Mobile based application for sharing building and construction information: a case of Nairobi County
Njoroge, Laban Ndwaru
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Owning a dream home is one of the key achievements every person wishes to meet in their lifetime. However, this desire faces a lot of challenges as the house prices rise steeply locking out the middle income earners in the country. This results in many people preferring to build their own houses at their own pace due to budget constraints rather than buying a complete built house. Generally, there is a housing deficit in the urban areas due to the increase in the population and urbanization growth rates. Due to the housing deficit, a lot of house contractors have emerged and some unprofessional contractors are exploiting the prospective house owners by offering poor services at high prices. There is lack of information on the available credible contractors who are near the location of the client thus unsuspecting clients engage some rogue and incompetent contractors who build substandard houses which leads to consequential failures such as collapse of the building, loss of resource and lives. This study aimed at creating a mobile application which offers location aware services by displaying a pool of experienced and genuine contractors and informal builders on a Google map. The clients are able to locate these service providers closer to their location and the application facilitates the interaction. The application also provides information on the various approved Appropriate Building Materials and Technologies (ABMT) which help the client to make an informed choice during a house construction. The study adopted the evolutionary prototyping methodology to create the mobile application. This allowed the system to be developed in increments that were readily modifiable according to the user feedback. Later, the study engaged in system testing and validation to ensure the application was working according to the set requirements. Among the tests carried out were: Acceptance, Usability, Speed tests, Functional, Load and Integration tests.