22 June 2011

Kenya: National Construction Authority to Help Streamline Construction Sector

The proposed National Construction Authority will help streamline anomalies being witnessed in the building and construction sector presently. The NCA will be a state corporation under the Public Works ministry.

The authority is expected to rid the sector of rogue contractors and put in check poor workmanship as it will consolidate tasks involved in the approval of the construction process. It will also be mandated to monitor the construction process as detailed in the Physical Planning Act currently being implemented by the local authorities. Under the Act, only the local authorities can conduct inspection of building sites including private properties. "We have formed the National Construction Authority and the bill has already been approved by the Cabinet. It is now in Parliament awaiting debate," said Arch. Gideon Mulyungi, the Works Secretary and chairman of the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors (BORAQS). "Once implemented, the Authority will register all contractors in the country just like any other professionals. Contractors will not be allowed to undertake any construction work unless they are registered and this will help ease out the issues being experienced in the sector currently."

Arch. Mulyungi said under the new body, for contractors to be registered at least one of the directors must be a technical person with at least a higher diploma in bid to address the issue of poor workmanship.

He said local authorities are to blame in the prevailing situation since they already have the powers to conduct regular inspections and could detect site anomalies before tragedies strike.

Boraqs currently can only inspect and regulate sites where its members are involved. The professionals body had last year amended the Architects and Quantity Surveyors Act to empower it to monitor activities in the building and construction sector but is yet to be gazetted for enactment. "For the purposes of ensuring compliance with this Act, an authorised officer may, at any reasonable time, enter any place in which the officer believes on reasonable grounds that any person or persons is in any way contravening the provisions of this Act," reads part of the amended Bill.

It empowers authorised officers to examine any building or works and require any person in such place to produce for inspection, any drawings, plans and building approvals. They can also conduct test or analysis on a site and seize plans, drawings and approvals that contravene the Act.

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