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Britam Tower – the Skyscraper Center in Nairobi, Kenya


Architects and engineers across the globe strive to deliver projects that are sustainable, cheaper, and capable of meeting the demands of the clients. The professionals involved throughout the process should make timely decisions, engage all key partners, and use locally available materials. Every finished building or infrastructure offer powerful lessons that analysts, environmentalists, and economists can learn from. This assignment gives a detailed examination of the Britam Tower, one of the latest skyscrapers in Nairobi, Kenya.

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Means and Methods

The successful completion of the Britam Tower in 2017 is a clear indication that different professionals and contractors played their roles efficiently. The process required a wide range of materials, tools, construction equipment, labor, and time. The main contractor for this project was Laxmanbhai Construction while the architect was Howard Humphreys (East Africa) Limited (“The Making of Skyscrapers”). The owner is the British American Insurance Company Limited. The designers and engineers used reinforced concrete made from a mixture of sand and ballast. Such materials were sourced locally (“Green Buildings Sprouting Up in Nairobi, Kenya”). The contractor purchased quality metal bars from local manufacturers.

The professionals relied on the use of mechanized equipment to make the construction process successful, including excavators, bulldozers, loaders, and trenchers. Competent operators were recruited throughout the project period (Dosumu and Aigbavboa 91). The primary project manager, Britam Properties Limited, monitored all activities and operations to ensure that the building was delivered within the stipulated period (“The Making of Skyscrapers”). The contractor relied on affordable labor from local residents. Additional training opportunities were essential to ensure that the construction process was seamless and capable of delivering timely results.

The designers applied the structural expressionism style to make this building outstanding. Today, it stands along Nairobi’s Hospital Road in Upper Hill. It has a height of 656 feet and a floor area of around 31.5 square meters (Kagai). The consideration of local factors, environmental concerns, and expectations of different stakeholders led to the successful completion of this magnificent structure. The current design of this building is attributable to Architects and Urban Designers and Chris Kroese of GAAP.


The contractors behind this building managed to complete it within a period of 4 years. In terms of cost, the developer indicated that the project was worth around 70 million US dollars (“Britam Tower”). This is an equivalent of 7 billion Kenyan shillings (“The Making of Skyscrapers”). This cost was as a result of the saving measures and considerations put in place throughout the project period.


As described above, Britam Tower is located in Upper Hill, Nairobi. This is the capital city of Kenya as well as the largest (Chege). The structures coordinates are 01o1800”S, 36o48’47.0”E (“Tallest Buildings in Kenya”). People who want to locate it physically would find it along Hospital Road.


The designers, engineers, and contractors took the issue of safety seriously throughout the construction period. The building delivers high-specification and coordinated features that maximize the safety of all visitors, users, and clients. First, the tower has a surveillance system characterized by live recording technologies. Such a feature is capable of providing security 24/7 (Chege). Individuals will find it easier to locate the available passageways that are safe and capable of improving the level of efficiency (“Tallest Buildings in Kenya”). The installed fire fighting equipment, technologies, and systems are easy to use. Occupants and clients will find it easier to engage them whenever there is an emergency call or threat (“Kenya to Promote Construction of Green Buildings”). The developers and stakeholders have also been conducting drills and considering emerging issues to improve security.

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Britam Tower is a notable skyscraper that has transformed Nairobi’s skyline. However, its completion in 2017 was a clear indication that the playing field for some of the companies in the region’s insurance sector was no longer even. For instance, the developer was capable of dictating the nature of competition since it had diversified its business model (“Britam Tower Named as Having the Best Mechanical”). Additionally, the decision explained how it had become expensive to set up new buildings in Nairobi despite the fact that it was in a developing country. On top of these issues, some stakeholders were concerned because the construction process was characterized by delayed wages and unsafe working environments for most of the people (“Britam Tower”). These observations should become powerful lessons for most of the companies and investors planning to venture in the region’s real estate sector.


The developers and professionals involved in this project encountered various challenges that could become the best lessons for future investors. For instance, it was evident that the cost of land in this city was scary or unaffordable. This trend indicates that companies with the required financial muscle will be in a position to acquire appropriate location for investing (Dovjak and Kukec 44). The increasing number of road users in the city made the construction process more hectic or unattainable within the stipulated time. To overcome such a problem, most of the materials had to be acquired during the night what traffic was quite low (Kabre 63). Future investors should be aware of this critical issue if they are to achieve their aims within the formulated timelines.

Following the successful completion of this building in 2017, the rate of occupancy still remains with some of the offices and spaces being vacant. The leading forces behind such a reality include the level of competition and the location of the building. Additionally, the structure has compelled other companies in various sectors to engage in similar projects as a way of diversifying their businesses (Schroeder 39). Such a trend might be counterproductive in the long run and make it impossible for the organizations to meet the demands of their respective clients (Kibert 17). This challenge will affect most of the customers in Kenya and the wider east African region.

