Roofs in the Warm Humid Lake Region of Kenya A case of Kisumu Town

ABSTRACT

Roofs to any structure play a very vital role. They have the primary function of providing protection from weather which includes rainfall, wind, solar radiation and snow where present. The roofs in warm humid climates, have a larger part to play especially in these conditions of high solar insolation and rainfall. The study therefore sought to investigate the appropriateness of the roofs in an area that experiences this climate, Kisumu, in terms of form, structure, materiality and thermal performance so as to come up with the best recommendations. There have been several studies on roof design in warm humid climates in other areas of the world. This includes work by R. Sperling in 1975 titled roofs in the warm tropics. Several observations, conclusions and recommendations were drawn by these authors to help in the roof design highlighting the materiality, structure (shape, slope, and support), building technology and thermal appropriateness of the roofs. This thesis investigates the kind of roofs that exist in Kisumu area, the structure, building technology, materiality as well as the thermal performance and appropriateness. Kisumu was chosen because of its climatic relation and its seeming lack of standard roofing style therefore making it necessary to investigate this area. Four cases with different roof types were selected for study. Both qualitative and quantitative data was collected using interviews, questionnaires, and observation including use of data loggers to record climatic information. This data was then analysed using both qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods. The study brought to light the inappropriateness of most of the roofs used in this region especially considering the climate. The roofs were lacking in materiality since most were hipped or gable roofs of corrugated iron sheets also known as ‘mabati’ in Swahili. The study therefore recommends the best roof design practice for Kisumu would include use of the right slope which would range from 15 to 45 degrees, appropriate materials that are light and with good thermal properties such as thatch, shingle and bamboo and implementation of a ceiling to help control internal temperatures as well as acoustics.

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