New Home for Kenya Civil Aviation Authority

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[pull_quote_center]The state of aviation in any country is as good as its regulating authority. Without proper oversight, aviation can pose socio-economic problems, security and safety challenges to the country. In Kenya, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is the body charged with watching over all civil aviation activities. As part of its overall strategy to provide superior services to stakeholders, the organization will soon move into new spacious premises.[/pull_quote_center]


KCAA was established on 24th October 2002 by the Civil Aviation (Amendment) Act, 2002 with the primary functions of: Regulation and oversight of Aviation Safety & Security, Economic regulation of Air Services and development of Civil Aviation, Provision of Air Navigation Services and Training of Aviation personnel KCAA.

KCAA was formed to lead in planning, development, management, regulation and operation of a safe, economical and efficient civil aviation system in Kenya. In its operations, KCAA is guided by the provisions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, related ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), the Kenya Civil Aviation Act, 2013 and the civil aviation regulations.

How KCAA executes its mandate

By ensuring safe and effective air travel in the country, KCAA has allowed a vibrant aviation industry to take root. To begin with, KCAA ensures that all persons or firms who run airlines are competent and have the resources necessary to run the airline safely and efficiently. KCAA also ensures that all aviation personnel are well trained, duly licensed and that all aviation personnel are constantly upgrading their skills to ensure that they undertake their duties competently thus ensuring safety.
KCAA also ensures that all aircraft operating in Kenya’s airspace are airworthy.

This is done by inspecting and constantly monitoring the usage and maintenance of the aircraft. To top off all the above KCAA develops regulations and guidance materials on various aviation areas.

Strategic goals in line with Vision 2030 Economic Blueprint for Kenya

KCAA is playing its part towards the achievement of Vision 2030 by ensuring the sustainable growth of aviation in Kenya.

Accordingly, the Authority has undertaken several projects.

These include:

Achieving International Safety and Security Compliance

Ensuring that air operations achieve international safety and security requirements is the main objective of the Authority. Regular audits by international organizations such as International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) evaluate the level of implementation of Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in international air navigation. Satisfactory implementation of SARPs is critical in attracting air traffic into Kenya’s airspace and having Kenya registered airlines operate into the airspaces of other countries.

Modernization of Air traffic Management Systems

This entails installation of modern Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) equipment to facilitate the safe and efficient air traffic flow in the Kenyan airspace.

Re-organization of the Airspace

The objective of this project is to improve the capacity to handle safely more aircraft within the Kenyan airspace. The project entails increase of the approach sectors from one to two and their management to achieve optimum traffic flow and improved safety.

Construction of KCAA Head Office

KCAA has recently commenced the construction of its proposed Head Office complex which is to cost Ksh. 800 million (US$ 9.3m). The complex will enable KCAA to provide a one-stop-shop for all its services thus increasing customer value and satisfaction. The project funded by the World Bank will be complete by November 2015.

The Proposed Head Office

When Mutiso Menezes International Architects (MMIA) was selected to design the new premises, the brief from KCAA was simple the aviation regulator wanted a sufficiently sized and equipped building that would serve the practical purpose of housing its operation headquarters while at the same time creating an iconic building that would help the organization rebrand itself. MMIA developed the brief through direct interviews with the end users/stakeholders of the project.

The project kicked off in March this year with Landmark Holdings Limited as the main contractor. The site is located on Mombasa Road close to the interchange of Mombasa Road and Airport Road South which leads to the main gate of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The new building will be a 5-storey structure consisting of twin buildings. Each of the twin buildings comprises about 3500 sq m of office space – most of it open office space with some offices around the perimeter. The entire complex measures 12,240 sq m.

Design Concept: Exterior

As mentioned, the new KCAA Headquarters Complex consists of twin buildings, a common middle building and several accessory buildings.

Stylistically, the building employs sweeping curves and metallic finishes implying the fluidity of flight by man-made machines. Airport traffic is greeted by an extroverted building complex that serves as one of the gateway icons for Nairobi.

The twin buildings celebrate flight and man’s conquest over gravity by adapting the approximate radii of the curves found on an airplane’s wing – which is so shaped for aero-dynamism. This shape translates to dramatic arcs in the building without compromising the effectiveness of spaces within the building.

The framing of the stairs in aluminium panel in KCAA’s orange is an abstraction of the aircraft engines.
KCAA logo colours are used strategically on the building as a branding element for the organisation.

The bridge that links the top most floors adds to the idea of levitation while serving the practical purpose of eliminating the needless expenditure of power for lifts in order to get across to the next building. The cascading front of the building opens up the sky to the viewer and frames the bridge that vaults across the two upper most floors of the twin buildings.

The significance of being located at a high profile site at the intersection of Airport South Rd. and Mombasa Rd. presented KCAA with an opportunity to develop a building that would help brand the organization’s high standards in assuring flight safety in the country.

The middle part of the complex is roofed with a hangar-like structure that rises to meet the visitor and tapers down towards the auditorium and then rises again dramatically to reveal a panoramic view of the approaching aircraft and passing vehicles on Mombasa Rd.

Design Concept: Interior

The main entrance to the building opens out to an indoor lobby that is punctuated by a 250 seat multimedia auditorium – it is the primary organizing element on the ground floor.

The lobby will also serve as a break-out for the auditorium and has four emergency exits to ensure efficient egress. Walking around the auditorium brings one to either the gym and banking hall or the licensing office and cafeteria.

The gym and cafeteria, and their mezzanines are next to the curved façade that faces Mombasa Rd. There will be a slab above the changing rooms (gym), banking hall and cashiers on one side and on the other there will be a slab above the kitchen and maintenance office. These spaces are to be used as additional gym equipment and cafeteria seating areas.

Public areas comprise the Banking Hall for licensing and air traffic related payments and an area for the public applicants/licensees waiting to be served that will accommodate up to 20 people at a time. The same ‘transparency’ theme is used in the common areas of the ground floor except the auditorium, maintenance office and bathrooms for practical reasons.

The top level comprises of executive offices and the 50 person multi-media conference rooms which are afforded excellent views of the surroundings.

Green considerations

Water drained from the roof will be directed to edge gutters around the perimeter and piped down to the water harvesting tank adjacent to the building.

The building will rely on convectional airflow, cross ventilation and sun shading devices to achieve thermal comfort within.

There is an atrium in the middle of each twin building that will allow warm air to rise as it accumulates during the day. This warm air will be vented out at the top of the atrium. However, the rate of temperature increase in the offices will be mitigated by specifically designed sun shading devices that will prevent direct heat gain.

The spaces will also have natural ventilation with only large assembly areas like the auditorium and boardrooms using air conditioning.

All common areas are lit with the use of solar panels located on the roof and natural light will be admitted abundantly through the 2400mm high sliding windows allowing for electricity savings.
According to MMI, the project will be complete by June 2015 all factors remaining constant.


Client: Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA)
Architects: Mutiso Menezes International
Quantity Surveyors: Bills Partnership
Civil/Structural Engineers: Wanjohi Consulting Engineers
Electrical/Mechanical Engineers: Gedox Associates
Main Contractor: Landmark Holdings