The Ultimate Guide To Types of Columns in Kenya

Columns are vertical members which transfer loads of a structure from the beam and slab to the foundation. Generally, columns carry axial loads in compression. They are very crucial elements of a structure and their failure results in the collapse of the whole structure. The columns are placed at regular intervals throughout the building and are connected to horizontal beams or slabs to form a structural framework. The size, spacing, and types of columns in Kenya are determined by the building’s load-bearing requirements, which are calculated based on the size, shape, and materials of the building. Columns can also be designed with different decorative elements to enhance the building’s appearance.

circular columns in kenya


Types of Columns in Kenya

There are different types of columns used in construction and are classified based on several conditions including shape, type of reinforcement, and materials. Based on shapes, columns can be classified as:

  • Circular columns

    Circular columns are mostly used in the elevation of buildings for aesthetic purposes. More than 4 steel bars are used in the reinforcement of this type of column and the bending resistance is usually higher than that of square or rectangular columns.

  • Square /rectangular columns

    Square columns are mostly used in building construction. They are economically good and easy to construct because of their easy shuttering and reinforcement placement.

  • L and T-shaped column

    The L-shaped column is used in the corners of a boundary wall and has similar characteristics to the square-shaped column, while the T- shaped column is utilized based on the design requirements of a structure, widely used in the construction of bridges.

  • Composite column

    These columns consist of structural steel or cast iron column enclosed with concrete reinforced with longitudinal as well as spiral reinforcement. These types of columns are mostly used in truss structures to avoid corrosion of steel and in multistory buildings where the columns and loads are high  .in addition to exhibiting good fire performance, this type of column has adequate strength with a fairly small cross-section.

  • Tied column

    This type of column is usually constructed from reinforced concrete. Longitudinal reinforcements are confined within closely spaced tie reinforcement because when the ties are spaced too far apart, the column will experience shear failure in between the ties. Mostly common in buildings.


T-shaped column in kenya

How to determine the position of columns in Kenya 

It is very important to think about how the columns are going to be placed. The three base guidelines to be followed are as per the following.

Column alignment: As a general rule, columns should be placed near the corners of the building where the beams and walls join. Columns must be associated with each other for the smooth exchange of loads and to lessen point loads.

Column spacing: The distance between two reinforced columns ranges from 3-4 m for small residential buildings to 6-9m for large buildings.

Column sizes: The size of the columns relies upon the burden. There are pivotal and horizontal burdens.


composite column in kenya



In conclusion, columns in Kenya are crucial elements of any building’s structural system providing support and contributing to the building’s overall architectural design, therefore regular maintenance and inspection are necessary to ensure the columns remain structurally sound. The type of columns chosen to be used in the building depends on the different structural requirements.


99 Construction Guide
99 Construction Guide

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