In the recent past, the city of Nairobi has experienced a population explosion leading to the high demand for housing. According to National Housing Corporation, the estimated housing needs are 150,000 units per year. This has been caused by the growth of Kenya’s economic development and the rapid rise of the middle class. Nairobi controls 57% of Kenya’s GDP according to UNDP (United Nations Development Program).

The population of Nairobi city was 800,000 in 1980 but due to population migration from rural areas its population has grown to 3.1million in 2009 and this is expected to grow further to 5.2 million bythe year 2030 (Nairobi is the capital and primate city of Kenya hence the influx of the rural urban migration). The type of settlement growth for Nairobi is human led  instead of growth being led by  infrastructure . Due to this phenomenon, the demand for housing has increased drastically whereas supply of land for housing needs remains static. This has resulted in mushrooming of sub-standard developments and informal settlements.

The high cost of construction, statutory fees, supervision and tedious bureaucratic process involving multiple agencies has resulted in circumventing of the approval process leading to compromised standards of construction, with many developers resorting to substandard materials, lack of supervision by professional personnel and at the expense of quality build environment full of  substandard and unsafe buildings which are prone to collapse.

The cases of building failure and collapse of structures in Kenya and more specifically Nairobi is not a new phenomena, however it has reached an alarming state in the past few years. In the  recent past numerous cases of collapsed buildings have been reported in Makongeni on 17th December 2014 and in Huruma on 4th  January 2015. In this year alone there is a worrying trend whereby cases of building collapse have been reported in every month , a occasioning the loss of lives,  casualties, property and other immeasurable losses which include disruption of livelihoods and traumatized residents who have lost confidence in their living environments.

Previously, a number of other cases have been documented to have collapsed occasioning the same consequences. These  include Sunbeam supermarket 1996;Ushirika Estate Juja Road Nairobi, 1998,Tena Estate , 1998, House of Manji, 2000, Karanja Road – Kibera Nairobi, 2001, Kilimani Estate, 2001,RonaldNgala Street, Nairobi, 2006; Mombasa, 2009; Kiambu, 2009, Pipeline 2011 and Embu, 2013.

Due to the above incidences, the Government directed an audit of all buildings in Nairobi from 6th January 2015, to be carried out within 3 months. On 19th January, 2015, the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service through his letter Ref. OP/CAB 26/1/3A directed the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development to implement this Presidential directive. A detailed TOR was issued on 26th January, 2015, enhancing the scope of works to be undertaken in all the counties. The audit process commenced immediately after the directive was issued and it involved actual field data collection in the sampled areas which included Eastlands, Dagorretti, Kasarani, Zimmerman, Roysambu, Githurai 44&45, Garden Estate, home, Kayoleand  Kilimani areas.

This involved collection of information on building and structures in the sampled areas where collapsed buildings had been reported and documented. In July 2015 the Nairobi city county government requested the building audit team to coordinate in bringing down two buildings at Kahawa west whose situation was precarious and was posing a serious danger to public safety.
The Constitution is committed to nurturing and protecting the wellbeing of the individual, the family and the Nation. Under Article 21(2), the state has the responsibility to take legislative policy and other measures including the setting of standards to achieve economic and social rights.

In addition the Kenya Vision 2030 underscores the streamlining of the functional organization (including professionalization), of legal and judicial institutions to enhance inter-agency co-operation and inculcating a culture of compliance with laws and decent human behavior.  This can only be achieved in a well regulated, safe and healthy built environment.

A total of 2605 buildings were inspected and from the analysis, it can be noted that only 64% of the buildings have attained the required structural standards while the rest require further scientific investigations with a view of strengthening them and those that cannot be strengthened to be immediately be demolished.

The survey identified structurally sound buildings that need further attention as far as public health and compliance issues are concerned. 38% of these buildings need to improve on solid waste  and liquid waste management , natural lighting and ventilation and setback of each building. It is important to note that only 30% of the buildings are compliant on approval, plot coverage, building ratios, accessibility and ownership.

From the survey, it was found that Dagoretti lead in structurally sound buildings while Huruma exhibited the most cases in questionable structural integrity.

The Audit Objectives
1. To carry out a comprehensive audit of all buildings with a view to profiling those that do not meet  the standards for construction.- Demolition of all buildings that failed  the structural  tests.

2. To inspect buildings, recommend validation and regularization of safe unauthorized buildings and issuance of occupation certificates.–validate and regularize all buildings that meet the basic planning and safety standards in accordance with regularization of  developments laws.

