Proposal to Have Contractors Comply With Mandatory Requirement Before Construction

A photo of a storey building under construction in the Pangani area, Nairobi County
A photo of a storey building under construction in the Pangani area, Nairobi County
Nairobi County

Expert geologists from the Geological Society of Kenya (GSK) and the Geologists Registration Board (GRB) are drafting an amendment to the Geologist Registration Act of 1993.

The geologists explained that the amendment if passed by lawmakers as drafted, seeks to introduce a mandatory geological assessment before the construction of large projects.

Speaking at the Geo-East Africa Conference on Tuesday, the geologists explained that the assessment will feature a sampling of soils, fractures of the surface and the earthquake risk of proposed construction sites before approvals are granted.

In detail, the experts explained that the assessments will also seek to advise contractors on the design factors of buildings such as the earthquake reinforcements required for a building to be stable in an area prone to certain risks.

Tractors operating at a construction site
Tractors operating at a construction site

While proposing the amendment the geologists explained that if it is passed, the country will witness fewer cases of building collapses, as they are attributed to poor assessment before construction.

Data from the National Construction Authority (NCA)  showed that in the period between 2009 to 2019, 200 hundred people lost their lives after buildings collapsed in different regions of the country.

Further, the association is seeking to separate geological and engineering services, citing that a geological report should be independent and conducted before engineering is initiated.

“We are saying that even before engineering services come in, geologists should come in and survey the area for the proposed engineering work that is to be done and give an independent report on that particular aspect,” stated Daniel Alego the Chairperson GRS.

Additionally, the organisation also aims to make the registration of geologists mandatory through the amendment of the law as a way of promoting professionalism within the industry.

The proposition comes at a time when several incidences of building collapses have been witnessed in the country.

In September 2023, a ten-storey building collapsed in the Mirema area of Roysambu Constituency with NCA stating that poor structural concrete in the construction caused the collapse.

Weeks later after the incident, another building collapsed in Kirinyaga, trapping one person under the rubble.

Scenes at Murang'a after a 3-storey building collapsed on June 19, 2023.
Irungu Kang'ata