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.