Kenyan surveyors have blamed county governments for failure to knock down buildings earmarked for demolition until they collapsed.
The surveyors also pointed fingers at the National Construction Authority (NCA), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), building environment professionals and property developers for substandard buildings that have been collapsing with time.
Speaking at their offices in Nairobi, the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) led by their Chairman Stephen Ambani said that the state organs had failed in their mandate to ensure that buildings constructed in the country were up to standard.
Ambani said that county governments were primarily responsible for ensuring that buildings complied with standards, adding that no action was taken after condemned houses were earmarked for demolition.
“The collapse of buildings highlights the systematic failure of the authorities to rein in the malpractices in the sector,” he said.
He called upon the government to ensure that relevant qualified professionals were involved in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the buildings and that they were held liable in case of negligence.
Ambani said that unqualified contractors continued to construct sub-standard and dangerous buildings under the watch of NCA, adding that random supervision by Authority officials served to create room for corruption.
He further called upon NEMA to fulfill its mandate of safeguarding riparian zones from encroachment, noting that several buildings had been constructed on riparian areas.
The ISK Chairman urged the Lands Ministry to be firm in implementing the recent move to revoke land ownership documents of lands on riparian reserves.
He said that individuals involved in approval and supervision of collapsed buildings should be held criminally and professionally responsible if found culpable.
Ambani further called for speedy demolition of all buildings marked unsafe throughout the country to avert more deaths, injury and loss of property.
The surveyors also called upon the government to enact the Built Environment Bill to strengthen and harmonise, as well as simplify the regulatory framework in the sector.
“The new laws and regulations shall establish national standards and practices in the sector relating to design, construction and maintenance of buildings and associated works,” he said.
He urged members of the public to avoid unsafe buildings and report such structures to authorities.
The ISK briefing comes after the recent collapse of a residential building in Huruma that claimed over 40 lives.