A house is a basic need along with food, clothing and security.

Reasons for housing the family/individual

  • for protection from rain, wind, sun, snow etc,
  • for security from criminals/wild animals
  • to give a sense of belonging, a sense of well being and emotional and social development,
  • for privacy,
  • for aesthetic value/static in society.

Factors to consider when proving family shelter:-

  • money available (family income),
  • size of family,
  • family composition (gender and age),
  • family interests (hobbies , entertainment),
  • social amenities, e.g schools, hospitals etc, –
  • neighbourhood security.

Methods of providing family shelter

(a) building a house: factors to consider

  1. money available it determines type of house, size and materials to be used. Cost of house includes expenses like planning, legal fees etc.
  2. the size of house
  • should be near amenities e.g hospitals, schools, shopping centres etc, services e.g electricity, telephone, water etc.
  • well drained soil,
  • space enough for expansion,
  • safe environment – safe from e.g natural calamities like landslides etc
  • direction and growth of town it is in town.
  1. Neighbourhood
  2.  safe from – criminals
  3. noise from airports, bus-stops, markets etc,
  4. clean environment – industrial waster, pollution, garbage dumping absent
  5.   Morally reputable neighbourhood.
  6. Plans and orientation
  • consider requirement of family e.g size and composition, age of family, activities of members, hobbies etc.
  • money available – plan should be in relation to this.
  • design – elaborate as is affordable
  • type of building materials can increase final cost / reduce it.
  • choose building materials basing on weather, availability of materials, transport etc.
  • position of the room, should be in relation to direction of sun, wind, natural view

e.g mountains, behind valleys


Advantages of building a house;-

  • house is built according to ones taste and specification to suit his needs.
  • if built well it can last long and attract buyers if put up for sale,
  • owner develops a feeling of permanence and suitability
  • ownership of the house is a way of added security, independence and stability, (v) alterations and renovation can be done at ones will.


  • cost sometimes ends up going beyond estimates because of inflation, bad weather changes in labour costs etc.,
  • lack of building materials may delay construction and increase final cost, (iii) one is forced to live where the house is.

(b) Buying a house

Reasons for buying a house;-

  • provides stability and security to the family – no worry of being evicted,
  • gives social and emotional stability – no worry of where children will live if anything happens.
  • It is a means of saving e.g it can be sold when somebody has financial problems it can be sold,
  • It can become a source of income if rented out,
  • It can be used for security in case one wants to pick a loan,

Advantages of buying a house;

  • the house is available immediately. No delay as in constructing one,
  • it can be paid for by instalments and it becomes the owners after completion of payment,
  • the price can be less than cost of construction of a new house,
  • it can be redesigned and remodeled if the owner is creative


  • it may not be able to meet requirements of the buyer,
  • it may need renovations and repairs in future,
  • the house doesn’t belong to the buyer if payment is in instalments until one competes paying for it.


Renting a house;

Points to consider before renting a house:

  • length of tenancy,
  • should be a contract between tenant and owner for safety measure, – amount to be paid and to whom,
  • who will be responsible for maintenance (tenant/landlord)
  • security,
  • size of the house – depends on size of family and composition of members. – public amenities (should be near).

Advantages of renting a house:

  • one can be able to rent a house that suits her/his income,
  • it is realistic if income is not…
  • one is free from paying insurance premiums on the house,
  • one isn’t involved in keeping the house in good state and repair instead it is the owner who does that.
  • one can leave the house on giving the required notice.


  • one has no security of ownership,
  • the house may not be repaired on time and if done so may not be to ones taste,
  • rent may be increased and may be more than what one can afford,
  • if landlord is not satisfied with one he/she may remove her from the house,
  • personal items/possessions may be damaged in case of moving to another house,  ones children / animals may not be allowed to move to the other tenant place

Living in an employer’s house:


  • convenient because in most cases it is normally near place of work,
  • rate of expenditure reduced/cut,
  • most are well maintained as a way of motivation,
  • it creates a feeling of togetherness when one stays near the workmates.


  • it may not be to ones expectations,
  • conflicts may arise because of close interaction with workmates, – one may have no notice to look for another house if sacked abruptly.