3. To Provide proposals towards mitigation and correction of the situation including immediate demolition of all buildings and structures that do not meet the established standards of habitation.- Developers with unapproved structures to engage consultants to undertake alterations and amendments to existing structures to meet basic planning standards.Establish one stop shop to deal with development approvals with harmonized statutory fees at both county and national level.

4. Determining the suitability for habitation of buildings by a vetting committee- establish a quasi-judicial tribunal to deal with disputes arising from the audit recommendations arising from the building inspectorate.

5. To establish collaboration with the police and stake holders to deal with imposters.Second the national police to be part of the building inspectorate.

6. To facilitate issuance of title deeds and initial and continuous occupation certificates. Counties to facilitate processing of lease to secure land tenure and issuance of titles.

SURVEY RESULTS/FINDINGS
1.0 OVERVIEW
1.1    Huruma

Huruma was categorized as a high risk area due to its observable poor settlement and development framework which has lead to high deterioration of safety standards in the area. 41% of the buildings have not attained the required structural standards for safety hence further action should be taken to improve the situation. High morbidity cases have been reported in the area as a result of the low levels of sanitation, ventilation and lighting which amount to 46% of the buildings. Less than 5% of the buildings were found to be compliant on approval, land ownership and plot coverage.

1.2    Umoja
Umoja recorded more structurally sound buildings than other areas sampled. Out of all the buildings inspected, 70% were found to be structurally sound. More than 50% of these buildings have complied to the public health standards. At least 70% of the buildings are non compliant on approval, accessibility and plot coverage.

1.3    Thika road
59.5% of the buildings are structurally sound while the rest need further attention in terms of reinforcement and workmanship to avoid any collapse threat in future. More than 75% of these buildings remain non-compliant and at least 28% of the buildings need more attention on sanitation and other public health regulations.

1.4     Dagoretti
Dagoretti has a fairly scattered type of settlement. 177 buildings were surveyed and realized that 37% of the buildings have not attained the required structural standards for safety hence further action should be taken to improve the situation. In most cases, public health standards have been achieved in the area. At least 30% of the buildings are compliant on urban planning regulations.

1.5Babadogo
Babadogo has a fairly crowded type of settlement characterized by no back lanes, poor ventilation and lighting. Accessibility is an issue too due to narrow streets and poor drainage. Waste disposal in this area is also a major concern because there are no clear dumping sites. A total of 360 story buildings were inspected and out of these, 28.6% of the buildings need urgent tests.

1.6 South B
South B was found to be fairly built.  This is an estate with a lot of gated communities and organized committees run the estates. Most of the developments are well ventilated and with adequate lighting. The plot coverages are rarely beyond 60%. Most estates have also left open grounds which are often used by children as playing grounds. There is generally good accessibility in the area and drainage is at above average standards.

1.7 Nairobi West
Nairobi west was also found to be fairly built.  Just like South B, this is an estate with a lot of gated communities and organized committees run the estates as well. Most of the developments are well ventilated and with adequate lighting. The plot coverages are rarely beyond 60%. Most estates have also left open grounds which are often used by children as playing grounds. There is generally good accessibility in the area and drainage is at above average standards.

2 STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY ANALYSIS
This involves all the professionals visiting all the buildings checking on visible structural cracks, plumpness/verticality and leakages/dampness. By so doing all structures which are not defective are eliminated for further structural tests. Identified structures with questionable structural defects are earmarked for further structural tests which will involve non destructive tests on rebar spacing, concrete strengths, column dimensions and beam dimensions.

Sampled Area

Cracks

Plumpness (< 90 degrees)

Deflections and Vibrations

Huruma

13%

41%

18%

Umoja

11%

30%

19%

Thika Road

13%

40.5%

13.5%

Dagoretti

8%

37%

31%

Babadogo

15%

38%

29%

South B

9%

18%

15%

Nairobi West

7%

15%

12%

Table 1 showing results of structural tests in the sampled areas of Nairobi County

It is important to note that most buildings with defective plumpness also exhibited high levels of cracking and deflections/ vibrations.

3    PUBLIC HEALTH

Under this level, the teams checked on street accessibility, plot and ground coverage. Specific emphasis was laid to analyzing whether the buildings are conducive to human habitation. It involved checking building adequacy for the provision of ventilation, lighting, staircase sizes, provision of sanitary facilities and the level of occupancy. The classification was as follows;Poor (<40%), Fair (40 %< x>60%),  Good (>60%)

Sampled Area

Waste water disposal

Solid waste disposal

Lighting

Ventilation

Huruma

Poor

Poor

Poor

Poor

Umoja

Poor

Poor

Fair

Fair

Thika Road

Good

Poor

Fair

Fair

Dagoretti

Good

Poor

Good

Good

Babadogo

Poor

Poor

Poor

Poor

South B

Good

Fair

Good

Good

Nairobi West

Good

Fair

Good

Good

Table 2  showing public health indicators in the sampled areas

4 GENERAL SETTLEMENT SCHEME PLANNING

The team further analyzed the condition of the settlement from the time it was imitated to the current. Key issues analyzed included how the scheme has mutated over time, the social and physical infrastructure facilities provisions. This involved provision of health facilities, schools, sewer, water reticulation, roads and street lighting. Provision of open spaces was further considered.

