NAIROBI, Kenya, October 30 – The Architectural Association of Kenya now wants the government to conduct an audit of all buildings in the country.
Chairman Stephen Oundo said on Friday that this would prevent quack contractors from putting up sub-standard buildings.
“The building may if there is no option be brought down. There may be a space for doing some minimal remedies in terms of structural reinforcements and provision of services and then such building may stand the test of time,” Mr Oundo stated.
His comments come in the wake of the collapse of a building in Kiambu that left 16 people dead. Upon evaluation of the circumstances surrounding the collapsed building, it emerged that it had serious structural deficiencies.
There was glaring evidence that the developer and the contractor had flouted the regulations governing the building industry.
According to the AAK chairman, the so called building designer involved in the project is not a member of the association.
Mr Oundo further underscored the need for contractors to put up site sign boards stating clearly the details of the buildings under construction.
“The site sign board is an important starting point in establishing the integrity of any building construction project,” he said.
“Every member of the public can raise their concerns if a project lacks a site sign board,” he further added.
“Project site sign boards must be erected and must indicate the developer’s name and address.”
The AAK recommended that other than the audit of all buildings, the Kenya Bureau of standards (KEBS) should take serious action against manufacturers producing substandard materials such as reinforcement bars.
Mr Oundo emphasised the need for more stringent regulations for contractors in the country.
He said that a Contractors Registration Board should be established urgently to regulate contractors both in the public and private sectors.
He further recommended that all buildings must be required to have occupancy certificates in the interest of public safety.
He requested Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi to gazette a standard development approval process detailing the composition of the approval committee and period within which a development approval must be done.
The process must also have details of the approval fees payable and conditions to be fulfilled to facilitate approval.
Mr Oundo stated that all local authorities in the country constitute development approval committee whose membership at the minimum must include a registered architect, registered civil engineer and quantity surveyors.
The imposition of single business permits by local authorities creates an opportunity for anybody regardless of their professional background to acquire a permit from a local authority to practice as a professional.
Local authorities do not have the capacity to regulate such professionals and as such have no competence to license them.