October 3, 2022

KeNHA, Construction Agencies Blamed for Kihunguro Deaths -Engineers

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The Association of Kenyan Engineers has blamed the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and other construction agencies for the two deaths and several injuries that occurred after a building collapsed in Kihunguro area, Ruiru Sub County on Wednesday morning.

            Institute of Kenyan Engineers (IKE) President Eric Ohaga said had KeNHA and other construction authorities secured the building and demolished it in a coordinated manner, no death or injury would have been reported.

            The two storey building had been earmarked for demolition to pave way for the expansion of Eastern bypass, and the owner had been compensated by Kenha and vacated before they partially demolished it. 

            Members of the public then moved in with hammers and chisels to salvage building materials for sale, weakening it further before it eventually collapsed, leading to deaths and injuries. 

            In a statement read by IKE Chairman Sub Committee Benjamin Nyawade at the site yesterday, the president said the hopelessness amongst the citizens led to them camp in the building to pilfer building materials including steel metal and building stones to sell for a living.

            “Had KeNHA and other authorities condoned the building after they partially demolished it, then hopeless Kenyans would not have camped in the building to steal metal or building stones. They bear the blame,” he said while briefing the press at the site yesterday.

            He said it was wrong for authorities to leave the site unmanned which made it easy for members of the public to gain access and salvage steel reinforcement bars by hacking the reinforced columns and beams in an uncoordinated manner.

            He said a multi-agency team should have coordinated the demolition exercise to prevent vandals from accessing the buildings and ensure their safety.

            “Agencies like KeNHA, the National Construction Authority, the National Building Inspectorate and security organs should have coordinated the construction and demolition of the building,” he said.

            He also urged members of the public to take caution while accessing partially demolished buildings due to the increased risks on such structures.

            The Association also called on the national and county governments through the various agencies to work together to address systemic issues in future.

            “The Engineers Board of Kenya is currently working on rapid assessment of construction sites and will soon give more insight into the problems of defects during construction of buildings is identified and fixed in time,” he said.

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