[quote_box_center]Founded only five years ago, Ark Construction Limited, a Kenyan contractor, has moved fast to earn its place in the highly competitive construction industry in the country.[/quote_box_center]
Ark Construction Limited was founded in 2009 by Mr Kurji Kalyan Kerai and Mr Narendrabhai B. Patel. The two possessed vast technical and managerial experience in the construction industry, a factor that could be attributed to the fast pace at which the young company has grown in that short period.
Currently Mr Kurji Kalyan Kerai serves as Managing Director and oversees the day to day operation of the company while Mr Bharat Kerai serves as a Senior Projects Manager, a role that puts him in charge of most of the company’s interior fit-out projects.
The company’s other human resources include 5 Project Managers, 11 supervisors, 3 Quantity Surveyors, 10 Site Agents/Foremen, 20 Administration staff and between 150-400 workers who are hired on a regular basis depending on the volume of work currently being handled. The team works seamlessly to ensure smooth operations.
Registered with the National Construction Authority, Ark Construction Limited has embarked on an apparently well defined path to growth with a clear vision and objectives. “We will strive to attain a leadership position in the market”, says the management. “We choose to serve by creating innovative and value added solutions to all construction related problems so that we deliver impeccable quality works”.
To underline its commitment to provide quality services with efficiency, Ark Construction Limited has already applied to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) for the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System (QMS) certification. It believes that this certification will reaffirm its determination to deliver high quality projects. In addition, the company has also applied for the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) to show its commitment to a greener Kenya.
Areas of Specialization
Ark Construction Limited undertakes the following broad categories of works:
• Building construction and associated civil works
• Office and shop fit-out
• Metal and timber fabrication
• General renovation works
Completed Projects and Challenges Faced
This was a project at Rongai shopping centre on the outskirts of Nairobi. Unlike a project on a virgin site, the land had been previously developed with a mall and acres of old parking and substantial infrastructure were in place. Many of the water, sewer and power lines were not well documented and Ark Construction had to use great caution when working at the site. This particular project was also a potential safety hazard for the company’s workers. In addition, several businesses were still using the old infrastructure and any interruptions to services would have shut them down. Ark Construction therefore worked to ensure minimal interruption.
New commercial building for All Parts Holdings Ltd on Tom Mboya Street, Nairobi
This involved demolition of an existing building. The biggest challenge faced during this project was the fact that Ark Construction had to pull down an existing building consisting of a multi-storied shopping mall. It involved working in enclosed spaces as the site was surrounded by other buildings. Being in the Central Business District, traffic was a major problem and delivery of materials was challenged by both human and vehicular traffic congestion. Ark Construction also had to ensure that surrounding businesses experienced no disruption to their activities as the work went on.
Residential house, Lakeview, General Mathenge, Gigiri
In this project, Ark Construction was tasked with taking down old buildings in order to replace them with new and improved ones. Notable challenges in this project were unfavourable weather (which caused significant project delays and negatively impacted cashflows) and unstable prices of key materials such as steel and concrete.
Among other projects that Ark Construction has undertaken are:
– Proposed residential house in Lakeview – Nakuru Street, Nairobi
– Proposed townhouses along General Mathenge Drive, Nairobi
– Residential house, Gigiri, Nairobi
– Erection to completion of residential house, complete with external works and services installation, Kigwa Ridge
– Treetop Lodge refurbishment at Nyeri
Others are as follows:
– PricewaterHouse Coppers (PWC) at Delta tower, Westlands Nairobi (Executive wing, 16th Floor – 17th floor)
– PriceWaterHouse Coppers (PWC) at Delta tower, Westlands Nairobi , 9th Floor – 15th Floor
– UNHCR – Regional Support Hub Office fit-out,at APHRC Campus Kitisuru, Nairobi
– Trans Business Machine Ltd, Upperhill
– Office interior fit-out for Scangroup – The Chancery
– Aga Khan University, New Leadership Suite, Pak Place, Nairobi
– New Dental Clinc for Aga Khan University,
– Office fit-out for Nairobi Java House at ABC Place, Westlands
