NCA Executive Director Eng. Maurice Akech on 29th April, 2021 led Authority officials and others from concerned agencies in a series of meetings with officials from Vihiga County that culminated in the commencement of investigations into the collapse of a gate at Mbale Referral Hospital morgue which was under construction.
Preliminary investigations into the collapse which resulted in the death of one person and left several others injured indicated that despite NCA suspending the site due to non-compliance on 6th May, 2019, McFinely Healthcare Limited -the contractor awarded the project- resumed works on 24th February 2021 without seeking requisite approvals.
While addressing members of the fourth estate NCA Executive Director Eng. Maurice Akech said that given the development was a public project, the investigating team would ensure it addresses all areas of concern to get to the root cause of the collapse and come up with sound recommendations that will see the project completed for the realization of its intended purpose.
On his part, Vihiga County Governor Wilber Otichilo expressed confidence in the investigating team. “We have agreed that these technical institutions led by NCA should carry out a technical assessment of what happened and give solutions and recommendations on how to move forward.”
The delegation later visited the scene of the collapse and carried out preliminary assessments.
NCA independently and or at the request of institutions, conducts investigations into building failures of varying degrees. A recent case in point being the NCA Board inquiry into the collapse of a four-storey residential building in Ngoingwa Estate, Thika. The investigation was conducted at the request of Kiambu County Government and upon conclusion, its findings were presented to County officials by a team led by Qs. David Gaitho-NCA Board Chairman on 19th March, 2021.
Kwale County Woman Representative Hon. Zulekha Hassan on 16th February 2020 officially launched the National Construction Authority’s Mothers Room at its Upper Hill Headquarters, in a ceremony that celebrated one of the first such facilities in a government institution.
The ceremony was attended by members of NCA’s top management, as well as Women in Real Estate President Robyn Emmerson and Vice President Emma Miloyo, State Department for Gender (Nairobi) representative Pamela Karimi and Nairobi City County Gender Affairs representative Mercy Murugi.
NCA General Manager, Corporate Affairs Mr. James Kilonzi highlighted the Authority’s commitment to stakeholder relationships, which were critical to the success of Authority operations. WIRE, upon learning of the Authority’s plans to create a Mothers Room at its offices, organized a competition for Architecture students, in order to expose the younger generation of designers. NCA sponsored the competition, and the winning team’s design was used to create the current space.
NCA Human Resource Manager Paul Kariuki noted that the Authority’s young population means that inevitably the workforce is composed of new parents, and the presence of a Mothers Room means higher productivity as the welfare of the breastfeeding mothers was taken into consideration.
The Authority ‘s Human Resource Policy on the welfare of employees, recognizes the importance of promoting employee well- being in the work place. It is therefore committed to providing services and benefits that not only motivate employees but also inspire to become more productive. The Mothers Room is also aligned to the The Breastfeeding Mothers Bill of 2019 and Health Act of 2017, which provide for the right of an infant to exclusively breastfeed for six months. It also places an obligation on the employer to provide breastfeeding working mothers with rooms to either breastfeed or express their milk. The Breastfeeding Bill further provides for the standards of such rooms.
Hon. Hassan lauded NCA for setting the pace, and called on the regulator to instill the same culture in work spaces which were currently being constructed or even those in existence.
“I have borne three children during my terms serving in Parliament, and I know firsthand what it means not to have such a facility,” she said. “. Breastfeeding is a basic human right and the foundation of human existence, yet it remains a global problem. Women are asked to choose between career and family, which should never be the case Breastfeeding is critical to the growth of a child’s organs, especially the brain. A Mothers’ Room ensures an increase in productivity for the mothers, as well as loyalty to the organization.”
She added, “My request to NCA is to promote the Mothers Room to a full crèche, where parents can leave their children and be able to attend to their duties in the workplace. Further, the Authority should play its part in ensuring all commercial properties have this facility.”
Arch. Miloyo added that with the ongoing stakeholder participation workshops for the Draft National Building Regulations (Building Code) 2020, it was an opportune time to include Mothers’ Rooms in the basic standards for all commercial workplaces.
The benefits of a Mothers Room and crèche in any organization includes reduction of the amount of leave requests made to attend doctor’s appointments for both mother and child, increased productivity and employee, reduction of maternity related absenteeism which can translate into 30-70% of all absences, increased retention of female workers and overall reduced employee turnover rates, eliminating the need to hire, train or retrain new staff.
