Meet fundi giving construction lessons on TikTok
Kevin Kamau Muchai aka ‘Mavove’ is a building and construction technologist and the CEO of East Woods Build Group. He has taken to TikTok and Instagram to give users tips on matters erecting structures
Briefly share your journey into the construction industry
I did my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2010, went home and realised that I had to hustle to help feed my family.
So I went in search of a job and I was hired as a casual labourer in a construction site.
During this period, I noticed that most of the fundis that I was working with had not undergone any form of training in construction.
So I decided to fill this gap. After two years of working, I applied for a building and construction course at The Technical University of Kenya and was enrolled.
I graduated in 2015 and started working professionally in a construction company in Nairobi in 2016.
During my first year of employment I had another great idea about starting a construction company that combined architects, structural engineers and a construction technologist, so that we could able to offer design and build services all under one roof and that’s how we came together with my friends and started Eastwoods.
The idea was also inspired by my father, who was a mason. I would say the journey has been tough, but I that God that people have started accepting our ideas and we have two on-going projects at the moment.
How lucrative is your profession and is it crowded?
I would say that the field is crowded at the moment, but all you have to do is become unique in your own way for example, if it’s tiling, painting, masonry, walling or plastering, do it to the highest quality and standard that you can.
We face diverse challanges, such as difficulty getting clients to trust that we are not out to steal from them.
There are also untrustworthy clients. You can build a home for a client and they end up not paying you or pays at a later time than agreed.
There is also a shortage of skilled labourers, and last but not least is its tough finding quality materials for building.
How do you gain the trust of your clients?
We take clients to our on-going and completed projects and give them time to talk to our clients.
We also have a company profile and portfolio whereby we share our work for them to see what we can do.
We ensure that a client has what we call a Bill of Quantities (BQ), a booklet, which shows the total cost of their project. It also helps the clients pay actual amounts of work done at different stages.
What inspired you to start sharing construction tips on your social media pages?
The high rate of collapsing buildings around Nairobi. I thought it would save people by educating them on proper building ethics, as well as show them the importance of avoiding shortcuts when building.
I started sharing construction tips on site in 2017 when I realised that most of the fundis I was working with were not well equipped with knowledge on construction.
How has the response been so far?
I’ve received positive feedback from my followers, who are becoming enlightened on construction matters, they really love my content and they are always waiting for the next lesson.
I’ve also received a few negative feedback, but I choose to ignore and focus on the positive vibes.
It was also hard starting out since nobody knew me and I didn’t have a quality camera.
There are times I would get 30 views a day on Tik Tok. But nowadays it can go upto 150,000 views and have 90 per cent positive feedback.
What in your opinion is the power of technology in reshaping or modernising the construction industry?
The use of technologies, such as BIMx, a set of desktop and mobile software tools to interactively present the 3D model and 2D documentation of Building Information Models, has come a long way in helping consultants work together.
For instance, if an architect has changed anything in the drawings, it reflects on all the other consultants platforms, such as structural engineers mechanical and electrical engineers and it helps all of them do necessary changes.
Talk of technology, a Chinese company recently erected a 10-storey building in 28 hours and 40 minutes.
What are your future plans with the social media pages?
I’m planning to create a website, and create a platform where I will be showcasing what contractors are doing, and teaching students about construction.