The Buildings Inspectorate in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has marked more than 400 buildings in Nairobi unsafe for human occupation.
A breakdown of a building audit conducted by the Inspectorate shows that, more than half of the 2,260 buildings evaluated in selected estates in Nairobi between January and February, are in “very urgent” need of inspection.
Only 884 structures are considered safe for stay compared to 471 houses that have been deemed unfit for habitation and warrant critical inspection.
A staggering 217 buildings need to be attended to “immediately” and have been marked very dangerous for tenancy, while astounding 688 structures need to be “urgently” investigated.
Moses Nyakiongora, secretary to the Inspectorate, told People Daily that the buildings have weak concrete, while bulk of the structures are standing on unstable forms, have inadequate compacting, flawed design as well low-strength to sustain their longevity — and are in danger of collapse if not attended to.
“Most of these buildings have weak concrete finishing and lack essential facilities such as fire escape, poor sewerage disposal, no ventilators, narrow stair-cases and poor lighting, among others,” said Nyakiongora.
The audit suggests that residents of Eastlands, Thika Road, Baba Dogo and Dagoretti are staring at death as most buildings around those localities have unstable buildings and risk collapsing.
Approximately 243 buildings in Huruma and Umoja alone need very urgent inspection with 85 structures classified “immediately”.
Property owners are taking advantage of the prevailing housing shortage to expose Kenyans to imminent dangers by putting up substandard structures, according to the Inspectorate.
“Some greedy developers are using short-cuts to construct buildings in a rush to make quick returns without following due diligence. Others put up several floors against the recommended floors,” said Nyakiongora, adding that the directorate will in the coming months roll out another comprehensive building audit on all buildings across the country starting with Mombasa and Kisumu.
Cases of collapsing buildings have been on the rise in recent years. Statistics indicate that close to 100 people have been killed in buildings debris, and more than 290 injured since 2006.
Going forward the Inspectorate is hopeful a draft policy it has developed currently at the Attorney General’s office will help solve some of the grave issues affecting the sector.
The draft policy will, among other key issues, seek to impose a clean bill of health certificate to all property owners before they rent out the premises.
The bill is expected to be ready by June.
Article by by Steve Umidha @steveumidha – People Daily pg. 18 22/3/2016