On June 3, 2015, Kenya Alliance of Residents Association (KARA) in partnership with the East African Portland Cement Company Ltd (EAPCC) launched the first Resident Dialogue Forum(RDF) in a series of eight to be held in different counties, aimed at creating public awareness, interest and participation in prevention of poor quality construction and continued occupation of dangerous buildings.
The forum , which was targeted mainly at resident associations, brought together various stakeholders in the construction industry including Ministry of lands, Housing and Urban Development , Nairobi City County Government, EAPCC, National Environment Management Authority(NEMA), National Construction Authority(NCA), Kenya Alliance of Resident Association(KARA) and key player in real Estate Industry.
Case of poor construction and consequent collapse of structures in Kenya, in some cases leading to loss of lives particularly in Nairobi , have reached and alarming rate in the past few months . A number of reasons have been brought forward to explain why these buildings collapse including, construction workers using the wrong concrete mix ratio, cost cutting by not only increase awareness but to also ensure that those directly involved understand the dangers and what they can do to protect themselves and the residents who elected them to look after their welfare.
Speaking at the event EAPCC head of Production Operation, Mr. Joseph Kombo , attributed part of the problem on wanting to take shortcuts therefore compromising construction quality. He emphasized the need to create awareness on adhering to regulations and proper ratio of the mixtures during the construction process to ensure safe and sustainable structures.
“Achieving a safe and sustainable construction industry requires concerted efforts from various industry players and the general public. Everyone has a role to play in preventing construction and occupation of poor quality buildings and the only way that we can all effectively participate is by first ensuring that the public and relevant stakeholders are better informed, ”he added.
Ms. Margaret Njuki, Chief Compliance officer NEMA, also noted the need to be more involved in the constructions ongoing in our neighborhoods.
“Anytime a building comes up in your neighbourhood, the experts involved in the construction must consult the resident association representatives, as you are the ones living in the neighborhoods. It takes all our efforts to ensure our safety,” she said.
All who spoke noted with appreciation the Government’s efforts in taking stern action against the concerned developers and putting measures in place to prevent future occurrences.
Representing the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Housing and URBAN Development,Works Secretary ,Arch. Aida Munano, spoke of the seriousness with which the government is taking the issue.
“Our President, early in the year, directed for audit to be done on all buildings. This underway and we are making good progress. Some of the high-risk areas we have identified include Huruma, Kariobangi, Umoja and Githurai among others,” she said.
The exercise has appreciated the standards of construction that need to be adhered to, and specific action is being taken by the government. She emphasized that Government plans to roll out the audit across the country.
The forum addressed common issues like adhering to set standards, specifications of mixtures of cement and aggregates by the construction workers’, ensuring proper inspection of the sites and materials is carried before, during and after construction and participation of both the private and government sectors in addressing the issues.