Need for orderly and safe urban development

Posted by Public Communications Team
on 4 January 2018
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DATE: 3RD JANUARY 2018
SUBJECT: NEED FOR ORDERLY AND SAFE URBAN DEVELOPMENT
This is to confirm the tragedy of a two-storey unoccupied semi-permanent structure which crumbled in Pipeline area of Embakasi while undergoing demolition by the owner resulting in two fatalities and some 
 casualties of the persons undertaking the demolition works. 
The Nairobi City County condoles with the families of those affected.
The event occurs as the audit of the buildings by the inter-agency government team is ongoing. So far, at least 3,085 buildings have undergone basic audit tests in the City. Out of these, about 885 structures require very urgent, while 850 require urgent further forensic test to determine the best course of action (whether 
demolition or remedial measures). The remaining 1,350 do not require any further test, and therefore can be regularized with minimum remedies.
The audit process is still ongoing, though at slow pace due to logistics and poor equipment capacity for the scientific tests. 
As the audit process progresses, we note the continued increase of illegal developments even where the developers are privy to requirements for approvals. On the other hand, while the need for orderly and safe urban development may appear as obvious as this topic appears, it is important to constantly remind ourselves of our individual and collective duty to safe and orderly built environment. This is paramount for building structures and related infrastructure that accommodate people. 
The unfortunate fact is that illegal developments continue unabated, often not out of ignorance but by choice, even when we know the regulatory requirements. The consequences, as has been evident, are not pleasant, sometimes leading to loss of lives, as is the present scenario.
Therefore, the Nairobi City County Government would like to take this opportunity, as we begin a New Year, 2018 to urge the developers, contractors, occupants of buildings and the public to start a new chapter in the urban development process of our City. At the centre of this process is to value the need for safer built environment and compliance with the building regulations. This applies to both existing developments which may have been built without the statutory approvals, those which have approvals but 
may, due to age have structural integrity factors, and the proposals which must be granted approvals before implementation. 
In this regard, there is no reason to evade compliance because the Nairobi City County Government has in place a friendly online system of approvals with clear guidelines on the requirements. It is also paramount to emphasize the importance of engaging practicing professional consultants in the approval and implementation processes to ensure safety and rational costs of the building structures.
In furtherance of the safety and urban order the Nairobi City County Government enacted the Regularization of Developments Act, 2015. This was to facilitate audit of building structures in the City and provide a legal framework for approvals (regularization) for the developments which had been implemented outside the regulatory realm. This imitative was cognitive of the magnitude of the prevailing challenges, the contribution of the developments in the City’s housing stock and material investment. 
It is also imperative to note that not all developments which may not have been implemented without the approvals deserve condemnation. That is why the regularization has clear guidelines and mandatory requirements for involvement of professionals. 
Unfortunately, developers don’t seem to have taken advantage of this window of opportunity to carry out ‘self-audit’ of their buildings and bring them for regularization by the Nairobi City County.
I take this opportunity to inform the property owners, developers, contractors and professionals that the Nairobi City County Regulation Act is still in operation.
Let us all take the golden opportunity and bring order and safety in the built environment for our City. We should not wait to complain and blame each other for unnecessary eventualities when the chance is there to work together and restore order in the City.
THANK YOU
County Executive Committee Member
Roads, Public Works & Transport
 Arch. Wachira Njuguna