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Building that replaced Nakumatt Downtown marked as unsafe

The commercial building that replaced Nakumatt Downtown on the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street was on Friday marked as unsafe for occupation by the National Construction Authority (NCA).

In an early morning crackdown, officers from the authority painted ‘X’ red marks on the stall doors, main gate and walls of the building.

The building is set on the site of Nakumatt Downtown, where 29 lives were lost on January 28,2009 in a lunchtime inferno.

Minutes after the marking by the authority, a dozen painters were brought in by a man who refused to identify himself to Nairobi News and started covering the markings with silver paint.

When asked why the building had been marked, he said the authority said it was not ready for occupation.

The top floors of the building are still under construction.

NON-COMPLIANCE

The stalls on the ground floor had been completed by last week and prospective clients could be seen walking in an inspecting the premise.

The man who was at the site during repainting added that although the landlord had invited prospective clients, they had no intention to rent it out before completion.

When asked why then they were covering the NCA markings, the man said he was neither the contractor nor the owner hence not in a position to explain.

Nairobi News sought an explanation from the authority which confirmed that the building was marked for non-compliance.

The building under construction on the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street which has been declared unsafe for occupation by National Construction Authority. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
The building under construction on the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street which has been declared unsafe for occupation by National Construction Authority. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

STRUCTURAL AUDIT

“It was found out that the project is not registered by National Construction Authority. There was no registered contractor on site. The quality of work according to the opinion of the inspection officers was suspect. According to the officers’ observation, the structural strength of the building is highly questionable,” read the findings from the NCA team that visited the site.

The authority also noted that “the concrete was not vibrated well during casting and there was no adequate supervision and the workers seemed to know very little of what they were doing.”

Based on the findings the team recommended that “a structural audit should be carried out as soon as possible because it’s very clear that this is danger in waiting. We reported the matter to Central Police Station for enforcement where an OB was raised vide OB 36/25/11/16.”

Central Police Station OCPD, Paul Wanjama, confirmed that the matter was reported and told Nairobi News that they were “waiting for a detailed statement from the complainant so that arrests can be made.”