Every few months, we read about a building that has collapsed, leading to death and injury. When building inspectors are called to the scene, the verdict is almost always the same – the constructor had not complied with the standard requirements that should be met before and after construction begins.
If you are building your home, or are a property developer, the best way to guarantee a desirable outcome is to develop a quality management system. This might range from a very simple to a highly complex system, depending on your involvement in the industry.
The principle element that must be included in your building process is the identification of qualified and competent partners who will assist you to implement your project. Likely, this is easy, but due to lack of information, most people do not know where to find the competent partners.
More often than not, they rely on referrals or conviction by sweet talkers who have half-baked qualifications and experience, and are intent on securing a contract or employment. You must have met a “fundi” who swears that he built this or that building in the neighbourhood, but is probably lying.
To be sure that you have competent people working for you, the government and professionals in the industry have established a list of qualified people in the various roles required in construction.
In the building industry, before you start construction, you will require the services of an architect, civil/structural engineer, electrical/mechanical engineer and a quantity surveyor.
These professionals will investigate the site and, depending on your requirements, come up with a design that meets the by-laws and environmental requirements. Before you engage the services of these professionals, however, you should first establish that
they are all registered by their relevant regulatory bodies. For instance, architects should be registered with the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors while Civil/structural, Electrical/mechanical engineers should be registered with
the Engineers Board of Kenya.
After confirming their registration status, you need to obtain the professionals’ profiles and experience with a written confirmation from their clients. A visit to the referenced project would be prudent.
Once the design is complete and you wish to proceed with construction, then this is the time to identify qualified contractors. A list of contractors can be obtained at the National Construction Authority at their office at the Kenya Commercial Bank building in Upperhill, Kenya Road, Nairobi. More information can also be obtained on their website (www.nca.go.ke)
Good practice requires you identify at least three to five contractors. Once you confirm their registration, you then obtain their respective company profiles and verify their authenticity by enquiring from the referred clients and making a visit to the sites.
With this proper source, you can now sit back and watch as your project is implemented, knowing that you have a recourse from the regulating boards and authorities in case of negligence.
Mungeria Kirimania is an engineer