The Developer: Household Long Record in Designing

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

We introduce to you a new weekly column call The Developer. This is your weekly pillar that brings to you issues relating to news and developments from The Gambia’s construction sector. You may advertise with The Point Newspaper and your products and services can also be marketed up to a larger audiences and readership.

The maiden edition of The Developer Column this week will look at the developments in the building industry. Read on…

In the past, houses were built from mud, clay-red stones or bricks and branches of trees or of strong grasses with sticks that can make a fence with a cover on top of a roof like many houses were first made in the Senegambia region before the introduction of mud houses that have their bricks made out of sand or mud.

This is among the first layers of houses that are still in existence but one thing pivotal is that one cannot build a storey out of mud or other form of buildings as it is best if a simple building is made out of them with even rooms.

Before, grasses where placed on top of a building as cover with nylon spreadsheets placed underneath to prevent leakage. Such houses still exists in certain parts of the Senegambia region especially in villages but modernization has also introduced corrugated iron sheets that are being used to make roofs on top of cement and mud houses and those built out of clay or red bricks.

History has unveiled that human beings have also lived in caves and hill sides of mountains, which is the first level of storey building.

As high as mountains, its residents climb it, moving up and down for their daily activities thanks to YA ALLAH SUBBANAWATALA. The Stylish, this is how the designing of a storey building cropped up, until the latest technology, a school of taught has narrated.

There are many story buildings in the Arabia, Western countries and other parts of the world including Africa, in which Egypt, the first place where civilization started, got its own styled storey houses that are built in a unique fashion that symbolizes a typical Arabian origin. Mali, a close West African state to Arabia, to Maghreb countries has such house styles mostly in their villages built out of mud in an old fashion that still exists.

In The Gambia, then, among the first storeys owned by indigenous people of the area was made out of bricks, cement and designed with oyster shells, one Modou Jobarteh has said.

He said then, very few compounds got storey buildings and these where mainly built by the colonialist British using timber sticks as its floor with other plywood used as partition between the first and second floor. It is typically a British style of building and most government houses in Banjul built during colonial days inherited from the colonial masters, the English, got such designs. This design is seen even in England especially at Birmingham. Very few storey buildings existed in Banjul.

Abou, a contractor said another Design is the storey building built out of cement with stones instead of basalt stones made as its roof cover. “This form of building is shot-lived as it causes leakage on its roof,” he pointed out. He added that one built with basalt stones is the most modern and the best.

In the Kombo St. Mary’s Division or the Kanifing Municipality, only a handful of storeys existed in the early 90s. The Gambia was criticized for its lack of many storey buildings as compared to other countries. Years later, people started seeing them but more credit was given to the Serahules that at the time who got vested interest in building houses mainly for their residents and rental purposes. Coming down up till recent, Estate developers came up with TAF Construction, Mustapha Njie being the sole private provider of international standard. He is a local talent and studied at VCT in Banjul, a Technical oriented school that produces very outgoing technocrats in the country. Late musician Musa Ngum was said to be a qualified carpenter from this institution.

Two housing Estates Kanifing and Bakoteh existed earlier but these modern forms Yarambamba, Paradise, Brusubi as well as Sanimentareng or AU Villas or TAF Estates are of modern planning with good road conditions.  Now, so many storey buildings are seen around town but a friend tells me that The Gambia needs more of them in and around town.

The tiling of walls has now earned the most works as people have now taken this new form of designing walls to replace the long practice of painting with either plastic or oil paint or water including whitewash.

The wall tiles included kitchen, toilets, outside wall tiles as well as bed room wall tiles. It cost about D500.00 to buy a packet of tiles measured in square meters.

Broken tiles are also used to decorate surfaces on the ground or walls to replace painting.

Munduk are importers of tile from Asia.  Their tiles on sale ranged from wall tiles for exterior building decoration, kitchen tiles, and toilet tiles among others. They are specialists in ordering tiles for outside dressing or story building from ground to the highest floor, which is the newest form of designing.

They are located along the Kombo Sillah Drive which is at the Star FM Building which is part of the few storey buildings in The Gambia that have been constructed with lots of  Dalasis and in addition, it’s been given a perfect finish with  cream and red coloured tiles being placed at its exterior wall as its paint and finishing. When it rains, the walls looks as clean as ever before.

This reminds me of a Truth-seeker and an academic Bai Ali Njie who said that: “a time will come when walls will be dress in clothing like people.”

This is what is taking place now with a unique taste overtaking painting in most parts of the household and even the country.

The truth is a tile is smooth and easier to take care of.  It takes one the efforts to wash up the surfaces with detergents such as Omo with bleach at the toilets or wipe and clean those at the bedrooms to attain desired result a research has revealed. Although oil pain is sometimes wiped and wash or cleaned to leave the wall clean but it is not of any match with the tiles as an exterior decorator.

Baboucarr Cham, a tiler said, “It is an attractive profession. We get contracts every time.” He tiles kitchen wall of modern decoration. He said, it will take him two days to finish the tiling with two supporting workers. He goes home with as much as D500.00 for the day while his apprentices take D350 with the third going home with D200.00.

Cham’s next Job will be to tile a compound yard in broken tiles. Cham lives at Wellinkamba a place where so many houses are under construction
Author: Sainabou Ahmad Kujabi