80% of houses in Kericho County have been rendered as death-traps. Only 20% of the residential buildings are safe for occupation.
A study was carried out by a joint team of officers from the National Building Inspectorate and County Government of Kericho and found that only 12 out of 68 residential buildings sampled were safe for occupation. According to the audit, seven of the sampled buildings were found to be dangerous while 49 of them were found to be unsafe.
The audit was ordered following the collapse last year of a four-storey building at Tebs View Court in Kericho County. It was based on inspection of buildings in Bureti, Belgut, Ainamoi, Soin, Kipkelion West and Kipkelion East. The audit was aimed at identifying unsafe buildings and check on compliance to and statutory approvals so that appropriate enforcement action could be taken.
Violated zoning regulations
“Dangerous” structures were described as those that pose an immediate danger to the public and can lead to loss of life, injury or economic loss while “unsafe” structures were described as requiring immediate measures to make them safe. Stephen Muraguri of the National Building Inspectorate said during the release of the report that most developments violated zoning regulations, including ground coverage and the plot ratio.
“The concrete strength of most structures was below the minimum standard Class 20. Most construction sites did not have construction boards indicating the consultants, contractors, approval details and the developer’s details. In addition, construction sites had no professionals and skilled workers undertaking the developments and construction site safety measures like site hoarding, personal protective equipment and safety netting were missing,” said Mr. Muraguri.
Last November, the National Construction Authority and the County Government of Kericho ordered tenants to immediately vacate two apartment blocks adjacent to the one that collapsed at Tebs View Court, killing a seven-year-old boy.
The authorities declared the houses at Tebs View Court, which housed 69 tenants, unsafe for occupation. Initial reports indicated that the building that collapsed at the court was constructed with substandard materials. The County Executive Committee member in charge of Lands and Housing, Barnabas Ngeno, condemned the three- and four-storey buildings after an analysis revealed that they were not structurally sound.