• Seator says meetings could have been convened exclusively for professional bodies and not necessarily for the ordinary members of the public.
• But CS says his ministry held meetings with institutions last year in December when it was formulating the regulations.
Transport CS James Macharia on Monday struggled to convince senators that views of the public were incorporated in the National Construction Authority (Defects Liabilities) Regulations, 2020.
Macharia appeared before the Senate’s Roads and Transport Committee where he said his ministry held discussions with institutions in the construction industry during the formulation of the regulations.
However, committee chair Kimani Wamatangi said the meetings could have been convened exclusively for professional bodies and not necessarily for wananchi.
“Was there public participation? If it was there, was it adequate? Was there an advert in the local dailies inviting people to give views on the regulations?” Wamatangi asked.
Meru Senator Mithika Linturi said wananchi have been complaining that they were never consulted before the regulations were gazetted. “We want the ministry to explain how the regulations were effected without following due process,” he said.
The CS, however, said his ministry held meetings with institutions last year in December when it was formulating the regulations.
“We had meetings with the various institutions and I believe they represented a broad spectrum of stakeholders,” he said.
The National Construction Authority (Defects Liability) Regulations introduced a defects liability period for commercial buildings that gives owners up to seven years to recall contractors to the sites for rectifications. The defects' liability period was also increased to a minimum of 12 months.
Contractors are supposed to remedy any defects within the stipulated period. The regulations made it compulsory for contracts to outline a latent defect liability period.
The new regulations are meant to protect building owners from shoddy construction work.
However, construction managers say the introduced regulations apportioning blame to them for defects in completed projects should be scrapped for lack of public participation.
The Building and Construction Council has called for a review of the regulations. The council argues that while it supports the new rules, regulations on the construction management process should also be rolled out.
Chairman of the Institute of Construction Project Managers in Kenya Tom Oketch said the regulations undermined the role of architects as supervisors during the implementation of projects.
Wamatangi said the meetings with stakeholders could have been closed-door and hence blocking the ordinary Kenyans from giving their views.
Quantity surveyor Nyagha Kithinji said they are not opposed to the regulations but that they must be enacted in accordance with the law.
“These regulations are ambiguous and based on assumptions. We wrote to the CS to complain about the regulations but we are yet to get a response,” he added.
Edited by R.Wamochie