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Four-storey building collapses in Zimmerman

A commercial building collapsed in an estate Tuesday, barely a month after it was found to be defective and its construction stopped.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

According to Zimmerman Estate residents, work on the four-storey building was still going on despite the stoppage order by the National Construction Authority.

An audit team has been going round parts of the city to find out the number of buildings whose construction has been stopped by the authority.

Many other buildings have been condemned and tenants ordered to vacate.

HUGE CRACKS

The team comprises officials from the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, Nairobi City County government and the NCA.

“Construction was going on although no one was injured as the labourers had detected huge cracks in the building,” a resident at the scene said.

Zimmerman Ward Representative Pius Mwaura said several property owners have defied the directive to stop construction.

“When the NCA team puts an X at the main entrance of a building indicating that construction should stop or warning tenants to vacate, the owners delete this mark and continue with the construction,” Mr Mwaura said.

NCA has the authority to follow such property owners and have them prosecuted.

On Tuesday, NCA Senior Investigator Chrispus Ddinyo admitted that the agency could not monitor every property owner who violated the set rules because it suffers a shortage of manpower.

“However, if a building was under construction and has collapsed after we had marked it, the owner will not get off the hook,” Mr Ddinyo said in a telephone interview.

Since early this year, NCA been carrying out a review of buildings in many parts of the city, including Zimmerman Estate.

REGULATIONS

It has been determining if building owners and contractors were complying with construction regulations.

Work on any construction found to be violating the regulations is stopped immediately.

One of the regulations requires a property owner to put up a signboard at the construction site, showing professionals involved in the entire work; engineers, surveyors, architects and others.

The number of the plot where the construction is taking place must also be indicated on the signboard and clearance from the National Environment Management Authority.

The property developer is also required to display approval plaques from City Hall, declaring the safety standards.

There was no such plague at the building that collapsed Tuesday.

The audit team has taken the number of all the buildings that have either been condemned or whose construction has been stopped but is yet to release a report.

On Tuesday, only a group from City Hall arrived at the scene and confirmed that the developer had been ordered to stop working on the building.