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The National Construction Authority on Wednesday, 29th November hosted contractors for a plant tour of Savannah Cement’s Athi River plant as part of its alternative Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training programme.
The tour, during which contractors learnt about the cement making process, is part of NCA’s effort to diversify its training programme.
NCA Chairman Steven Oundo, OGW, addressed the contractors during the media brief held afterwards. “NCA remains keen on capacity building, and we are grateful to Savannah Cement for allowing us to visit and learn from their cement making process, which anyone in the construction industry needs to have knowledge and full understanding of. The alternative CPD programme aims at making learning as relevant and as holistic as possible.”
The plant tour was a part of the weeklong fifth anniversary celebrations, which NCA was celebrating jointly with Savannah Cement. The plant tour was preceded by an accreditation drive held on the same location on Sunday, 26th November, and followed by a Developer’s Breakfast held on Thursday, 30th November. The breakfast was hosted in conjunction with Kenya Property Developer’s Association (KPDA), and held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nairobi.
In attendance was Chairman Oundo, NCA Executive Director Dr. (Arch.) Daniel Manduku, Savannah CEO Mr. Ronald Ndegwa and KPDA Chairman Mucai Kunyiha.
KPDA is a representative body of the residential, commercial and industrial property development sector in Kenya. It is an emerging Business Member Organization, which works in proactive partnership with policy makers, financiers and citizens to ensure that the property development industry grows rapidly in an organized, efficient, economical and ethical manner.
The event came just days after President Kenyatta’s inauguration day speech, where he reiterated the Government’s commitment to the construction of affordable housing, with a target of half a million houses within the next three years.
Speaking at the forum, Dr. Manduku challenged KPDA to create a policy that defines affordable housing, and to be proactive in the process of injecting low cost capital into housing. He also urged developers to control the entire construction value chain in order to lower costs and maintain quality. This should be done through setting up of manufacturing plants in the country and nurturing their growth.
Mr. Kunyiha, who is also a Board Member on the Vision 2030 secretariat, informed the gathering that KPDA had created a taskforce on affordable housing, and would soon publish their findings. Kenya’s Vision 2030 states that in order for Kenya to become a middle-level economy, we must construct 200,000 houses a year. Currently, annual construction stands at 30,000 houses.
The KPDA Chair also invited NCA to a seminar for the review of the Joint Building Council (JBC) contract document. The JBC document is a contract between the contractor and the developer, which the industry is unanimous in support of its review to reflect new best practices.
Savannah Chair Ronald Ndegwa urged developers to be more involved in the construction process and not just the finished product. “The only way for a developer to ensure quality of construction is to educate themselves, especially on the quality of materials. Substandard materials, even with professional supervision will result in a compromised building.”
NCA was commended for its regulatory policies have seen a reduction in the cases of collapsed buildings over the last five years. The Authority was also commended for its ‘objective focused’ approach to regulation as opposed to the ‘rule focused’ regulation which other state agencies adopt.
Some of the concerns raised by members during the plenary sessions were the presence of building materials of compromised quality in the market, as well as the need for a rating system for contractors and developers to ensure those who were unprofessional were reported. Dr. Manduku stated NCA is in the process of revising its enabling Act, which address a lot of outstanding issues.
NCA Chairman Oundo noted that the setting aside of the levy had stunted some of the Authority programmes, as it was previously self- funding, but was now fully dependent on the Treasury. Thus, several research projects had been put on hold.
The forum concluded with a general consensus of continuous interaction between all stakeholders present in order to promote growth in the construction industry.