In 1993 the unit was upgraded to the institute status and renamed the Housing and Building Research Institute (HABRI), following its success in cutting edge research in the field of the built environment. The effect of upgrading to institute status was the change in status from being a unit in a department to being the equivalent of a faculty in the university’s institutional ranking. The aim of upgrading the organization into the institute status was to enhance its role in assisting both public and private institutions by conducting research and disseminating information on a wide range of issues related to housing and building technologies. HABRI’s programme of activities thereafter entailed conducting multi-disciplinary research with the aim of improving housing conditions and community services in both urban and rural areas.

Based at the University of Nairobi and having links with both national and international stakeholders HABRI became a strong  institution for training in and research into the housing and building technologies (especially the appropriate building technology—ABT) that played the key role in providing core information and skills on which the nation’s housing policy and practical needs could be met.