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The National Construction Authority’s Western Regional Office in conjunction with the Kakamega County Government on Friday, March 8th evacuated Western Star Hotel in Kakamega Town after an evaluation of the building revealed issues to do with structural identity.
The quality assurance check was prompted by a report from a concerned citizen the previous evening. The hotel, located opposite Kakamega Primary School, has been inhabited since 2013.
The site team reported that two columns within the ground floor area had failed through crushing, a design failure. The columns were unable to handle the axial loads and crushed, but without major lateral deformation. The column failures made the entire structure unstable and at risk for collapse if corrective action is not taken immediately.
The hotel was evacuated right after the quality assurance check. Its proprietor had commenced unsecured and dangerous excavation works in a bid to ‘reinforce’ the failed columns, performed by unskilled labourers and without the supervision of a professional structural engineer. Such works undermine the building’s foundation and destabilize it further. There was no registered contractor engaged on the site, and documentation of the initial construction was not availed to the inspection team upon requests. All works have officially been halted on site.
The proprietor is expected to engage a professional structural engineer to conduct a Structural Integrity Analysis of the entire property. The audit should detail how all structural deficiencies will be fully addressed. The audit report should be forwarded to NCA and the Kakamega County Government. The proprietor is further expected to avail copies of all initial construction documents, including the initial approved drawings, occupation certificate, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) license, contractor details and details of the design and construction supervision consultants.
The office of the Kakamega County Police Commander has been requested to ensure the Western Star Hotel remains closed and cordoned off until all corrective measures are executed and documented.
All works, including renovations and additions to existing structures, are meant to be registered by NCA, and the necessary professionals engaged. Project registration is free of charge, and is fully online. Click HERE to register any construction project you may have.
All construction workers, whether skilled or unskilled, are also meant to be accredited by NCA. Accreditation is the process and registering and evaluating the skill level of construction workers, after which they are issued a license that documents their trade. To get accredited, visit the nearest NCA office anywhere in the country for assistance, and click HERE to view the requirements.
If you would like to report any structure you suspect to be unsafe, whether a building, road, bridge or dam, call the NCA customer care hotline +254709 126 102/172/173, email us via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.