AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE ROLE PLAYED BY NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY (NCA) IN CURBING BUILDING FAILURE IN KENYA:

ABSTRACT

The government of Kenya under the leadership of His Excellency President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta had a development plan well outlined in their campaign manifesto before rising to power in 2013. One of their agendas was to provide affordable housing to Kenyans. This has been partly achieved through giving developers loans, subsidies and the government have even gone further to take 1.5% of civil servants salaries channeling it to the provision of housing needs of Kenyans.  Kenyans are in desperate need for affordable and better housing mostly in Nairobi City County. Affordable is not always the best option. This is because many of the affordable houses being constructed favours the pocket sizes of many middle class citizens are not always safe for habitation. Many of them are constructed using cheap and poor construction materials or cheap and poor workmanship. The result is expensive. Deaths of poor tenants is expensive as well as injuries and loss of property arising from collapse of defective buildings. The solution of building collapse was sought before the current government came to power. This was in 2011 where the National Construction Authority Act was enacted and later assented in December the same year. The NCA was set up later in June 2012. The mandate was to oversee construction works to maintain sanity in industry. The government later reinforced the board in 2016 by the current government to aid NCA in performing its functions where some of the members were drawn from NCA. Building failures has still continued to occur despite this strategic move by the government. This this is what triggered this research project.

The study had an aim of looking into the roles of the National Construction Authority in their entirety in an attempt to see the link between construction project failures and the functions of the body. It was deduced that if the body performs its functions to its best, building failures will noticeably reduce if not become tales long gone.

The study also wanted to establish the causes and effects of building failures. The findings of this study established, poor workmanship, poor choice of construction materials, errors in design, lack of proper inspection, geotechnical failure, contractors incompetence and corruption as the major causes of building failure in Nairobi City County. The researcher went further and established loss of lives, property and injuries as some of the major effects of building failure. In an attempt to determine some of the challenges facing NCA that tend to retard its progress, the researcher identified four major challenges facing the board which require urgent action. These included, corruption, lack of prosecutorial powers, inadequate capacity to carry out random surveys and the body’s responsibilities coinciding with that of other regulatory bodies such as the NBI.

The researcher recommended that more training institutions for technical skills should be put up to increase the number of skilled men and women in the industry. Corrupt individuals should face the wrath of the law. NCA should create awareness of its regulations to the contractors. More laboratories for testing of materials should be set up to ensure only quality construction materials are adopted for construction. Lastly, the researcher recommends that the NCA Act of 2011 is reviewed to give the body more powers like prosecutorial powers to prosecute any errant contractor without using the Environment and Land Court.