, such as paving blocks, bituminous products, hardcore or gravel will be given due consideration in the design and the most feasible options recommended for the proposed development.

Suitable lining to the drainage system will be recommended to ensure effective channeling of the storm-water to the final point of disposal and to enhance general cleanliness of the compound. Access to various facilities in and around the development will be provided with culverts and crossings as necessary.

Water Supply & Reticulation

It will be necessary to address the total need for water, based on the expected usage at the proposed office building. This will involve establishment of the location and adequacy of the nearest water sources and in the process enable the sizing of the water supply and reticulation pipes to meet expected demand.

It is anticipated that many proposed buildings shall be located within an urban area having good water supply. Of course depending on the projects this may not always be the case, and rural projects require a different methodology. However, in order to supplement a water supply source that may not be reliable, it is wise to investigate the possibility of sinking boreholes on site. In addition, adequate underground and elevated water storage facilities may be provided as necessary to improve reliability and serve most of the building by gravity.

Further, usage of locally available pipes and other construction materials will be given preference as and where necessary. The choice between uPVC, PPR, HED and GI pipes will be made taking into consideration their availability, applicable water pressures and design standards.

Sewerage Disposal System

The civil engineer in consultant with the Kenyan architect shall require to carry out a study to establish the existing sewerage system in the area that is suitable for the proposed development. This will include investigating the possibility of sewerage connection to the nearest sewerage system.

Should this not be feasible, it will be necessary to look into the possible and most feasible alternative sewage disposal systems for the development, including the use of package sewage treatment plants or septic tank if the soil conditions allow.

Appropriate sizing of the disposal system facilities will be necessary using the applicable design standards. Usage of available local materials such as uPVC pipes or concrete pipes can be taken into consideration as necessary.


The partnership between the Kenyan Architect and the Civil Engineer is necessary.

It is vital for a client to appoint a wholesome project team when dealing with building projects that have a major civil engineering component when building in Kenya. Such projects may include large schemes such as residential estates, commercial complexes, large office developments and especially large campus like schemes. The civil engineer complements the work of the Kenyan architect to ensure the designed development is complete and worth while.