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Most buildings in Kenya at risk of collapse, agency warns

Work at 5,000 out of the 7,835 sites inspected by agency did not comply with set regulations.

Wednesday January 20 2016

Residents mill near the building that collapsed and trapped construction workers on April 2, 2015 behind Thika Road Mall in Roysambu .The National Construction Authority has warned that at least 60 per cent of buildings put in Kenya are not compliant with regulations and pose danger to occupants. PHOTO | PETER NGARE |

Residents mill near the building that collapsed and trapped construction workers on April 2, 2015 behind Thika Road Mall in Roysambu .The National Construction Authority has warned that at least 60 per cent of buildings put up in Kenya are not compliant with regulations and pose danger to occupants. PHOTO | PETER NGARE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP.

By JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT
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By LILLIAN MUTAVI
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More than half of the buildings inspected by the National Construction Authority last year were put up without compliance to regulations governing the sector.

The situation puts at risk the lives of thousands of people occupying the buildings.

The sector’s regulator inspected 7,835 construction sites across the country and found that more than 5,000 buildings were not compliant with the law, and required to be redone or brought down.

Those not compliant are about 60 per cent, indicating the possibility of collapse of most buildings in the future.

Tuesday, the authority said a total of 17 construction works, including buildings, collapsed last year.

NCA General Manager, Research and Training, Maurice Akech said most owners of buildings were still ignoring construction rules and orders by the regulator.

“The level of compliance is wanting. The buildings that collapsed were not registered with us. The contractors were also not registered,” said Mr Akech. He spoke when the authority officials met various construction stakeholders at Panafric Hotel in Nairobi on Tuesday.

Mr Akech said it was now mandatory for everyone involved in the construction of buildings, roads or bridges to register with the agency and ensure compliance with the regulations.

ROGUE DEVELOPERS

At the same time, more than 50,000 buildings and others under construction in Nairobi County are at risk of being demolished as they were not approved by City Hall.

The developers have one month to seek permits as the six months they were given to conform to the standards set by the authority and City Hall’s Planning and Housing Department are about to elapse.

The six months, from September last year, were given after a six-storey building collapsed and killed seven people in Makongeni on December 17, 2014. Several other buildings have also collapsed.

“The six months end next month. So developers who have not regularised their buildings should hurry or they will face the consequences,” County Director of Public Communications Beryl Okundi said Tuesday.

(READ: Agency wants city officials charged over flat’s collapse)

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