Market News

Construction jobs shrink as demolitions cut approvals 34pc


House demolition. The number of approvals has fallen due to stringent inspection. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Construction jobs and building material sales dipped sharply following a 34.6 per cent drop in projects approved by the Nairobi County government from January to June, 2019.

The Built Environment report by Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) noted only 955 projects worth Sh84.2 billion were approved in a process that took an average of 41.35 days. Last year 1,167 projects worth Sh128.7 billion were approved in 37 days.

“The county’s revenue also fell by 33.1 percent or Sh165 million to Sh333 million. This is an area that could be fast-tracked if online portals were used to process all building applications thereby reducing human contact that gives graft a fertile ground to thrive,” said AAK president Mugure Njendu.

The fall is largely blamed on stringent inspection following last year’s “bomoa bomoa” campaign where properties standing on road reserves, fire stations, riparian and forestland were demolished despite ownership documents.

This saw Governor Mike Sonko direct the building approvals committee to conduct due diligence on land ownership, visit project sites and consult other regulatory agencies before approving projects.

Residential buildings took up 74.32 percent of approvals followed by public use at 11.23 percent, industrial 8.63 percent, commercial 5.93 percent while education developments took a paltry 0.21 percent.

Eastleigh, Karen, Nairobi’s Central Business District and Industrial area took up most of the developments.