Writes BRIAN MUGENYI
In his youthful days, Derrick Bwanika wanted to become a priest but being in construction and masterly in civil engineering has paid dividends and prices he fancied in life after college.
Maybe the Holy Spirit had acclimatized onto his cerebrum to settle for a lucrative career in constructruction; mapping and drafting construction plans instead of roaring for a career in priesthood calling.
The power to communicate to someone’s heart through preaching the word of God was his driving factor since he holds counselling and preaching gifts at his command.
However, time passed by and Bwanika’s dream of priesthood changed drastically.
The focus and attention was lessened onto Civil engineering instead.
The construction and maintenance of buildings are what keeps Bwanika eventful.
The founder of Defram-Tekno Building Contractors Limited that deals in construction in Masaka City is busy like a bee in an orange building reflector overseeing a coffee processing plant located in Kyabakuza suburbs in Masaka City.
This is one of the projects Bwanika’s company has been able to erect and according to him it is the power art of resiliency that keeps them going.
“We started slowly by the time I left the campus. Two friends of mine Sam Mulungi was good in Technical Drawing (TD) and Frank Katabaazi helped me draft how we could start up with our works,” starts Bwanika who had hopes of serving the priesthood during his high school days at Bukalasa Minor Seminary in 2009.
The soft-spoken Bwanika is well informed.
He talks with audacity about construction and how he has been able to make some dime in his youthful days including in lnyatsi construction company Limited.
“We haven’t fetched more returns but we hope to have multi-national Company like Standard Structure, Excel Constructions and Roko contractors. Such companies keeps us going and believing for more,” adds Bwanika.
He has been able to construct several building sites and most of the time Bwanika is contracted through friends and former clients.
“Sometimes I can construct a site and after a few days a friend of mine or even my client connects me up to someone with another business. That’s how we have reached,” says Bwanika also a Bachelor’s Degree holder in Civil Engineering which he attained at Ndejje University in 2018.
Bwanika married to Viola Najjemba says most of Ugandans who are outside the country are so many and the first initiative was to build the houses for people who are outside the country.
“Through recommendations from friends, we have been able to walk the talk and achieved loads of projects,” says Bwanika who has had numerous trainings in construction including Stanbic Business incubator mentorship he achieved in 2019.
Born to Alex Kakeeto and Ms Aidah Namulindwa residents of Sanje village, Kyotera District Bwanika also the fourth born in the family of nine children says he has been able to construct buildings in Luweero, Entebbe, Masaka and Kyotera District.
“My construction story started in Kawempe and I was contracted by the time I started my second year at the campus. Thereafter, we constructed underground tunnel for Child free foundation in Kyanamukaka,” he says.
Since construction involves a lot of hard work and determination especially when wining rich contracts in government institutions, Bwanika says the competition in construction will always be stiff.
“The process of winning contracts is very stiff. Sometimes we face a lot challenges but personally am always available with my paper work since we are a registered company,” explains Bwanika.
As a company, Defram Teckno Construction Limited, they are a registered entity certified with a certificate and trading license which they attained in 2018.
“The formal procedure set by Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) are clear and we’ve always adhered to their requirements,” he says.
Bwanika is building a career amidst everything and the training he has had altogether with the well guidance of Engineer Ben Misagga have worked miracles for him.
“We cannot construct houses that are less planned. Most of the times we have our construction architects and when the client is willing to offer both planning and construction charges it becomes easier for us as a company,” says Bwanika.
For a client to have a well-streamlined building, Bwanika says, it has to go through seven stages; planning (Involves architectural work), Execution, Monitoring and the completion phase.
“When the plan is drawn, the local authorities chip in to guide us how the land and the house should be stationed,” says Bwanika.
Apparently, they are considering modern features on a building site such as self-contained rooms and the roof structure according must be appealing accordingly.
“Changes on a construction site can be as much as the client pleases,” says Bwanika.
As for construction credentials, Bwanika says a certified stamped architectural drawing by a certified architecture must be submitted to the Municipal engineer.
“It is a responsibility of a client to submit the proof of ownership of the proposed land for development to the engineers to analyses the authentic data of the property,” adds Bwanika.
Since Bwanika’s company plies its trade in Masaka, the Municipal engineers normally asks for inspection fee, development fee and Value Added Tax (VAT) charges.
“The charges differs accordingly. For example, residential, commercial and warehouses charges are slightly different,” says Bwanika.
Among the motivating factors that keeps Bwanika going are the positive feedback normally received from clients.
“We’ve served well so far. We hope to achieve more and work for more clients,” articulates Bwanika also the brain behind the construction of St Paul Kasasa primary School main hall complex stationed in Kabira, Kyotera District.
Behind every successful man lies a successful woman. However, Bwanika’s successful story differs.
It is solely his father Kakeeto and the former Kakuuto Member of parliament Mathias Kasamba who have cohesively supported Bwanika’s career.
“I give credit to my friends, parents and Mr Kasamba for igniting my career every day,” added Bwanika.
According to Ms Sylvia Mirembe, the acting Head of Natural resources, Rakai District, Defram-Tekno Building Contractors Limited are a trustworthy entity and are good at delivering a proposed project timely.
“They constructed my home in Kyotera District from clearing phase up to roofing. They are too hardworking and trustworthy which is very rare in some construction companies,” articulates Mirembe.
Caption: Derrick Bwanika (Below) has been able to construct several building sites in Masaka City; Mbarara and other districts. At the age of 29, Bwanika has succeeded thereby winning building contracts.