Francis Tonui like anybody aspiring of a good life had a dream of owning a palatial home but when he approached a contractor in 2014, he got the shock of his life when the bill of quantities came to Ksh.16 million. For a moment, his dream of owning a bungalow looked shattered and remained only a dream. A dejected Tonui -a teacher at Maso secondary school was slowly losing hope when he came across a construction site using interlocking blocks.
A jovial Tonui says upon inquiring about this interlocking block technology, he was quick to learn that apart from cement, the other materials needed were readily available in his farm. Tonui says the faded dream suddenly came back to life. Armed with the idea, Francis Tonui set to building his house which eventually cost him Sh. 10 million, saving him a whooping Sh 6 million. According to him, interlocking blocks is the best technology capable of saving up to 15 per cent of the construction cost since less cement is used.
It’s after he completed his house that he decided to venture into interlocking blocks business to supplement his income. Tonui who had a vast land of raw materials he used to sell to road construction company that was constructing Brooke-Ainamoi-Thessalia road started the the interlocking bricks venture in earnest. With little expertise in interlocking brick making, he imported an Hydraform machine from South Africa for Ksh. 4 million and employed 2 experts.
The venture would grow quickly and as the former teacher says, he produces an average of 1,000 to 1,200 blocks a day. “I have employed 10 people -one operates the hydraform machine while the rest mix raw materials and carry blocks to curing shade”, says Tonui. The curing process takes 21 days after which the blocks are ready for sale.
One interlocking block sells for Ksh. 30 bob and the businessman says he can sell around 10,000 blocks in a month. This earns him about Ksh. 300,000 in sales which comes to about Ksh. 100,000 in profit. Looking back 6 years later, the former teacher says has no regrets he quit teaching to start interlocking bricks venture saying interlocking blocks have a lifespan of more than 100 years.