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Kenya’s Construction Boom Sees Developers Cutting Corners or Bypassing Laws

Kenyan architects have blamed corruption and unregulated construction for the collapse of a six-story building Monday that killed five people, including two children and injured scores of others. The Monday tragedy at Kirigiti in Kenya’s Kiambu County is the latest such fatal accident. Dozens of people have died in building collapses in Kenya, including at least 3 people in 2019 and 49 in a 2016 disaster. Kenya’s architects say the construction industry has been marred with unscrupulous dealings that are compromising the quality of buildings. “The framework is there to ensure that does not happen, so we have a very big gap, especially at the enforcement level, whereby the scrutiny of who is involved in the project at the design stage and execution is not being done well,” said Wilson Mugambi, president of the architectural association of Kenya. The country’s construction approval process is long. The law demands that a developer obtain approvals from a county government, national environment authority and the national construction authority. It’s a procedure that takes at least 6 months. Some owners of collapsed buildings in Kenya have been arrested and charged in the past, but experts say until professionalism is put at the helm of construction, the problem may not be solved.