Kenyan Engineering Firm Marks 30 Years

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Gathara & Partners has eyes set on the larger Eastern Africa region

This year, Gathara & Partners, a firm of consulting Civil and Structural Engineers, is marking thirty years since inception.

Established in 1984, Gathara & Partners has over the last three decades provided a full range of Civil, Structural, Environmental and Geotechnical engineering consulting services from their two offices in Nairobi, Kenya. The firm has three partners. The founder of the firm, Eng James Gathara is the Principal Engineer and Managing Partner. Eng Gathara holds a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters degree in Structural Engineering.

He is a Registered Professional Engineer, a Registered Consulting Engineer and a corporate member of the Institute of Engineers of Kenya (IEK). The other partners are Eur Ing. Sheila W. Mwarangu and Michael M. Muriuki. Eur Ing. Mwarangu holds Bachelor of Engineering and Masters degrees in Structural Engineering from Imperial College, London.

She is a chartered Engineer and a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Institution of Structural Engineers as well as the European Association of Civil Engineers. She is currently studying for Executive MBA on a part-time basis. Eng. M.M. Muriuki holds Bachelor of Engineering and Masters Degrees in Civil Engineering.

The three partners and three associates make up the professional team of three structural and three civil engineers. This team is assisted by a technical team of five technicians and five support staff.

Tropical Towers Apartments
Tropical Towers Apartments designed by Gathara & Partners Civil Engineering and Consultants

Mission Statement

At Gathara and Partners, the client is put at the center of every project. Hence the firm’s mission is: To ensure that we understand the client’s objective and requirements and to ensure that we achieve those objectives by providing the client with consulting services of the highest standards that result in projects which are safe and serviceable, durable, economical in construction and maintenance and are completed in time.

Vision Statement

The firm aspires to be the first preferred choice for Civil and Structural Engineering services in Kenya and East African region at large.

Services Offered

Gathara & Partners offer technical project appraisals, feasibility studies, geotechnical investigations, design of civil engineering projects (roads, airport runways, water and sewerage works), design of structural engineering projects on reinforced and prestressed concrete structural steel, timber and other materials. Other services include supervision of construction, contract administration, maintenance strategies and programmes, structural audit, research and investigations.

Gathara and Partners undertake varied projects which include but not limited to residential, commercial, industrial, and religious buildings, access roads, aircraft aprons, dams, fresh and foul waste, reticulations for estates, geotechnical investigations as well as structural audits. The firm has rendered quality professional services to the government, corporate organizations, public and private companies, religious bodies as well as individuals.

Although the firm has offices only in Nairobi, it has done several projects in Kampala and Jinja in Uganda as well as in Tanzania. In keeping with its vison, the firm has intentions of operating in the East African region. In the near future the firm will explore possibilities of practicing in countries like Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Pavilion at Embu Show Ground
Pavilion at Embu Show Ground

Projects Accomplished

The engineering firm has overseen numerous projects since inception. A few of these are enumerated below.

Buildings – Civil/Structural Engineers


·         Head office for National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation on Dunga Road, Nairobi.

·         Hydroplaza at Kindaruma for Kengen.

·         Diana Centre, Nyeri.

·         Extensions for All African Conference of Churches, Nairobi.

·         Offices and Warehouses at Moi International Airport, Mombasa


·         Stores and Archives for Barclays Bank, Nairobi.

·         Laboratories and Offices for Regional Centre for Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing at Kasarani, Nairobi.

·         Cylet Plaza

·         Paressia Hotel, Nyeri,

·         Madhvani Exhibition Pavilion, Kampala, Uganda.


·         Institute of Philosophy, Langata, Nairobi for Consolata Missionary.

·         Extensions of FADD building, University of Nairobi

·         Global Institute of Management, Karen Nairobi.


·         Junction Heights, Riara Road Nairobi

·         Tropical Towers, Wood Avenue, Nairobi

·         Andrews Apartments, Westalands, Nairobi.

·         Wood Avenue Apartments, Wood Avenue, Nairobi.

·         Lavington Solo Villas, Lavington Nairobi.

·         Sunrise Estate, Doonholm, Nairobi

·         Manga Gardens, Kitisuru, Nairobi

Civil Works – Roads and Allied Work:

·         Aircraft aprons, access road and parking at Moi International Airport, Mombasa.

·         Estate roads and parkings at various housing estates e.g. Sunrise, Manga Gardens and Lavington Solo Villas in Nairobi.

·         Rehabilitation of gravel roads at Tsavo East National Parkfor Kenya Wildlife Service.

·         Gravel roads at Kakira Sugar works, Jinja, Uganda.

Water Works:

·         Koisaget Dam, Nandi Hills.

·         Trunk Sewer for Jokemo Enterprises, Embakasi, Nairobi.

·         Fresh and foul water reticulations at various housing estates.

 Geotechnical Investigations

·         300km long 400KV power transmission line from Isinya Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania.

·         500km long 400KV power transmission line from Iringa to Mbeya, Tanzania.

Outlook for the Future and Industry Concerns

Managing Partner Eng. Gathara foresees expansion of the firm on various fronts in the next ten years. He expects the scope of services to include more civil work e.g. rural and urban roads, airports and airstrips, dams and irrigation, water and sewerage networks as well as planning. He also anticipates the client base to encompass mainly national and county governments. Eng. Gathara further projects that over that period, human resources at the firm will include more specialist engineers to undertake the expanded scope of services. There will also be an enhancement of physical resources in terms of larger working spaces to accommodate increased be staff and equipment. The engineer also expects areas of operation to include other countries in the region and beyond.


On legislation to guide the industry in Kenya, Eng. Gathara feels that the absence of effective control of the building industry has had adverse effects e.g. collapse of buildings as well as early failure and deterioration of infrastructure services. These have led to heavy financial losses. He says there is an urgent need to institute strict legislations to regulate the industry effectively.

On the business climate in the country, Eng. Gathara stresses that political stability is necessary for a conducive business climate. “Regional integration and limitation of foreigners to only areas which lack local capability would further enhance business climate”, he adds.

He reckons that simplified registration procedures by the government are necessary to enhance the capacity building of professionals and contractors. He adds: “Tendering methods should be reformulated to ensure that all qualified stakeholders benefit from government contracts.” He says the government should also stipulate a legal requirement that all foreign firms must incorporate local stakeholders.

On professionalism, Eng. Gathara says all stakeholders of the construction industry should exercise maximum professionalism and diligence in the course of their duties in order to achieve the objectives of safety, serviceability, durability and economy of the projects that they undertake. On their part, enforcing agencies should set up mechanisms to ensure that all parties concerned are professionally qualified and that they uphold professional ethics at the time of registration and beyond through continuous appraisal.