Environmental Considerations

During the construction period, the involved parties took the issue of green architecture seriously. For instance, the building is properly designed to maximize the availability of natural light (Obe et al. 76). Cross ventilation is also integrated to reduce the demand for air-conditioning (“Britam Tower Named as Having the Best Mechanical”). The building has a coordinated system intended for harvesting rain water. The developer provides additional ideas and guidelines that encourage the use of sustainable methods, including saving energy (Lerum 29). The installed lighting system is of the latest technology, thereby maximizing the level of efficiency (“Construction Works on Tallest Building in Kenya on Track”). Additionally, the developer takes the concept of sustainability seriously since an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was completed (Trusson 22). Such measures led to the successful completion and delivery of building that promotes the concept of environmental conservation.

Fun Fact

While this tower remains an iconic feature of Nairobi, it delivers unique attributes that make it admirable and outstanding in Africa. First, it became the tallest structure in Kenya upon its completion at around 200 meters (“2017: Skyscraper History’s Tallest”). Second, it stands today as the fourth largest building in the African continent (Al-Kodmany 179). Third, the tower has a parking silo that is capable of accommodating over 1,000 vehicles. Fourth, the work encompasses a unique style characterized by 3-dimesnional design and strength.

Fifth, Britam Tower has won some awards because of the features and attributes it presents to the user. For example, it got the Emporis Skyscraper Award in 2019, making it the only African building to get such recognition (Mwongela). Sixth, the structure relies on grey-water-recycling technology to maximize efficiency and meet the demands of all key stakeholders (Tam and Le 62). Seventh, visitors of this building can see Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Kenya while standing at the top (“Britam Tower”). Finally, some experts believe that it remains inspirational, delivers the unique attributes of an environmental structure, and fulfils the unique demands of different tenants.


From the above discussion, it is agreeable that Britam Tower is an outstanding building that presents competitive features to both the developer and the occupants. Being the tallest structure in Nairobi, this project had proved that human beings can rely on local materials and processes to deliver sustainable solutions to the environment. The engineers and designers took their time to integrate the unique expectations of different stakeholders, thereby making the building magnificent, outstanding, and capable of inspiring future architects.

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Works Cited

“2017: Skyscraper History’s Tallest, Highest-Volume, and Most Geographically Diverse Year.” CTBUH Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, 2018, pp. 44-51.

Al-Kodmany, Kheir. “Skyscrapers in the Twenty-First Century City: A Global Snapshot.” Buildings, vol. 8, no. 12, 2018, pp. 175-229.

“Britam Tower.” Britam.

“Britam Tower Named as Having the Best Mechanical, Electrical Engineering.” The Star, 2019.

Chege, Kimani. “Kenya Tallest Skyscraper Britam Towers Now Accepting Tenants.” The Exchange, 2018.

“Construction Works on Tallest Building in Kenya on Track.” Construction Review Online, 2019.

Dosumu, Oluwaseun, and Clinton Aigbavboa. Sustainable Design and Construction in Africa: A System Dynamics Approach. CRC Press, 2018.

Dovjak, Mateja, and Andreja Kukec. Creating Health and Sustainable Buildings: An Assessment of Health Risk Factors. Springer Shop, 2019.

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“Green Buildings Sprouting Up in Nairobi, Kenya.” Smart Cities Dive.

Kabre, Chitrarekha. Sustainable Building Design: Applications Using Climatic Data in India. Springer Shop, 2018.

Kagai, Danson. “Britam Tower, Kenya’s Tallest Building, is Ready for Occupancy.” Construction Kenya, 2018.

“Kenya to Promote Construction of Green Buildings.” Xinhuanet, 2018.

Kibert, Charles J. Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery. 4th ed., Wiley, 2016.

Lerum, Vidar. Sustainable Building Design: Learning from Nineteenth Century Innovations. Routledge, 2016.

Mwongela, Ferdinand. “Africa in Global Architecture Awards.” The Standard, 2019.

Obe, Ravindra K., et al. Sustainable Construction Materials: Recycled Aggregates. Elsevier Science, 2019.

Schroeder, Horst. Sustainable Building with Earth. Springer Shop, 2016.

“Tallest Buildings in Kenya.” Constriction Review Online, 2020. Web.

Tam, Vivian Y., and Khoa N. Le. Sustainable Construction Technologies: Life-Cycle Assessment. Elsevier Science, 2019.

“The Making of Skyscrapers.” Triad Architects, 2019.

Trusson, Mariana. Whole Life Costing for Sustainable Building. Routledge, 2019.

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