A government agency is seeking about Sh100million from the National Treasury to help it guard against the increasing spate of buildings collapse as well as curb growing insanity in the construction sector.
The Kenya Engineering Technology Registration Board (KETRB) chief executive Alice Mutai in an interview said the funding will also help the board formulate strict application of building regulations by the state and the prosecution of developers, owners and builders who fail to adhere to the regulations prescribed by law.
“What has been lacking in the construction industry is this Board, which will now regulate the last person that touches the construction stone. We still have a challenge in terms of funding,” said Mutai, whose members comprise of engineering technologists and technicians most of whom are neither certified not regulated – despite sensitive role they play in the sector. Since the appointment of the Board in office in September in 2016, only 1000 engineering technologists and technicians have been certified.
Ms. Mutai is also advocating for an umbrella body in the industry much like other sectors such as medicine, with the proposal she believes would go along away in getting sanity in the sector.
“We should have an umbrella body that brings everyone in the industry, this way it will be clear on who does what much like what we see in other fields like medicine to avoid blame games,” she said.
The National Buildings Inspectorate has in its previous building audits, marked thousands of buildings in Nairobi and its environs whose constructions were considered either very dangerous, unsafe and ‘fair’ for human habitation with Huruma, Pipeline and Umoja areas taking the bulk of zones notorious for poor structures.
While the number of buildings demolished have declined in the previous months it is still widely believed that the house-building industry is controlled by cartels who continue to endanger lives of many innocent Kenyans.
The Inspectorate have previously admitted of an existing ‘rot’ in the sector which according to Moses Nyakiongora, Secretary at the Buildings Inspectorate, appears to run deep and wide in the industry following allegations of decades-long conspiracy between property-owners and prosecuting authorities.
The courts for instance have struggled to prosecute perceived high and mighty individuals responsible for bringing up poorly-constructed buildings that have later collapsed – leading to destruction of property and sometimes loss of lives.
“Kenya’s housing crisis could be solved if only we had stiffer laws and good faith to prosecute the crooks. Building collapse are attributed to a number of factors relating to structural integrity, non-compliance to statutory regulations, lack of safety measures, poor workmanship, substandard construction materials, climatic conditions among others,” said former National Construction Authority (NCA) Chief executive Daniel Manduku in a previous interview.