BUSINESS LOSS

Architects urge Badi to reverse nullification of city projects' approvals

Nearly 600 construction projects worth Sh36 billion approved since March

In Summary

• The architects say the retroactive nullification of the approvals made since March 18 is harsh to a construction industry already reeling from the effects of Covid-19.

• The AAK is concerned that the directive punitively victimises developers, consultants, contractors and daily wage earners.

Construction workers in housing units by NHC in Langata yest. Jack Owuor
Construction workers in housing units by NHC in Langata yest. Jack Owuor

The Architectural Association of Kenya wants prompt reversal of the nullification of property development plan approvals undertaken in Nairobi in the past two months.

The retroactive nullification of the approvals made since March 18 is punitive to a construction industry reeling from the effects of Covid-19, AAK president Mugure Njendu said in a letter to Nairobi Metropolitan Services director-general Mohamed Badi on Thursday.

This followed Badi's May 13 declaration that all applications processed through the e-construction development management system from March 18 were null and avoid.

Njendu said 599 projects worth Sh36 billion in construction costs had been approved in the last two months by the Nairobi City County Pre-Technical Committee and the Nairobi City County Urban Planning Technical Committee.

 

Badi had on the same day also, with immediate effect, disbanded both committees and announced that new development committees will be constituted within seven days.

Njendu told Badi the AAK was concerned that the directive will negatively impact their business.

“This measure does not contribute to the ease of doing business and punitively victimises developers, consultants, contractors and daily wage earners on-site at no fault of their own. Furthermore, a proclamation like this is sure to create investor unease in the country,” she said.

The architects, she said, want a reversal of the nullification directive. They also want a reversal of the suspension of the electronic construction permit system.

The AAK chief said the electronic construction system eased their way of doing business and despite the challenges, it has had an impact in the industry.

 

City Hall launched the online QR Code system for development plans in March with the aim of reducing the approval time for construction permits.

The system provided a unique identification of approved architectural and structural plans, eliminating the need for property developers to submit hard copies of the plans for stamping upon approval.

“We have also had several meetings where plans to enhance the system were discussed and our members are the direct users of the e-permitting system on behalf of their clients. We also spearheaded the move to the electronic system working closely with the IFC/World Bank on the same in light of the above two mentioned goals,” Njendu said.

She said that AAK, as a stakeholder, has been part of the technical committee, an important organ that supports the efficiency of the function.

“As indicated in our earlier letter to you dated March 18, AAK will support every effort that is aimed at streamlining operations to promote transparency and efficiency in processing development applications.” 

The association president said the automation of construction permits proposition had been theirs for more than 10 years "and we have been part of the development and implementation process all along”.

The association pledged to collaborate with NMS to mitigate the negative effects of the transfer of functions from the county government to the national government.

- mwaniki fm