State Department for Public Works’ National Buildings Inspectorate Secretary Dr Samuel Charagu has cited poor workmanship, use of substandard construction materials, weak foundations, poor structural design, and unprofessional and unethical conduct of contractors as among the main causes of incidents of collapsing of buildings in the country.
Eng Charagu said this when the Multi-Sector Agency Consultative Committee formed by the Ministry of Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary to investigate and mitigate challenges in the built environment carried out site visits to various buildings within Kericho County.
The Committee carried out a joint buildings inspections and audit exercise that also included sensitisation in Kericho County from September 18 to 23, 2023 to enforce standards and a functional built environment, safe for habitation.
Charagu, who led the exercise said the goal of the exercise was to achieve a safe healthy building sector especially now that the meteorological department has issued predictions for El-Niño rains.
He said they carried out a comprehensive audit of buildings including those under construction and profiled those that did not meet the standards for construction and those built without the necessary approvals.
Charagu also said that the government is keen to ensure all citizens are safe by mitigating disasters that occur during heavy rains such as the collapse of buildings.
“We are looking at the status of both public and private buildings in Kericho County including the drainage systems so that we prevent disasters that we’ve had in the past due to adverse weather conditions” added Charagu.
He said, among the activities carried out by technical officers involved joint inspections, compliance audits for the buildings sector and provision of technical guidance and recommendations on the way forward.
“We have already declared several buildings in Kericho County unsafe for occupation and we have given an evacuation notice to the occupants,” said Charagu.
The inspection was carried out in Kericho East, Bureti, and Belgut Sub-Counties.
To guarantee quality management in the construction sector, including the construction of buildings, the government in 2011 formed the National Construction Authority (NCA) with the mandate to coordinate, regulate and build the capacity of the construction industry through registration of projects, quality assurance checks across the country, and making the capacity of contractors and construction workers.
The Multi-Sector Agency Operations Committee comprised officers from the National Construction Authority, National Buildings Inspectorate, Engineers Board of Kenya, Board of Architects and Quantity Surveyors, County Department of roads, and office of the County Commissioner.