The National Construction Authority has faulted the lack of synergy between the various agencies overseeing the construction sector. Speaking in an NTV interview recently, NCA Executive Director Dr. Daniel Manduku said that “a construction failure is bound to happen if any of the five agencies does not do its work.”
“Each major player in the construction industry is regulated by different laws. The National Construction Authority Act is just one of the laws, because we don’t regulate the conduct of professionals such as architects and engineers, we don’t approve drawings as that is the purview of the Physical Planning Act domiciled with the counties, we don’t give environmental licenses as that falls under NEMA (National Environmental Management Agency) and we don’t control clients or developers. The law needs to be more compelling in order to ensure the developer uses construction professionals.”
According to NCA, stakeholders in the industry have argued some of the issues stem from the number of multiple players involved, such as the registration bodies of consultants, county governments, the National Building Inspectorate and the National Construction Authority.
Dr. Manduku also cited corruption saying, “Corruption is certainly a possibility as the industry is a chain, and a chain is as strong as its weakest link. ”Collapsed structures can also be attributed to lack of enforcement. NCA relies on county governments and the Kenya Police in order to enforce closure notices of buildings that have been found non-compliant with the quality assurance checklist.
The collapses, the most fatal of which claimed 52 lives in Huruma estate in April 2016, led to a presidential directive whose result was the creation of the National Building Inspectorate mandated to bring synergy in the industry.
One of the more effective solutions according to Dr. Manduku is “…to adopt best practice: let all the approvals be done under one umbrella.”
He added that, “Regardless of the many laws, we are still one country and we still all have the same end goal. Clients do not need to visit multiple agencies in order to seek approval, and this is what NCA has been advocating for. However, we must amend some of the laws in order to accommodate that.”
NCA has successfully evacuated several buildings found to be potential disasters, most recently in Kasarani. Despite the few structures that have collapsed over the years, compliance has increased since the Authority was enacted five years ago. Enforcement powers are some of the key issues being looked at in the revision of the NCA Act.