One of the biggest hurdles many companies face is a lack of awareness of the needs of breastfeeding employees, and the basic steps that can be taken to support them.
NCA Registration and Compliance General Manager Qs. Susan Ruto reiterated that the Authority would continue to champion the construction of inclusive workspaces
The National Construction Authority has launched the public participation workshops for the Draft National Building Regulations 2020, also referred to as the Building Code.
The country wide workshops will provide stakeholders with an opportunity to interact with the Draft Regulations, and offer their views, opinions, suggestions and critiques.
The workshops will be held simulatenously in dual locations, starting with Mombasa and Kisumu on the 16th of February, Nyeri and Kakamega on the 18th of February.
Additional workshops in the month of February will take place at the Kenya School of Government in Embu on the 19th, North Eastern National Polytechnic in Garissa on the 22nd and Merica Hotel in Nakuru on the 25th.
The workshops will culminate in Nairobi on the 2nd of March at the Bomas of Kenya. In addition to these, the Authoruty will also hold stakeholder engagement sessions with the Council of Governors and professional associations. This will be followed by a stakeholder validation session, after which the Regulations will be taken back to Parliament…..
The Authroity has been at the forefront of agitating for a new Building Code, given that the current Code dates back to 1968, and is therefore inadequate, lacking effective and objective controls and enforcement mechanisms.
The need to review the 1968 building code arose out of the construction collapses that were witnessed in Kenya in the 1990s. In 1996, following the collapse of the SunBeam Building, a Commission led by Dr. R. G.M Mutiso examined the existing Building Laws, By-laws and Regulations and made recommendations with a view to prevent incidences similar to that collapse.
Since then, several attempts made to revise the Building Code have been piece-meal and have not met the desired results nor have they been fully embraced by various stakeholders
On 20th April 2009, the then Coalition Government launched a task force committee to review and harmonize laws and regulations governing the building and construction industry. The task force came up with the comprehensive and integrated Draft Building Regulations 2009. The regulations were never adopted nor implemented. In October 2019, the Cabinet gave direction to finalize and adopt the building code of Kenya. In this connection, the NCA Act No. 41 of 2011 was to be amended to anchor the Building Code and enforce it. This was done through The Business Laws (Amendment) Act on 20th March 2020. Unfortunately due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, public participation could not commence immediately.
The Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Works on 25th November 2019 appointed a Committee to guide the review and finalization of the draft building code. Further, the National Construction Authority was tasked to steer and coordinate the review process. Since the launch, the committee has held several workshops to review the various thematic areas and consulted key stakeholders including professional associations, Government agencies, the Council of Governors, the private sector, and other interested groups. This resulted in the endorsement of the draft Building Code 2020.
The office of the Attorney General reviewed the draft Code and has approved it for stakeholder engagement and public participation.
It is expected the operationalization of this draft Building Code 2020 in the built environment will achieve a more healthy, safe, convenient, and optimal use of resources, and is expected to lead to enhanced professionalism and the reduction of corruption, streamlined building approval, enhanced accountability and a reduction of construction claims due to clarity of roles of all parties.
Additionally, there will be enhanced collaboration and coordination among the actors. The shift from prescriptive material to a performance-based regime will enable creativity, new technologies, materials and will attract increased investors in the construction industry due to predictable framework, which will lead to industrialization of buildings.
The Draft Code also allows for revision every five years to adapt to changing micro and macro environments and provides for construction risk management in the built environment, and also applies to all human settlements in Kenya without segregation and discrimination.
All stakeholders are encouraged to read the Draft Code and submit any questions, clarifications, suggested revisions and additions. The Code can be downloaded HERE, while the full list of dates and venues for the participation workshops can be viewed HERE.
National Construction Authority on Tuesday, 26th January 2021 hosted a sector based stakeholder breakfast forum at the Boma Inn in Nairobi.
The event saw different agencies in the water sector across the country brought together to discuss pertinent issues affecting the sector, especially as pertaining to compliance with the Authority’s Act and Regulations.
The event was graced by the Principal Secretary State Department of Public Works, Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Dr. Gordon Kihalangwa, CBS, NCA Board Chairman Qs. David Gaitho, Vice Chairman Eng. Zipporah Rotich and Executive Director Eng. Maurice Akech.
The Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation was represented by the Director, National Water Resources, Mr. Chrispine Juma.
