Investigating the effect of cost of building on housing development in informal settlements.
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The main purpose of this study was to investigate the implications of the cost of building materials on housing development in informal settlements in Uganda. The objectives of the study were: To examine the effects of cement prices on housing development in informal settlements in the study area in Kampala, to examine the effects of prices of aggregates on housing development in informal settlements and to examine the effects of roofing material prices on housing development in informal settlements in the study area. Random stratified sampling was employed to obtain a reasonable sample size for administering questionnaires and interviews. The research opted to use a sample size of 92 due to financial and time constraints caused by the pandemic (corona virus). That is 83 Bwaise-II residents, 2 planners and 7 main building material distributors and sellers. A sample of each of the group was considered representative of the whole population. The tools that were used included notebooks, questionnaires, interviews, audio recorder and pens. The questionnaires were used to gather data directly from the slum residents. The questionnaires had both open-ended and closed ended questions. The interviews were used to gather information from both the planners and the building material sellers and distributors. The data collected from questionnaires, observations and interviews was presented in an organized format to allow for in depth analysis. The data was presented in form of explanatory texts, tables and pie charts. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive tools. The study findings indicated that majority of the slum residents strongly attributed the state of their current dwelling unit (low quality) to the price of building materials. As such, there is indeed a relationship between cement prices and housing development and the high cement prices lead to construction of houses with un-plastered walls and floors made of mud and thus low quality housing. Furthermore, the research findings show that cement is the most common wall and floor material used in construction. The low income earners buy both the weighed cement and bag cement. However, the research findings show that for every bag of cement,6 wheel barrows of sand (1:6) are used instead of a 1: 5 mixture ratio and therefore end up constructing weak structures that crack and become slant with time. Others because of the low income earned can’t afford . cement and end up having mud and timber layered houses. The study findings further show that the most common aggregates used by low income earners is sand more specifically plaster sand. However, some interviewees said that most low income earners use some kind of sand that is not up to standard recognized as duplicate sand. The study findings further indicate that the most common roofing materials bought by low income earners as suggested by the different building materials sellers and distributors include Gauge 30 and Gauge 32 iron sheets. Gauge 32 is the most common form of iron sheets bought by low income earners. However, these form of iron sheets only last between 2-4 years beyond which the aluminum coating gets off and the roofs start to rust, leak and fade. Other challenges to housing development in informal settlements as indicated by the respondents include levels of income and cost of workmanship. The suggested causes of increase in price of building materials include: taxes, transport and importation costs, inflation, exchange rate, shortage of raw materials and increased demand with a reduced supply.