Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has said his government is working on a policy to ensure that single-dwelling house plans are approved within five days to address the backlog inherited from his predecessor’s regime.
“We came into office and found a real mess in the approval of housing plans,” he said during a visit to a construction site in Juja, adding that his reform agenda will rid the county off corrupt people and ensure strict adherence to deadlines.
“When a developer shows up on Monday with a single-dwelling house plan seeking approval, he/she should collect the plan approved — or otherwise — within five working days,” he said. Governor Waititu noted that corruption in the county government had eroded investor confidence, forcing some investors to relocate to other counties.
“We had a situation where investors had their building plans hidden so that they could part with bribes to have someone look for them,” he said.
ROUND IN CIRCLES
Developers who were seeking permission to expand their buildings were taken round in circles to the point where their projects stalled. We are bringing in new hope based on transparent and above-board dealings with developers,” he said.
The governor said the construction sector in Kiambu is fast overtaking agriculture “since we are experiencing a total eclipse by concrete jungles”.
He said the transformation needed stringent laws to manage it and a dedicated government to ensure that unethical practices do not make construction a risky venture; to this end he promised to tame fraud in the property market, ensure that the safety measures in the building code are adhered to, as well as that every structure built in the county conforms to specified building standards.
A 2012 audit report on Kiambu by the housing ministry found that 95 per cent of the high-rise buildings under construction had serious architectural faults while five per cent fell short of the 50 per cent safety rating.
The audit was ordered after two buildings in the town collapsed in two months, killing 20 people and injuring more than 50.
Mr Waititu’s government has announced that by March, all property brokers operating in the county will be registered on an e-platform in a move aimed at mitigating fraud, estimated at Sh3 billion annually.
The governor said the county would set up a customer care desk where customers would register the nature of their transactions with property brokers.
He hinted that thereafter, a comprehensive electronic database accessible via mobile telephone would be created to enable potential clients to search for property online and know whether they were dealing with genuine agents.
Mr Waititu added that his government would establish an unit to audit all property deals before they are certified as clean.