The agencies in attendance included the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, Water Resources Management Authority, Kenya Water Towers Agency, National Irrigation Authority, Kenya Water Institute, Athi Water Works Development Agency, North Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency, Lake Victoria North Water Works Development Agency, Lake Victoria South Water Works Development Agency, Coast Water Works Development Agency, Tana Water Works Development Agency and the National Water, Harvesting and Storage Authority.
Key on the agenda was sensitization on the Authority’s mandate, project registration and foreign contractor provisions in accordance to the NCA Act and Regulations 2014.
Also addressed was the need for inter-agency cooperation in order to achieve this mandate. The Authority called for cooperation in the engagement of accredited skilled construction workers, the award of projects to contractors according to the contractors’ value limits; and flouting of site safety provisions during implementation of construction projects.
In his address Eng. Akech said, “The cost of non-compliance is deadly, as has been witnessed during incidences such as the collapse of Solai dam in 2018, and other similar failures that have resulted in the loss of life and devastation to the surrounding community.”
“We must preserve the integrity of the built environment by discharging our mandate and responsibilities with the due seriousness they deserve,” he added.
On his part NCA Chairman Qs. David Gaitho stated that collaborative activities such as technical learning tours on water projects be implemented more, in order to build the capacity of contractors and construction workers. The Authority is currently undertaking a similar exercise at Mwache Dam in Kilifi County, after an invitation was extended by the Ministry of Water.
While delivering the key note address, the Principal Secretary Dr. Kihalangwa stated that he was pleased that the call made by NCA was heeded by all present and emphasized the vital need to build capacity in the industry and provide the necessary support to local contractors to ensure their growth.
“We need to make sure that there is adequate skills transfer to local contractors from all the major water projects so that eventually in years to come they can stand on their own and be the ones able to handle advanced undertakings comfortably,” he said. “We are the generation that must see to it that this vision comes to pass.”
This is the third such sector specific stakeholder engagement in the recent past, with NCA already having hosted the Roads and Energy sectors on 23rd November 2020 and 4th December 2020, respectively.
These forums are meant to augment similar ones conducted at the regional level. The Authority is planning to engage other sectors in the coming weeks.
The National Construction Authority’s Construction Research Dissemination Forum was officially opened on Tuesday, 19th January 2021 by the Public Works Principal Secretary Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Dr. Gordon Kihalangwa.
The forum, taking place across the entire week, is in duo-conference format, where guests are both physically attending and streaming it live from across the globe. The event is providing a platform to industry stakeholders to deliberate findings and recommendations of the various studies that the Authority has undertaken recently. These are: Research on Building Failures, A Study on the Involvement of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Construction Industry in Kenya, Appropriate Building Materials and Technologies: Promoting Models for Affordable Housing; and A Research study on “Construction Waste in Kenya: The need for Sustainable Waste Management Practices
In his key note address that was also broadcast live on KBC TV, Dr. Kihalangwa underscored the importance of research in the construction industry.
“Construction remains an anchor for the development of all other sectors, and therefore construction research is an integral part of strategic planning. Moreso, construction research, taking into account pertinent socio-economic realities, can be used to guide and inform public policy, which impacts the entire economy. Strong, effective polices are evidence-informed policies, and thus we cannot escape research,” he said.
Alos present at the event were NCA Board Chair Qs. David Gaitho, NCA Executive Director Eng. Maurice Akech, Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) President Arch. Mugure Njendu and Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK) President Qs. James Munene.
Qs. Gaitho spoke on the issues that had informed the research studies, gaps that had been identified and needed urgent address. “This is perhaps the first time in the country’s history that an all-encompassing study on building failures has been conducted. Even more importantly, the Authority is committed to not just disseminating the research findings but ensuring the very tenets of the study are enshrined in policy, to guarantee that we start effecting the necessary changes immediately.” He continued, “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) form a very critical sector that offers employment to majority of the unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled individuals. Despite this, the sector is still dogged by limited success of its enterprise. Thus, the aim of the study on MSMEs was the development of a working framework that will allow MSMEs in construction to flourish by exploring ways of enhancing their production environment, assessing the adequacy and appropriateness of the legal and institutional framework and finally formulating a model for the enhancement of MSMEs’ involvement in the construction industry in Kenya.”
