Eco-house employing local
Sustainable Materials Research and Technology Centre (SMARTEC) is established as a multi-disciplinary centre of JKUAT. The vision of SMARTEC is to become one of the leading research, innovation and technology centres in appropriate and sustainable construction materials and technologies relating to civil engineering, building technology and eco-technology, leading to wealth creation, community empowerment and preservation/enhancement of the social, cultural and ecological environment or stratum. The center is managed by the director.


  • To conduct research, create innovations, disseminate research findings/innovations through training/extension/consultancy activities, and produce/market appropriate construction materials/technologies.
  • To provide adequate, affordable, sustainable housing, and roads infrastructure

The mission of SMARTEC is to conduct research, create innovations, and train next generation researchers and scholars in the area of sustainable construction and settlement.

The vision of SMARTEC is to become one of the leading research, innovation and technology centres in sustainable construction and building technology and eco-technology in general.

The mandate, objectives and activities of SMARTEC are implemented through a structured program that falls within three sections, namely:

Research, Development and Dissemination Section (RDD)

The Research, Development and Dissemination Section (RDD) mainly dwells on practical research activities within the mission and mandate of the centre, in collaboration with any persons, communities, institutions and organizations. Currently the section is dealing with research related to;

  • Local cementitious materials for low-cost and sustainable housing
  • Social and market studies vis-à-vis provision of housing, in the context of empowering the communities
  • Earth constructions for sustainable development
  • Concrete technology; current trends and optimal use
  • Eco-village
  • Others

Innovation, Production and Consultancy Section (IPC)

The Innovation, Production and Consultancy Section (IPC) is responsible for the production, practical implementation and marketing of innovations, construction technologies and products, as part of income generating activity for JKUAT. This is being done in conjunction with other relevant departments, communities, small entrepreneurs, etc,. SMARTEC is sharing laboratory and equipment with the Department of Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering.
To enhance income generating activities in the university, SMARTEC is mandated to supervise and coordinate all income generating activities in the Department of Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering. Consultancy and production activities include;

  • Material/sample testing in Civil Engineering laboratories for clients e.g. water testing in NEMA accredited Environmental Engineering lab, material testing in Structural/Materials Engineering laboratory & soil mechanics laboratory.

(b)Laboratory Practical for students from other universities e.g. MMUST

(c) Marketing and selling of construction materials & technologies e.g. wall blocks, floor tiles, paving tiles, roofing tiles, hire of construction kit/equipment.

(d) Consultancy in all types of infrastructural projects such as roads and bridges, airports, port development and related near-shore structures such as jetties, wharves and sea walls, water and sanitation, communication masts and power pylons, buildings and workshops, project management involving full management of projects from inception through feasibility study, conceptual and final design, and implementation up to project close down. (Our acting director is a Registered Consulting Engineer and a Fellow/Founder member of the Institute of Construction Project Managers if Kenya).

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Practical use of developed eco-building materials and eco-technologies



1.  Use of rammed earth for walling in single storey structures, and as infill walls in following

  • Construction of Hall 7(JKUAT)
  • Staff House at Kiriaini Girls School
  • Construction of New Science Complex at JKUAT
  • JKUAT stand at Nyeri Show Ground

2.  Use of rammed earth for walling in double storey structures, and as infill walls in following

  • Smartec Office at JKUAT

3.   Use of interlocking soil blocks for walling in single storey structures


10 papers have been published in peer referred journals,


  • Selected significant completed research projects
    1. A study of collapsing of building structures in Kenya
    2. Animal dung and municipal solid waste ash as an alternatives stabilizer for clay blocks
    3. Model for optimizing earth moving operations in Kenya
  • Selected significant research projects in progress.
    1. Manufacture of modified bitumen to control cracking of roads
    2. Causes of cracking of bituminous surfaced roads –case study of kabati – Mareira Road
    3. Super-plastizers from plant extracts
    4. Treatment of black cotton soil with rice husk ash and lime
    5. Use of reclaimed asphalt concrete to design cold mix for low volume concrete roads
    6. Use of sisal reinforced cement mortar
    7. Use of sugarcane baggase to stabilize expansive clays
    8. Lime and fly – ash stabilized soil as backfill for building sites
    9. Soil stabilization using molasses for gravel roads
    10. Use of stone dust in high performance concrete
    11. Development of a project management model for construction project it in Kenya
    12. Assessment of the extent of usage and quality of timber as a building material in Kirinyaga county
    13. Application of Geotechnical investigation alternatives for time and cost balance
    14. Use of waste paper ash as a partial replacement for cement in concrete
    15. Development of a model for effective management of building construction projects
    16. Use of sisal fibre in manufacture of roofing tiles

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SMARTEC in community outreach: Introducing the youth in Kiria-ini to sustainable construction materials and techniques, jointly with Prof. Karega Mutahi (PS Education)