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The absence of a comprehensive construction standards especially in the informal sector continues to inhibit industry growth. This has led to use of inappropriate construction material, poor quality of construction works associated with poor workmanship, use of substandard materials, inadequate enforcement of standards and regulations and poor practises with regard to safety and health.
As a key player, in the delivery of Affordable Housing Programme, a major pillar in the Big 4 Agenda, the National Construction Authority (NCA)noted the critical need to have the informal sectors partner with the government in the implementation of the said programme. This need arose from the fact that Kenya is still a net importer of construction materials and construction associated services.
In view of the above, a multi-disciplinary Committee drawn from NCA, State Department of Housing, State Department of Public Works, University of Nairobi (UON), Kenya Building Research Centre (KBRC), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) held a workshop during the first week of Decemner 2018 in order to identify possible areas of engagement with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s), and develop standards aimed at streamlining operations among them for quality control. This followed a comprehensive survey carried out by NCA’S research arm in three (3) Jua Kali zones within Nairobi, that is: Ngong Road, Kamkunji and Kariobangi Light Industries.
The Committee is expected to among others, identify the key construction materials that could be sourced from the informal sector and prepare a database for the same and prepare standards/guidelines for these outputs with a view to having firms or Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) in the informal markets participate in the delivery of affordable housing.
The final product will see standards prepared through a consultative and participatory process bringing together various professionals and stakeholders in the industry. It is hoped that adaption and adoption of these standards will address industry challenges leading to improved performance of the industry, and more involvement of MSME’s/Jua Kali enterprises in the delivery of the affordable housing