Eng. Akech revealed the impact of the studies on how NCA articulates its mandate. “Notwithstanding the impact on the construction industry as well as the larger economy, these research findings also contribute to the optimization of Authority activities. For example, the Research on Building Failures provided critical information that informed the drafting of the National Building Regulations, also referred to as the Building Code. We are about to embark on the stakeholder validation stage and hope to finalize the same in the coming weeks. Also illuminating was the study on MSMEs, which revealed that their products are good, but not standard, and thus cannot be utilized for the mass market. That research allowed the Authority to develop the Jua Kali Production Manual for the Components of Affordable Housing Programme (AHP). This manual, which was presented to His Excellency the President, prescribes those standards which will allow MSME products to become conventional. To bring the point home, a door produced by a fundi in Ol Kalau can be bought by a developer building his marionette in Garissa.”
Attendees at the forum include stakeholders in academic fraternity, professional associations, research institutions and representatives from both the public and private sectors.
The forum is streaming live on the Authority’s Facebook and YouTube pages, both named National Construction Authority, with live tweeting on the NCA Twitter account, @NCAKenya. The forum will also be broadcast live on KBC TV on Thursday, 21st January 2021 from 9am to 12pm.
NCA Executive Director Eng. Maurice Akech on Wednesday 28th October, 2020 led a quality assurance exercise during which 4 people were arrested for failure to comply with section 23(3A) of NCA Act 2011.
The quality assurance operation which covered Kileleshwa, Lavington, Eastleigh, Hamza and South B areas, was occasioned by blatant disregard of compliance requirements and multiple suspension orders issued to the respective sites by NCA.
Of the inspected sites, three in particular ones had disregarded interventions made by officers from the Authority’s Nairobi Regional Office.
In Kileleshwa, Pulse Fitness Center, the developer of the proposed conversion of an existing house into a restaurant, shops and car wash on Othaya Road, ignored suspension notices issued by NCA for non-compliance. This also came after neighbours who opposed the proposal for change of premise from residential to commercial had lodged a petition at the Environment and Land Court in Nairobi (ELC PET No. 012 of 2020) and listed NCA, NEMA, NCCG and NMS as respondents.
In Lavington, Lotus homes, the developer of proposed 2 and 3 bedroom apartments on Makueni road, had defied previous suspension orders issued due to the absence of a contractor registered with NCA, the project itself not being registered and the skilled workers and site supervisors not being accredited.
In the third instance, Bilan apartments 2, the developer of a proposed residential building on Muratina Road in Eastleigh ignored suspension orders issued for carrying out deep excavations without requisite documentation and in a manner that endangered adjacent structures.
While addressing the press, Eng. Akech said that the quality assurance exercise was important to ensure the quality of projects and arresting rogueness in the construction industry. “We want to ensure that the safety of third party users such as passers-by, the safety of would be or eventual users, and the safety of the developer’s investment are all guaranteed”.
Also present during the operation which was coordinated by NCA Nairobi Regional Coordinator Eng. Bowen Kanda, were officials from the Multi-Sectorial Agency Consultative Committee on Unsafe Buildings (MSACC).
The arrested persons were booked at Jogoo Police Station and will be arraigned in court once the investigating officer completes their investigation. Any person found guilty of disregarding a suspension order is liable to a fine of one million shillings or a jail term not exceeding three years; or both.
National Construction Authority on 6th October, 2020 held an inaugural visit and pre-development meeting at the proposed site for the Centre for Construction Industry Development (CCID). The site visit was in conjunction with the State Department of Public Works and the State Department for Information Communication & Technology and took place at the Konza Technopolis.
The team was led by Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Dr. Gordon Kihalangwa, CBS, the Principal Secretary, State Department of Public Works, NCA Board Chair Qs. David Gaitho and Executive Director Eng. Maurice Akech and was received by Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) directors and CEO Eng. John Tanui.
In his keynote address to the delegation, PS Kihalangwa lauded the inception of the CCID, which he noted was critical for the advancement of the industry.
Qs. Gaitho highlighted the key objectives of the Center, key among them to establish a conducive environment to support inter-disciplinary basic and applied construction related research as well as providing a hub for knowledge, technology transfer and research diffusion to the construction industry and other allied sectors. “With the Center in place, the Authority will be aiming to address the challenges that have bedevilled the industry since independence.”
On his part, KoTDA CEO Eng. John Tanui lauded NCA for being at the forefront of investing in the Technopolis, noting that there are 145 parcels available for occupation with uptake currently at 40%.The delegation expressed optimism with regards to the efforts of the project implementation team toward the realization of this flagship project. The Center will be a key actualization of the Authority’s mandate as set out in the National Construction Regulations of 2014 and the NCA Strategic Plan 2020-2025. It is projected to be the largest institution of its kind in East Africa. Breaking ground is expected to take place in 2021.