Varsani Associates offering insights as they mark 35 years in service

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As Kenyan engineering firm Varsani Associates marks an impressive 35 years of service to the construction industry, CR sought the views of the man behind the practice, Eng. Ratna Varsani.
Kenya’s building and construction industry is faced with the unavoidable pressure to produce and implement projects that are sustainable. In fact, the concept of green buildings has now become a trend which professionals in the country must also embrace to be in tandem with global practices.
One area in which the industry is being forced to adopt sustainability is in designing of energy efficient buildings. Buildings are huge users of energy, making the construction industry a leading consumer of energy. In Kenya where the total installed capacity stands at about 2,000 MW and connectivity is at a mere 24 per cent, the need to conserve energy is paramount. Though architects in the country are slowly embracing the concept of green designs, the rate at which Kenya is developing energy saving buildings remains relatively low.
“In Kenya very few consultants are producing drawings and specifications incorporating energy saving devices and introducing minimum carbon foot print to protect our environment,” says Engineer Ratna M. Varsani, proprietor of Varsani Associates, an independent professional consultancy firm offering specialised building services. As a firm that has been deeply involved in the construction industry over the past 35 years, Varsani Associates believes the future of the industry is in sustainable projects. “The government should provide incentives to encourage developers to adopt energy saving designs,” states Ratna.
Varsani Associates was established in 1980 by Eng. Ratna M. Varsani who holds a B.E.Mech from the University of Bombay, India. Eng. Ratna is a member of various professional bodies including the Institution of Engineers of Kenya, Engineers Board of Kenya, the Architectural Association of Kenya and the Association of Consulting Engineers of Kenya.

Enviable Reputation
Since its establishment, Varsani Associates has been a key player in the country’s building and construction industry. Over the years, the firm has acquired an enviable reputation for its professional integrity and provision of economic, energy efficient, environmentally friendly and practical services. “Our policy of committed service excellence is endorsed by each project getting the proprietor’s personal attention right from design through development to the final completion and hand over to ensure that the end result is of high quality and complies with the required engineering standards,” states the firm in its profile.
Being a firm that offers engineering services, Varsani Associates is always involved in projects from their design stage to completion. This it does by offering services like preparing the concept design relevant to the project, preparing a financial estimate, preparing detailed design, production drawings and schedule of associated equipment as well as supervision and administration of the contract for quality control during the construction stage.
To ensure that it offers clients unrivalled services, the firm has adopted technology by utilising the latest computer software and hardware capable of producing high quality design. The fact that Varsani Associates is one of the most preferred consultancy firms in the country is evident from the projects the firm has undertaken. Over the years, the firm has been involved in over 200 projects offering engineering services to hotels, hospitals, institutions, public buildings, high-rise residential and office blocks and industrial projects.
Recent projects
Some of the projects that Varsani Associates has undertaken in the recent past include the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport; Lazizi Premiere Hotel; Crowne Plaza Hotel Annex; Arboretum Suites/Hotel; United States International University Africa (USIU) New Science & Technology Block and New Students Centre. The firm was also involved in the Biosafety Level 3 Research Laboratory and Office Block at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri).
Despite being involved in many projects, the one that stands out and makes Varsani Associates proud was biosafety laboratories for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). According to Eng. Ratna, Biosafety Level 3 laboratories are very few in Kenya. To undertake such a project, the firm had to study biosafety guidelines from developed countries like Canada and USA. “This project was a challenge to implement as the structure was existing but we managed satisfactory completion and the labs were certified by scientists from Canada,” he explains.
International presence
While majority of Varsani Associates’ projects are concentrated in Kenya, the firm has also offered services elsewhere in East Africa and beyond in countries like Seychelles, South Sudan and Malawi. Notably, the firm operates in a very competitive industry but has managed to beat competition by offering quality services. Indeed the firm is trusted by clients because of its attention to detail to ensure that clients get value for money. “We specify all associated equipment in the tender documents to enable tenderers to quote appropriate prices,” states Eng. Ratna. He adds the firm ensures that projects are completed within the budget and stipulated time period with minimum variations.
According to the seasoned engineer, the building and construction industry in Kenya is witnessing a prolonged boom which is expected to be sustained in the coming years owing to the many ongoing projects. In effect, Varsani Associates expects to benefit immensely from the boom. In particular, the firm hopes to continue improving its strong relations with clients and other consultants in the industry to develop better and more efficient green buildings in the country.