NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The construction sector in Kenya that has lately
experienced a boom is on the spotlight once again as failures to
enforce regulations escalate collapse of residential apartments
leading to loss of lives.
Kenya has in the recent past
grappled with collapse of buildings in major cities despite
launch of a code of conduct by regulatory agencies to weed out
malpractices in the construction industry that contributes 7
percent to the country’s GDP.
The collapse of a five-storey building in Nairobi’s low
income Huruma suburb at dawn on June 3 where three people died
and several injured, was a confirmation that Kenya’s
construction sector is not yet out of the woods.
Mike Mbuvi Sonko, the Nairobi County Governor who oversaw
rescue efforts at the collapsed building, said that his
administration will conduct fresh inspection on residential
flats in low income settlements to determine their safety.
"We are going to carry out a thorough inspection on all
buildings in residential premises and proceed to demolish the
ones that are structurally weak.
"The county government will enforce stringent measures in the
construction sector to avert future disasters," Sonko remarked.
The densely populated Huruma estate located on the eastern
section of Nairobi has become the epicenter of collapsed
buildings that lead to loss of lives and displacement of
Seven people died in Huruma estate in April 2016 when a
six-storey building collapsed due to failure by the contractor
to follow sound architectural guidelines.
The collapse of another building in the same estate in late
April 2016 where 50 people died, forced authorities to embark on
a campaign to restore sanity in the construction industry.
Both the central and county governments have since 2016
carried out a campaign to enforce standards in the construction
sector in the light of malpractices that lead to collapse of
The National Construction Authority in conjunction with
Nairobi county government carried out an audit of all
residential apartments in low income suburbs to determine their
Several buildings that were found to be structurally weak
were demolished in Huruma and other densely populated suburbs in
Charles Kerich, the Nairobi City County Lands and Housing
Executive, told reporters at the site of the collapsed building
in Huruma Estate that nine structures have been demolished in
the crowded estate since 2016 due to safety concerns.
"We have earmarked several buildings for demolition in Huruma
and the exercise will not stop until developers adhere to newly
launched code of conduct in the construction sector," Kerich
He revealed that 600 buildings in Nairobi, majority of them
in Huruma estate, were declared unsafe by the inspectorate
department of the county government in December last year.
Kenya’s construction sector is rated among the most vibrant
in the region but ethical lapses have battered its image to the
detriment of its future growth.
Experts said radical measures should be adopted by the
regulatory agencies to restore order in a sector that has
attracted huge investments while generating jobs for the youth.
Nathan Ngugi, a Nairobi-based real estate consultant, said
adherence to construction guidelines, capacity building for
artisans, public awareness and robust inspections are key to
promote safety in residential buildings.
"Developers who flout rules to put up sub-standard buildings
that pose risk to tenants should be given stiff penalties. A
well-regulated construction sector will definitely attract more
investments," Ngugi said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has been on the frontline to promote
ethical standards in the construction sector following collapse
of residential apartment blocks that peaked in 2016.
Kenyatta in 2015 ordered state agencies to conduct an audit
of buildings in Nairobi to determine their safety following an
outcry from the public who bore the brunt of malpractices in
Two dead, and Four more rescued, as Nairobi building