Once again our attention has been drawn to the menace of collapsing buildings that have caused death and injuries and some that are nearly collapsing posing danger to the public.
After the Kisii tragedy two week ago in which a building collapsed killing eight people (8) people and injuring several others, we have had other structures collapsing or threatening to collapse. On Saturday 19th November, 2016 a wall collapsed in Ruaka and killed one (1) person. On Wednesday 23rd November, 2016 a building under construction but partially occupied collapsed in Ruiru but luckily the occupants escaped unhurt but traumatized. The following day, a building already occupied showed signs of structural failure at Ruaka and our officers evacuated the tenants in good time before a disaster could happen.
My Ministry, through the National Buildings Inspectorate has been conducting inspection of buildings to ascertain their suitability for human habitation. The exercise has been concentrated in Nairobi because of the many buildings suspected to be unsafe. However, we have already cascaded the exercise to the Counties and currently the team is in Kisii.
There have been signs that Ruiru and Ruaka in Kiambu County have shown signs of many buildings that are suspected to be unsafe. In order to reassure the public and ensure safety of these occupants, I have directed the National Buildings Inspectorate to lead other Government Agencies and the Kiambu County Government to inspect and audit all buildings in Ruiru and Ruaka as a matter of urgency.
The exercise will cover both buildings under construction and those that are already occupied.
The following will be required from the developers/owners of the buildings;
1. For buildings under construction;
(i) Approvals; (drawings, NEMA, National Construction Authority and County Government) will be required.
(ii) On the inspection day, the developer/owner shall avail their consultants to meet with Inspection Team on site so that they take professional responsibility.
Any site lacking any of the above will be closed immediately and no further construction shall proceed until all conditions are met.
2. For buildings that are occupied, the landlords/owners will be required to avail the following;
i) Approved drawings
ii) Occupation Certificate
iii) As built drawings
iv) They may also be required to be represented by their consultants for buildings constructed in the last 5 years.
Note: Only professionals registered by their professional bodies will be accepted.
I also wish to draw the attention of the public that the followings are signs of a building that is suspected of being unsafe.
(a) Visible cracks on walls, slabs, beams and columns
(b) Plumpness of walls and columns – poor verticality caused either by poor workmanship or differential settlements
(c) Having difficulty opening and closing majority of the doors and windows in a living unit.
(d) Excessive deflections and vibrations
(e) Dampness caused by leakages of water through walls, foundations and slabs
(f) Sinking wall/foundations- caused by poor structural designs
(g) Poor ventilation/lighting – creates difficulty in breathing and diminished vision and medical conditions.
These are among the basic indicators that the building is not safe and must be reported immediately on our hotline numbers (+254 719 123 123 or +254 726 123 123).
Tenants should seek copies of Occupation Certificates from landlords as confirmation that the facility is certified by County Authorities for occupation.
All are cautioned that once a building has been marked for further investigation or closure no one should occupy the building or even be engaged for further construction in such a building.
Under Articles 42 and 43(b) of the Constitution, every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, accessible and adequate housing and to reasonable standards of sanitation. The National Government has a duty to ensure your safety within your residence.
Let us all keep vigil for our own safety.
James W. Macharia, EGH