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The Board of Directors of the National Construction Authority on Monday, 8th October 2019 met the recently appointed Public Works Principal Secretary Major General (Rtd) Dr. Gordon Kihalangwa, CBS, at his offices in the Works Building.
The team, led by Vice Chairperson Prof. Godrick Bulitia, was comprised of Qs. David Gaitho, Ms. Susan Karanja, Eng. Stephen Kogi, Mr. Kirpal Suri, Arch. Mackenzie Kiilu, Eng. Jane Mutilili, Arch. Jackson Kafuna and Ms. Elizabeth Mvoi. NCA Executive Director Eng. Maurice Akech was also in attendance.
The meeting was held to brief the new PS on NCA’s mandate and activities in the industry, as well as an overview of the achievements attained and challenges encountered.
Dr. Kihalangwa welcomed the Board Members and by way of introduction detailed his educational background in International Relations and Diplomacy as well as his forty-year tenure serving the Government in the Kenya Army and Civil Service under the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior & Coordination. He also served the National Government under the Department of Immigration. The PS affirmed that his role is to provide strategic leadership in the State Department of Public Works which is technical in nature.
The PS noted that the emerging challenges in the construction industry include the development of an e-construction permit system, building audits and incidences of structural collapses.
Further, he averred that proposed legislation in the construction industry should not conflict with existing legislative instruments. He noted that the present challenges in the industry are due to the lack of centralized communication channels between the various government agencies in the industry which include the County Governments.
Prof. Bulitia presented the NCA brief, which included the Authority’s achievements over its six year existence, such as establishment of professional registers for contractors, construction workers and projects; establishment of regional and liaison offices across the country, establishment of a Code of Conduct for the construction industry, capacity building and business development for industry professionals, establishment and review of the National Construction Research Agenda (NaCRA) and the planning of the region’s largest construction research event, the International Construction Research and Conference Exhibition (ICORCE), amongst others.
The Vice Chair further requested for the Ministry’s support in the issuance of concurrence for the purchase of land for the development of the National Construction Institute, the review of the National Construction Authority Act No. 41 of 2011, the lack of universal accessibility to undertake the Authority’s quality assurance mandate on construction sites, development of special interest and youth groups in the construction industry, implementation of the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index in the construction industry and the lack of prosecutorial powers in the Authority’s quality assurance activities.
Dr. Kihalangwa commended the Board on the Authority’s operations and impact in the construction industry thus far, and acknowledged that the Authority can be strengthened further with additional powers with regard to quality assurance and enforcement to address the current challenges in the industry arising from professional negligence and the lack of compliance to statutory provisions. He also remarked that poor drafting and management of construction contracts, bloated costs and delayed works are the cause of financial loss to both the public and private sectors.
The PS tasked the Board to engage deeply with counterpart agencies to deliver the Authority’s mandate. In closing, the he assured the Board of his support in the delivery of the Authority’s mandate in the construction industry.