The National Building Inspectorate (NBI), in March of this year began a series of demolitions measures to reduce the instances of building collapses in the country, especially in Nairobi, following repeated incidences of building collapses in the country. Data on collapsed buildings in the country since 1990 has revealed that Nairobi, Nyeri and Kitui had the highest frequency of collapsed buildings of all the towns in the country.
A recent report by NCA shows that demolitions had been conducted by the National Building Inspectorate in areas like Imara Daima, Zimmerman and Sinai prior to the period of heavy rainfall which saw the exercise halted.
In addition, the report shows that the demolition targeted illegal structures set up under high voltage power lines, next to the pipeline and along railway lines. Those affected have been provided alternative housing by the Kenya Railways Corporation through a project funded by the World Bank.
Over 5,000 structures had been brought down since the formation of the NBI in 2017. Last year, NBI demolished 34 buildings with others earmarked for demolition this year. Already Nairobi has seen a number of collapsed buildings this year, prior to the Inspectorates intervention, resulting in loss of lives under the rubble.
The National Building Inspectorate conducted an audit involving over 6108 buildings across the country which found that 654 buildings needed immediate testing while 2028 were unsafe for habitation. According to the audit, over half of the 2260 buildings evaluated in Nairobi’s estates were in utmost need of inspection.
The audit was conducted in areas such as Huruma, Pipeline, Umoja/Kariobangi, Thika Road, Dagoretti, Babadogo, South B, Nairobi West, Ruiru, Mathare, KahawaWest, Kiambu, Kitui, Kisii, Malindi, Mombasa, Mazeras and Kilifi. Buildings under power lines, temporary structures on Railway reserves, Pipeline reserves and KPLC Reserves were also included.
Notable areas where demolitions have taken place or are scheduled include Zimmerman, Huruma, Mathare, Umoja and Kariobangi.
The Inspectorate body noted that major reasons for problematic buildings include construction using weak materials, inadequate compacting and design flaws. Also, many buildings lacked essential facilities such as fire escape routes, sewerage and ventilation. Basically, such buildings are ticking time bombs.