Architectural group decry poor quality buildings

The Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) has outlined poor quality building materials, poor concrete mixing, and lack of supervision as the leading cause of buildings that collapse in the country.

AAK Chairperson, George Arabbu, says according to the National Construction Authority, (NCA), most buildings in the county have no involvement of qualified designers and supervisors to check on the quality of the work done and materials used during construction.

“In the country, 65 percent of the buildings have no involvement of designers. In total, 85 percent of the buildings in the country have very little or no supervision,” he said.

He also noted that non-compliance to building standards and regulations, inadequate structural design and overloading, and inadequate maintenance of structures are also some causes of building collapse in Kenya and called on the government through The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and other agencies that deal with quality checking to take part and control the sales of cheap building materials in the country.

Some of the buildings that have collapsed in Nairobi, include five-story buildings in Gachie and Kinoo and Ruiru,

According to an audit report done by the (NCA) on building collapses in the country, 10,791 of the buildings were very unsafe and either needed to be demolished or reinforced before occupation.

This shows that most Kenyans are unsafe either due to poor materials used during construction, poor piping, poor electrical connectivity or even stairway heights that may endanger the lives of the tenants.

More than 1,217 buildings were found to be fair and only 2,194 were certified as safe. More than 700 buildings, mostly in informal settlements, are at a high risk of collapsing and require demolition.

“Most buildings in Nairobi exist without approval. This means that there was no supervision done by the National Building Inspectorate (NBI) during the construction period.”

Over the past five years, more than 87 buildings have collapsed making more than 200 people lose their lives and 1,000 injured.

Due to the cheap construction materials used, the audit says that 66 percent of the building collapsed after completion while 34 percent collapsed during construction.

However, most past cases have no clear record of action taken.

On the other hand, the AAK president, Wilson Mugambi has called on the government to invest more on training qualified architects as a way of improving the buildings in the country.

“There is a need to engage government officials, especially gubernatorial aspirants to take part in building the Kenya we want,” said Mr Mugambi.

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