Foundation Builders International was requested by Chip and Chari Kingsbury from Nairobi, Kenya to construct a community center. The Center located in a suburb named Lukenya Hills near Athi River, Chip has worked as a faculty professor teaching other professors instructional training methods. His wife, Chari, is a psychologist and works as a marriage counselor. Foundation Builders has directed three engineering and four construction trips traveling to Nairobi to help the Kingsbury’s complete their construction project-a humanitarian community outreach center named “Ukarimu House”
We received an initial call from the Kingsbury's that their construction project in Lukenya Hills was in jeopardy. Upon an interview with the Kingsbury's, they revealed a severe concern about their community center project. After breaking ground nine years ago, the local neighborhood was complaining it was taking too long, and at the same time, the area contractors were taking advantage of them with high prices and shoddy workmanship.
Adhering to our “exploratory trip” policy, I traveled with another Foundation Builders technical adviser to Nairobi, Kenya to view the project. There we met with the Kingsbury's and saw first-hand the dilemma they were facing. A seven hundred and fifty thousand dollar facility designed to house and train up young adults allowing them close relationships with house parents to develop life skills and enter into society as self-sustaining and productive citizens was now in jeopardy.
Once there, we observed a standing two-story masonry building 6000 square feet with a foundation, stone walls, including a rough concrete floor at both levels. On the interior, we observed a weak attempt at electrical rough-in and the indication of wastewater pipes buried under the slab without any design. For all the potential that this project held it was now floundering in pour construction practices and cost overruns. After the field inspection, the Foundation Builders team decide this was a project that we could complete.
My technician and I and stayed there four days considering a potential construction schedule, a reasonable budget, and our potential time frame for construction and a completion date. We informed the Kingsbury's that we would inform him of our findings and our decision.
After returning home, further discussion brought a favorable decision, and we started to complete the construction schedule and recruit skilled workers. We confirmed our plan with the Kingsbury's and set a course of a series of construction trips. Approval was obtained from the Kingsbury's.
Our investment would consist of a complex series of steps separating our organization from any other.
First, was securing the funding needed so we could invest our time to travel abroad.
Second, Foundation Builders re-engineered the project to make corrections bringing the project back on track to a professional standard and schedule:
A) Redesign the roof trusses,
B) Build a construction schedule and recruit workers matching them the work to be accomplished.
1) Set a construction trip date
2) Develop a 14-page trip pamphlet describing the trip in every detail
3) Send out recruitment requests as well as phone calls
4) Schedule teams, develop team leaders, and designated trips based on the response.
5) Coordinate, materials, tools, plane fare, visas, accommodations, and ground transportation.
6) Return, evaluate, and start the next phase of construction, team recruiting, and trip planning.
1) Feedback from team leaders, the Kingsbury's response, and assessment.
2) One on one evaluation from each team member.
3) Analysis reports, including; Project Manager’s report, job cost analysis, and projected next trip with a completion target proposed.
4) Results of the performance of the facility one year after startup. Operation and maintenance concerns.
1) Recycling time frame since all workers are volunteers. Sometimes takes two years to return.
2) Ability to raise material money by the Kingsbury's
3) Maintaining accepted engineering standards in a third world setting
Chip and Chari Kingsbury, who Foundation Builders has been helping are now well on their way to completion. Three highly skilled teams have spent 100’s of hours over the last few years bringing the project “about” and set it on a course for completion.
One more trip of builders should finish the job. However, during the last job set up trips, ( there have been no less than four pre-job trips), we set into motion a local architect to oversee small local crews to keep the job going in our absence. We allowed the Kingsbury's to perform smaller preparation construction phases to maintain momentum. Our future planned crews can now ride in on the wake of added production and finish the project allowing the long-overdue opening of the facility.
Macro Social & Economic Impact
Positioned within walking distance of a large university where the Kingsbury's teach, the facility will house 24 senior and graduate students allowing them a convenient stepping stone from school to life providing life skills and confidence to enter a developing countries society where there is a thin line between success and desperate third world poverty. The in-house life coaching allows encouragement to “make the grade” and step into one of the most exciting and successful business environments in a country housed by a continent filled with turmoil. Living in Nairobi is exhilarating with business booming, construction on almost every corner, elevated railroads connecting to the coast, and the opportunity of success begging for young, educated citizens to engage in life. This facility once completed will provide the finishing touches on young lives ready to enter adulthood. The intern will have the same encouraging effect on everyone around them in their daily lives, inspiring an entire society, who incidentally has been chosen as UN headquarters for the whole of the continent.