, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka visited the scene of the collapsed building in Mlolongo on Sunday and criticized developers who put up buildings without supervision of professionals like architects and quantity surveyors.
“I am informed that this building was put up to the 5th floor with substandard material and without proper supervision,” the VP said.
He instructed the Mavoko Mayor to ensure that no developer is licensed without lining up the right professionals to oversee the construction.
“There should be periodic supervision of buildings that are under construction,” he added, describing as “alarming” the increased rate at which buildings under construction are collapsing in the country.
The VP sent a message of condolence to the bereaved families of construction workers who perished in the ill-fated building.
The five-storey building that collapsed on Saturday killed four people and left 15 others wounded.
Those who died or wounded in the tragedy were construction workers who were trapped late on Saturday.
It took police and other rescue workers several hours trying to save the lives of the trapped workers.
The VP lauded the Ministry of Roads and Public Works for stopping the demolitions plan in the Mavoko area to enable a task force mandated to investigate the matter complete its work and make recommendations on the viable solutions.
The Architectural Association of Kenya has previously blamed unregistered professionals for the mess.
At least 20 people have been killed and dozens wounded in buildings that have collapsed while under construction in Nairobi and other parts of the country.
On May 7, a building under construction collapsed in Westlands, Nairobi where workers on site were lucky to escape unhurt.
The six-storey building had been completed and workers were putting up final touches when it went down.
On June 20 last year, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi who was then in charge of the Local Government docket warned of dire consequences on developers who put up buildings without proper approval from authorities.
He said most buildings were collapsing because developers were getting approvals for lesser floors but end up putting up additional floors illegally.
“We will not spare any building regardless of where it is. Council authorities are under instruction to start enforcing this order after carrying out an audit of all buildings of that nature. Buildings that are above five floors and have no elevators will be brought down,” the Minister said at the time when he toured the site of a collapsed building in Lang’ata.
“All buildings that are more than five floors up must have a lift, that is clearly stipulated and contractors putting up such buildings know that. All such structures that have violated this rule will have to be brought down,” he added.
But despite this order, no single building has even been brought down for lacking an elevator.
This raises serious questions on the government’s commitment to enforce stipulated laws because such tough warnings are only issued when incidents have occurred.