Govt Sets New Standards for Building Materials

Workers at a building under construction
Workers at a building under construction in Nairobi County on November 2021.
Construction in Kenya

The government has set new standards that construction materials manufacturers must meet following the rise in cases of collapsed buildings across the country.

Addressing the media on Friday, April 1, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Managing Director, Bernard Njiraini, detailed that the move will see some of the basic materials used in construction upgraded in quality.

Among the material affected include structural steel, cement, and roofing tiles.

An image of the building that collapsed in Kinoo on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (1).jpg
A collage of images of the construction building that collapsed and leaned on a residential apartment in Kinoo on Saturday, March 5, 2022.

The KEBS boss noted that the use of substandard materials was the cause of collapsed buildings in the country.

It is yet to be established how the changes will impact the prices of the commodities but will see Kenyans build more long-lasting and safe houses.

"We have a very elaborate way of protecting consumers against any manufacturers who will be attempting to reduce the quality of materials they are manufacturing. 

"KEBS have a product certification scheme that requires manufacturers to establish quality control measures within their manufacturing establishment," he stated.

Housing Permanent Secretary, Charles Hinga, explained that the move was necessary given the increased number of collapsed buildings within the Nairobi metropolis. 

The move by the government comes barely weeks after an apartment building in Kinoo, Kiambu Country collapsed while under construction.

"The collapse of buildings is not just poor quality. If you go and build on mushy land or riparian land which is meant for drainage we do have a challenge if someone is given approval.

"We are strengthening those institutions and we have created the National Building Inspectorate (NBI) that essentially brings everyone on board," stated PS Hinga.

Additionally, in a Gazette Notice published on April 1, it was announced that the Ministry of Transport Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development, and Public Work was seeking to introduce further regulations to promote the safety of buildings.

"The main objective of the Building Code is to promote order, safety, and health of persons in or about construction works. It seeks to improve control of and encourage better practices in building design, construction, and maintenance to provide greater assurance to the users.

"The implementation of the Building Code will result in prevention of harmful effects on human health resulting from the application of building methods, products, design, construction, and maintenance," read the Gazette notice.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia (Red Cap) inspecting construction of the James Gichuru Jn - Rironi Road in August 2020.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia (Red Cap) inspecting the construction of the James Gichuru Jn - Rironi Road in August 2020.