Types of houses:

A house is a shelter that provides:

  • physical protection,
  • psychological protection,
  • emotional protection

NB:- A good house should be able to cater for all the family needs.


  • Traditional houses.
  • Modern houses

The two differ in material used and designs:

NB:- Design and type of house depends on: (i) Building materials available, (ii) Money available.

(i) Traditional houses

Are in different shapes depending on the community, though most are circular e.g (a) Kikuyu huts,

  • Maasai huts,
  • Makuti house,

Advantages of a traditional house:-

  • building materials can be found locally are cheap and some are free. E,g mud, wood, cowdung, grass etc.
  • are easy to build,
  • extra houses can easily be provided,


  • not durable – affected by weather changes and wear out easily,
  • they occupy a large area of land,
  • don’t provide enough privacy, space and security, – materials for construction are cow becoming scarce.

Improved designs of a traditional house:

  • most of them have improved shapes e.g rectangular, square / L-shape,
  • they are improved to give more room and privacy,
  • traditional materials may be used partly/entirely, but design is changed and improved.

(ii) Modern houses:-

  • are an improvement of traditional houses,
  • one building is normally divided into different rooms for different purposes,
  • materials used include wood, tiles, marble, cement, glass, stones, building limestone, bricks etc.


Types of modern houses:

(a) Bungalow

A house with all rooms on the ground level, suitable for families with young children and elderly because it is less dangerous.  If on slopping grounds, rooms can be on a split level.


  • saves money because it can be extended,
  • saves labour,
  • easier to extend, – more private.


  • occupies a lot of space,
  • not safe if in a lonely place.

(b) Flats/Apartments

  • A house with all facilities provided on one floor and may have one more or more blocks above or below it.
  • Common in towns because of limited space.

Advantages of a flat/apartment:

  • gives sense of community living,
  • safe from break-ins.


  • fire and pests can easily spread from one house to another,
  • has not privacy,
  • neighbours could be noisy,
  • staircase not safe for children and aged,
  • not easy to keep compound neat because it is shared.

(d) Storeyed house/maisonette/town house

  • A house with some rooms on the ground floor, others upstairs. E.g sitting room, kitchen, toilet on ground floor, bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs.
  • Are attached to other houses in rows of several houses.


  • save land space,
  • safe from break-ins because many houses are together,
  • save building materials because they share a common wall
  •  provides privacy because each unit may have its own garden.


  • sometimes are too close so no privacy,
  • pests and fire can spread from one to another,
  • not easy to extend,
  • expensive because strong building materials are needed for supporting upper room,
  • staircase is dangerous in children, sick and elderly,


Different rooms and their functions:- 

Living (sitting) room,

  • it’s a meeting place for family members and largest in the house,
  • for relaxation and for social activities like entertaining, listening to music, games and eating,
  • furniture and furnishing should provide maximum comfort and atmosphere that gives complete relaxation.


  • it should be easily accessible from all rooms and
  • should have a back door if possible for privacy of other rooms,
  • if possible let it have activity areas where different activities can be done without interference.

The dinning room:-

it is for eating,

  • smaller than sitting room,
  • have furniture and chairs for family members,
  • may have a cupboard/sideboard,
  • some times in absence of a dinning hall one end of a living room/area of kitchen is used,


  • should be next to kitchen/directly joined to the kitchen,
  • should have a window/hatch to allow easy serving of meals. 


–           for sleeping/resting,


  • should be located in a way which offers comfort and relaxation,
  • should be in a quiet part of house,
  • adequately furnished e.g should have a bed bedside table, dressing table and wardrobe.

The kitchen

  • for food preparation, preservation, cooking and storage,
  • acts as a serving area,
  • serves as a dinning room and can be for laundry.


Should be located in a place naturally and artificially lit.

Should be near the dinning room and living rooms, near food store and back door.


Kitchen plan

The food store:

  • for storage of non-perishable food though a house may have a fridge/cupboard for this.

NB: should be near kitchen


Has a bathroom and toilet, could be in one room/separate.


  • should be where there is water supply, – should be near the bedroom for privacy.

Bath shelters and latrines:

  • common in rural areas,
  • outside the house to keep away flies.

NB: –

  • should be kept clean,
  • should be away from the water source,

latrine pits should be covered



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