Half of city houses not safe, says NCA

Aerial view of overpopulated Umoja estate in Eastlands, Nairobi. /FILE
Aerial view of overpopulated Umoja estate in Eastlands, Nairobi. /FILE

Half of the houses inspected by the National Construction Authority in Nairobi are not fit for habitation and many will be demolished.

The NCA yesterday said Eastlands has the highest number of defective buildings and disputed constructions.

Defects range from structural issues to lack of amenities and serviceable lifts for commercial buildings, it said.

Speaking during a media breakfast at a Nairobi hotel, NCA architecture executive director Daniel Manduku said buildings that have collapsed in the city were not registered with the authority as required.

He said the authority has suspended and deregistered some contractors who do shoddy work.

“We have asked Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko to give our legal officers the mandate to prosecute the offenders to avoid the long process of bringing justice to the people,” Manduku said.

NCA building inspectorate secretary Moses Nyakiongora said buildings found to be unsafe for habitation will be demolished.

He said two such buildings are in Mathare and two have been demolished in Kahawa.

“We are planning to demolish more buildings that have not complied because our mandate is to uphold safety,” Nyakiongora said.

He said the authority has inspected 2,000 houses during its technical audit, but the investigation is not complete.

Nyakiongora said of these, 52 houses have been recommended for further inspection to find out whether they are safe or need to be demolished.

He said most tenants are always reluctant to vacate after the authority finds the building unsafe, claiming they have already paid a lot of rent.

Nyakiongora said in such cases, the authority always advises tenants to vacate and give the landlord a notice to demolish the house.

“There is always resistance from the landlord, but if they refuse, we go ahead to demolish the building,” he said.

Nyakiongora said the authority has proposed reforms, including an environmental bill to give it a mandate to check the maintenance of buildings.

He said most houses have collapsed due to poor maintenance.

Nyakiongora said this year the authority plans to train all contractors in the counties.