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Collapsed Zimmerman building was not approved

A building that collapsed in Nairobi’s Zimmerman Estate did not have approval from City Hall.

“We have established that the building did not have the Nairobi County government’s approval and there was no contractor except the builders,” said Mr Moses Nyakiongora, on Thursday.

He is the secretary of the recently established Buildings Inspectorate.

He, however, accused City Hall of not taking immediate action against the owner of the property and others who flouted construction regulations.

The inspectorate is a department in the Lands, Housing and Urban Development ministry that was set up after a number of buildings collapsed in different parts of the country, especially in Nairobi, resulting in deaths.

NCA STANDARDS

Its work involves auditing commercial buildings to identify those that do not meet National Construction Authority standards.

In Nairobi, the department conducted its audit with the assistance of county government officials.

Completed buildings were also audited and tenants at those that failed to meet the requirements were ordered to move out until the owners fixed the faults.

On Thursday, the construction authority said the owner of the building that collapsed on Tuesday had not yet been found.

“We are looking for the person and we hope the county government has information that can help us make an arrest if they approved the building’s architectural designs,” the senior investigator, Mr Chrispus Ndinyo, said.

Residents of Zimmerman said it was difficult to know the owner of the building since, as with others under construction in the area, several people co-owned the project.

JOINT CONSTRUCTION

“You find that about five people jointly construct a property,” said a resident, who did not want to identify himself, adding this is the case with the building that collapsed.

County housing executive Tom Odongo was unavailable for comment.

But a county government employee who is not authorised to talk to the media said: “The audit team had agreed to complete its work first and then recommend what should be done to such property owners. We are waiting for this report before taking action.”

The construction authority is also required to follow up property owners who defy its directives.

Mr Ndinyo, however, said they do not have the capacity, adding that there were plans to employ National Youth Service recruits to stand guard at sites where work has been ordered to stop.