Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) is proposing a one-stop centre for the approval process that brings together all the approving authorities. A harmonized system of calculating the fees and use of technology as recommended by AAK will hasten the process and raise the credibility.
According to the association, reducing the number of steps to 15 like Rwanda or 9 like UK has been suggested and should be standardized across all the counties in Kenya. It is expected that the implementation of the AAK proposals will not only ease the approval process, but it will also seal some of the loopholes that quacks and paraprofessionals have ridden on in the past.
This process will involve legislation and policy making where the government and other stakeholders will need to actively collaborate with the professional bodies.
Construction and planning regulations are an inseparable part of the built industry. Issues of zoning, environmental and health considerations have become central within the development process.
The regulations are done by the national and county governments, setting minimum requirements for particular development types. A survey commissioned by AAK reveals that most counties in Kenya lack standardized development control policies.
A report of the survey which was presented on 5th February 2019 at the Fairview Hotel Nairobi covered 10 counties; Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Kiambu, Mombasa, Kajiado and Machakos.
Six of the 10 counties lack zoning regulations with only Nairobi, Kajiado, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu having the zoning regulations. The approval process in various counties demand different steps.
Nairobi requires 7 steps for building approvals, while Kisumu, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu require 6 steps. Building approvals in Nakuru County takes up to 90 days as Nyeri takes up to 14 days maximum.
A global comparison shows that Kenya takes averagely 159 days for its 16 step approval procedure, Rwanda takes 113 days for its 15 step procedure while United Kingdom takes 86 days for its 9 step procedure.
The approval fees for building in Mombasa and Nairobi Counties is charged as a percentage of the project cost, ranging from 0.1 % to 2%, while some counties charge particular rates per square metre of the development.