The coordinates of the buildings are taken using hand held GPS with the photograph of the building and tying it to the building number. All other attributes information by the field teams are combined to form a spatial geo data base, this will be used to analyze patterns of safety within the entire scheme. Hotspots maps will be generated on focused areas which require immediate attention.

The original type plan consisted of a total of six dwelling rooms per plot of 120m2. The City council later changed the plan to include two levels, ground and first floor totaling to 12 dwelling units per plot.

Sampled Areas

Compliance

Huruma

04%

Umoja

28%

Thika Road

15%

Dagoretti

32%

Babadogo

5%

South B

40%

Nairobi West

43%

Table 3 showing the level of compliance

5 COLLAPSED STRUCTURES
The causes of collapse for the four buildings that collapsed at Makongeni, HurumaRoysambu and OngataRongai were analysed and the following were the results:

5.1    Foundation
Some foundations of the buildings were not done as per the standard. The walls below ground (substructure) were lying on hard-core instead of reinforced concrete strip-footings as would be expected especially for Makongeni site. Technical specifications were not adhered to.

5.2    Concrete Tests
Concrete was of poor quality as evidenced from the mix and low grade obtained. The cement content in concrete was not higher than 11.4% by volume while the expected cement content in concrete was about 18%. The maximum concrete strength was not more than 10.9N/mm2 whereas the expected concrete strength was 25N/mm2 after 28 days from casting. Specifications for good mix of concrete were not followed.

5.3    Steel Tests
Reinforcement bars were of good quality. However, the spacing and amount of reinforcement was not properly provided and the bond with concrete was very weak.

5.4    Building Stone Tests
Masonry stones failed to meet the specifications for multi-storey buildings. They were too thin and of low compressive strength. The expected strength of stones for one to five storey Load bearing structures are 7.0N/mm2 whereas the tests showed the stones used in the collapsed buildings did not exceed 4.2N/mm2 strength.

5.5 Analysis results

From the observations and the tests carried out, the following were identified as the causes of failure;
5.5.1    The quality of concrete was very poor and there were no proper foundations in some cases showing that the builders did not follow any specifications as required in the construction industry.

5.5.2    The building stones used were substandard and should not have been used to construct buildings of such magnitude.

5.5.3    Services of qualified technical personnel in construction industry who could have detected early warning were not sought as per the requirement.

5.5.4    The buildings collapsed due to use of poor materials, inadequate designs, poor workmanship employed and lack of /no adherence to specifications.

6.0 RECOMMENDATIONS

6.1    Immediate Action
6.1.1   Evacuation of residents in buildings which have shown structural failures and are classified as dangerous even before structural tests are performed.

6.1.2    Conduct comprehensive structural tests on all buildings classified as unsafe.
6.1.3    Fixing of broken sewers lines and water mains.
6.1.4    All buildings should be connected to sewer lines.
6.1.5    Removal of all structures encroaching on the road reserves and drainage way leaves.
6.1.6    Unblocking of storm water drainage.
6.1.7    Installation of high mast flood lights
6.2       Short Term/Medium
6.2.1    Reinforcing of the buildings that have structural deficiency.
6.2.2    Cutting of the houses to provide lighting
6.2.3    Regularization of building plans meeting safety standards.
6.2.4    Resurveying of the settlement scheme at current situation.
6.2.5    The titling process should be linked up with the regularization process so as to issue leases to those who comply.
6.2.6    Planning and regularization policies to support approval and or regularization of unauthorized structures. 

6.3    Long Term
The settlements were initially planned with a long term lease period of 34 years starting from around 1975. The Huruma area has already started experiencing urban decay and deterioration. Although most allottees have never been issued with titles the planning period seems to have expired. The following long term solutions need to be examined alongside world best practices;

6.3.1    Total replanning of the area and urban redevelopment.
6.3.2    Acquiring land for replanning.
6.3.3    Enact a legislation to support urban regeneration programmes.
6.3.4    Institutional establishment for the audit exercise be formalized and deprecated in other parts of the Country. The Counties to form Planning and Construction Authorities.
 
Some of the inspected buildings.Kenyans workers ignorant of OSHA rules.

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