Kenya PM warns over unlawful constructions

April 20, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 -The government has issued a stern warning to players in the housing industry to adhere to professional ethics or face disciplinary action.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday said the government was running out of patience with professionals especially in the Local Government Ministry who authorise the construction of sub standard buildings and in the wrong areas. 

“I am warning especially engineers and architects who approve plans targeted for protected areas and the public at large that stern action will be taken against them,” Mr Odinga reiterated.

Speaking during the launch of the Building Code Review and Harmonisation Committee, Mr Odinga said the government would not hesitate to demolish such buildings.

“The criminals who have constructed in illegal areas will be made to compensate any Kenyans who may have fallen prey to their schemes,” the Premier said.

The committee which incorporates 16 public and private agencies was mandated to review building codes by examining laws, by-laws and regulations to address foregoing challenges and ensure effective delivery of services.

“The need to review the current building code arose out of building and construction failures witnessed in this country since 1996.  Various commissions of inquiry and committees have laid blame on the outdated building code,” Mr Odinga said.

He disclosed that the team was expected to complete its work by the end of August.

He said the current law which was based on British legislation was faulty and was material rather than performance oriented adding that enforcement of existing codes was not effectively addressed.

A member of the committee Reuben Mutiso pointed out that the current building code was very simplistic and does not reflect the current global trends in the industry.

“What should be brought in place are laws that vary according to the needs of the various parties in the industry,” Mr Mutiso said.

He emphasised the need to put in place laws and regulations with specific objectives to control physical planning and to set appropriate standards for building and construction in the country.

The current building code dates back to 1967 and is based on a 1943 document which highlighted codes applicable in England.

The Building Code is a set of regulations aimed at regulating and controlling standards in the building and construction sector within any city council, municipality and county councils.

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