Tedious approval processes have been blamed for the collapse of buildings in the country as some rogue developers and homeowners pursue cheaper routes.
Two buildings collapsed last week in Kiambu and Kajiado counties, renewing blame game between developers and counties.
“Bringing up a house is not an easy task because getting approvals is a lengthy process. People take shortcuts to avoid all that,” said Collins Chacha, a developer at Homes Universal.
There are four compulsory construction approvals in Kenya, including the architectural plan approval, structural plan nod, and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) licence by the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).
An audit report done by the National Construction Authority (NCA) revealed that more than 700 buildings, mostly in rural settlements, are at a high risk of collapsing and should be demolished.
Kiambu governor Kimani Wamatangi blamed the incident on the developer, citing ‘extremely substandard work,’ vowing that such slip-ups will never be allowed to happen again.
As rescue operations were underway in Kiambu, another building collapsed in Kajiado’s Oloolua. Residents claimed the materials used were substandard.
There was no one in the six-storey building but a passerby was injured.
Rogue, unregistered developers have swamped the industry, claiming several lives. “All of us should be informed that when a building is marked X or there’s a banner prohibiting entry, to simply obey lest you risk your life," said Mr Chacha.
"There are numbers you can call and alert the respective authorities when such a building is occupied,” he said.
“To get approvals, you have to knock on so many offices, you even have to show if you are capable of raising the said number of storeys to get certified,” added Mr Chacha.
Buildings under construction have been collpasing, leaving a trail of destruction, inluding loss of lives, maiming, tainted repuation of a contractor and developer who also incur huge monetary losses.
The collapses have become more common in certain areas than the rest, leaving a trail of questions about regulation and monitoring of the sector whose investments in a year run into billions of shillings.
A year ago, three buildings collapsed in Kiambu County one in Gachie and Kinoo areas.
By the time of going to press, efforts to reach the National Construction Authority (NCA) for a comment remained futile. About the geological assessments in Kiambu, Mr Chacha said "more needs to be investigated in the county".