Recently,there has been several occasions of buildings collapsing in Kenya. A building has just collapsed in Roysambu today 2nd April 2015.
There are several reasons to this.
1. Government, represented by the County Government Planning departments, is not doing enough to enforce developers to use qualified consultants to design and supervise buildings. With rampant corruption, developers and Government liaise together and bend the rules whereby Government looks the other way as the developer uses unqualified designers to design and supervise the building. The County Government has the role of ensuring the developer has used qualified architects and engineers for the design and supervision of the building.
2. Government, through Kenya Bureau of Standards, is not doing enough to prevent substandard building materials to get into the market. The steel quality and sizes available in the market is substandard. Same to cement and electrical wiring products. When developers use these, the building will have failure. Usually, when the developer hires qualified design and supervision architects and engineers, they will inform him of the substandard materials. Unfortunately, most developers do not hire these hence they have no chance to know if the materials they are using are substandard.
Solution lies in Government reigning in on corruption and ensuring that County Government planning departments and Kenya Bureau of Standards do their job as fully described in the bye laws. Human nature is such that the developers will always look for the short cuts so unless Government stands in the way firmly and forces developers to use the right way, these problems will still occur.
Individual architects and engineers can only prevent buildings failing when they are hired by the developer and get to supervise the construction. In Kenya, there are developers who side step these professionals and hence creating buildings which are risky to their inhabitants. Architect and Engineer fees are on average 10% of the construction costs, which is not high and which is also the international standard worldwide so the fees are not high.
Architect Francis Gichuhi Kamau. B.Arch.U.o.N. M.A.A.K[A]