The State Department of Housing is backing a move to have all municipalities across the country enlist the services of professional architects seconded from the Architectural Association of Kenya in their development boards.
Housing PS Charles Hinga said the professionals will boost the government’s efforts to have controlled developments in urban areas and also help in clearing the backlog for building plan approvals.
The PS blamed the delays in approving building plans for the high cost of housing as the cost of delay is eventually passed by developers to buyers and tenants. The number of unapproved building plans in Nairobi alone stood at 300 as of December 2019.
Delays in building plan approvals are estimated to cost the country cost the city and the country billions of shillings in lost investments.
He said the government is in the final stages of putting in place requirements for the 59 municipalities in the country to have a registered architect in their development boards to help with technical advice on planning and approvals.
Last year, the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) predicted that 2020 is likely to be a bad year for the construction industry in Nairobi following the freeze in building approvals. AAK president Mugure Njendu said that it is likely investors seek alternatives in other areas.
“The first six months showed good recovery since the building approvals committee met fortnightly but only two sittings to review projects have taken place since then. Why are we stopping investments? Give us (architects) business, jobs for Kenyans and a market for suppliers,” said Ms Njendu.