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Condemned building that replaced Nakumatt Downtown is redeemable, govt says

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMU) Safety officer Edwin Wakoli (left) and Vincent Obegi from the National Construction Authority (NCA) inspect a commercial building at the junction Kimathi Street and Kenyatta Avenue. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMU) Safety officer Edwin Wakoli (left) and Vincent Obegi from the National Construction Authority (NCA) inspect a commercial building at the junction Kimathi Street and Kenyatta Avenue. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

A condemned building at Kenyatta Avenue-Kimathi Street junction in Nairobi's central business district can be redeemed through structural improvements, a government official has said.

Moses Nyakiongera, the secretary in charge of the Building Inspectorate in the Lands ministry said the rehabilitation of the building will make it safe during occupation.

He said it can be redeemed if the ramps to the basement are demolished and reconstructed again for proper accessibility in the basement floor.

Mr Nyakiongera also wants the slabs for the additional floors redesigned so as to reduce the entire weight of the structure for safety.

Consequently, he wants the carbon plates and strips to be applied on beams and slabs to increase bending tension and shear capabilities.

Collapsed on 10th floor

“Investigations have shown that should the building have continued the way it was, it would have collapsed on 10th floor.

The designs were not adequate, the workmanship was very poor and the concrete was badly done,” he said.

The Nairobi County government and National Construction Authority (NCA) suspended the construction last December year due to non-compliance with approval requirements.

A structural audit report by the NCA revealed that the building did not have staircases to access the basement.

The building also had unsupported openings in the slab to accommodate stairwells.

No site records

In addition, the report noted, there were no site records indicating the consultants were supervising the works.

“There was no evidence of resident supervision team for a project of this scale and magnitude,” read the findings from the NCA team that visited the site.

The building is set on the site of Nakumatt Downtown, where 29 lives were lost in a lunch time inferno that razed the building in January 2009.

The proposed development is comprised of a commercial property with a plinth area of 855 sqm consisting of eight suspended reinforced concrete slabs over three basements, two mezzanine floors and three typical floors.

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