– CBA Office fit-out at Westlands, Nairobi
– Visa Cemea Holdings – Office interior Fit-out Westlands, 14 Riverside Drive
– New office fit-out for Kenya Data Networks at Sameer Business Park, Mombasa Road ,
– Trade Mark (EA) Ltd – Office fit-out on 2nd floor Southern Shield Building, off Waiyaki Way
– Interior fit-out for Flamingo Casino at Fortis Tower, Westlands, Nairobi
– Standard Chartered Bank – Refurbishments to existing Branch at Kenyatta Avenue Nairobi, Harambee Avenue Nairobi, Muthaiga Branch, Kitengela Branch, Executive Wing Chiromo Road, Mass Banking & Priority Branch Chiromo, Koinage Branch, Branch Fit-out at Treasury Square Mombasa
– Bank of Africa Branch Banking Facility at Freed Building on Moi Avenue, Mombasa
– Chase Bank: Office fit-out at Delta Tower in Westlands and Machakos Branch
– I&M Bank Ltd – Branch Refurbishment at Ngong Road, Office Reorganization and fit-out at I&M Tower Kenyatta Avenue, Riverside 14, Branch fit-out at I&M Select, new branch fit-out at Nakuru, new branch fit-out – Nyali Cineplex Mombasa, new branch fit-out at Eldoret
– Commercial Bank Africa – New branded branch at Nakumatt Juction
– NIC Bank – Meru Branch Interior fit-out complete with Sales office
Coffee shops and retail shops
• Nairobi Java House: shop fit-out at JKIA and South C, Pizza 360 at ABC Place, Shop Fit-out works at Nyali, Mombasa, Planet Yogurt Outlet at Galleria Mall Karen
• Safaricom Ltd: Roll out shop at Sarit Centre Nairobi, Nakumatt Mega II Nairobi , Narok , Kisumu Jubilee House, Eastleigh Nairobi, Retail shop at Malindi, Retail shop at Kakamega
• Innscor Kenya Ltd: fit-out to Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn and Galitos Outlet at Union Tower, at Greenspan Mall, at City Mall Mombasa
– Proposed Extensions and Alterations to Existing Factory at East African Cables
– Proposed office fit-out for Genghis Capital, Westlands at Delta Tower 3rd Floor
– Proposed Office fit-out for Genghis Capital ltd, Westlands at Delta Tower 4th Floor
– Proposed Chase Bank office fit-out , Westlands at Delta Tower 2nd Floor
– Proposed Residential House on Plot. L.R. No.209/7462 Kanjat Rd, Westlands
– Renovation and Extension to Metropolitan Hospital, Buru Buru Nairobi
– Additional Apartments for MS. Bid Apartment, Westlands
– Proposed Renovations at City Bank Upperhill Branch Nairobi
Ark Construction’s Perspectives on the Industry in Kenya
According to the company’s Senior Project Manager Mr Bharat Kerai, the construction sector in the last seven years has been booming. As a result, there has been an influx of international companies especially from China, hence driving up competition and bringing down prices. However, although at the moment the impact is not being felt significantly owing to the huge market, Mr Kerai predicts that the situation may not remain the same. “I feel that in the long run this might hurt the budding entrepreneur who will not be able to compete with cut throat prices unless he has the financial muscle and goodwill in the market”, he says.
Availability of credit
As far as Ark Construction is concerned, availability of credit is not as issue for the company. “We have a very good reputation with all our suppliers and sub-contractors. Our payments are made on time and this garnered us a very good reputation with potential suppliers. Most of the materials we buy are on credit from our supplier unless we need something urgently from a supplier we have not done business with, and then we obviously need to pay in cash or cheque”.
Quality of training
Mr Kerai sees a clear lack of quality training in the construction industry in general. “The quality of projects and finishing we see in general is not up to international standards and health and safety regulations are not as strictly adhered to”, he observes. He adds that although the government is trying its best to bring in measures to make sure there is maximum compliance, it may take a couple of years before change can be seen.
So where is Ark Construction headed? “We are quietly optimistic in our ambitions for this company”, says Mr Kerai. “I believe that with our unique selling point of providing high quality services to our clients and meeting tight deadlines has helped us maintain good rapport with will all the consultants we have worked with. We are regarded as one of the best in terms of delivery and quality by most high profile consultants and this has enabled us to be a leading contractor for several banks and multinational companies as mentioned in the projects above.”
Mr Kerai says although Ark Construction’s core business at the moment is interior fit-out, the company has recently undertaken several civil and general construction projects and is expecting to undertake more civil and construction projects. It hopes to become the market leader in both interior fit-out and general construction.
Emily Mngani Kwanya, the Office Administrator at Ark Construction Limited, also contributed to this article