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Regulator demands repair plan for Sh1bn estate

National Buildings Inspectorate secretary Moses Nyakiongora speaks to the press on the sidelines of the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) Annual Convention in November last year. PHOTO | FILE
National Buildings Inspectorate secretary Moses Nyakiongora speaks to the press on the sidelines of the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) Annual Convention in November last year. PHOTO | FILE 

Developers of Everest Park, the residential estate at the centre of a building quality row, has been given two weeks to prepare a plan for the repair of faulty homes.

The National Building Inspectorate (NBI) said there was no going back on its demands which are based on an audit of the buildings located in Athi River, the Nairobi satellite town administratively in Machakos County.

“We hereby ask that you address yourselves to the issues raised in the report and submit your proposed remedial measures to correct the defects identified within 14 days due to public safety concerns,” NBI secretary Moses Nyakiongora says in a letter to the developer and copied to the National Construction Authority, project financier Shelter Afrique, County Government of Machakos and Everest Park Residents Association.

The NBI declared the 240 houses valued at Sh912 million structurally unsafe for occupation in a preliminary audit report it released in December after it was called in to ascertain their fitness.

The homes, whose construction began in 2012 as a joint venture between Everest Park Limited, the developer, and Shelter Afrique as the equity financier, had cracks on the walls, window frames on the canopy deflated and window panes broken.

“We must restate that the National Building Inspectorate was established to audit all existing buildings with views to save the lives that could result from poorly constructed structures,” the NBI said, even as it denied claims that its report was shallow and non-technical.

Everest managing director James Muriuki had in his response claimed that only two blocks out of 11 had sub-structural defects and questioned why the NBI made general communication based on bearing capacity of soil as tested in block 2B.

But the NBI has dismissed Mr Muriuki’s claims, saying that tests on block 2B revealed inadequacy of soil bearing capacity as the cause of the crack.

“This informed our recommendation that all blocks should be subjected to geothermal investigation to establish the likely cause of the defects appearing on them,” said Mr Nyakiongora.

Sources indicated that Everest through its lawyer had proposed at a meeting held last week that home owners take responsibility for the repair works but the NBI rejected the proposal.

Mr Nyakiongora said that it was illogical for home owners to take care of repair works as the defaults identified were as a result of poor workmanship by the developer.

“We have given them about two to three weeks to go and draw a repair plan for the faulty buildings. We will then call you for a briefing and advise on the way forward,” he said.

This was the first phase of the expansive estate which has 120 housing units priced at Sh2.6 million each, 60-two bedroom units costing Sh4.5 million each and 60 three-bedroom units selling at Sh5.5 million each.

The second phase, featuring one- to three-bedroom units, began January 2016 and ended last December.

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