Wednesday, December 6, 2023

AAK launches new guidelines for building as number of collapse hit four in a month

A five-storey building has collapsed in Ruiru.

This was the headline in most of the media stations on 21st November as the number of buildings that have collapsed within Nairobi and Kiambu hit four in one month.

The building collapsed just 12 hours after tenants were forced to evacuate their items as the building started developing cracks.

Earlier reports indicate that some top floors of the building were added after the initial three were constructed.

Such partnership will solve this peril while promoting professionalism and integrity in the built and natural environment

AAK Chairman

Following the rampant collapse of buildings, the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) has launched guidelines for construction of houses.

The project dubbed ‘Healthy Homes Guidelines and Checklist’ seeks to educate the industry players and public on the various elements to look out for in order to build or rent a healthy home.

The project is in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International.

According to AAK President, Wilson Mugambi, the association will partner with the private sector and professionals to solve this menace. 

“Such partnership will solve this peril while promoting professionalism and integrity in the built and natural environment,” affirmed Mugambi.

He said AAK is willing to work with all the stakeholders in implementing the Healthy Homes Guidelines Checklist.

This means that most buildings in the country are built by unqualified professionals and lack the minimum standard of a healthy home

NCA report

Collapse

According to reports from the National Construction Authority (NCA) poor workmanship is the leading cause of buildings collapse in Kenya.

According to their report most self-builders engage artisans and unqualified contractors.

AAK President Arch Wilson Mugambi during the launch

Other causes of building collapse according to the report include use of substandard materials, non-compliance to building standards and regulations, inadequate structural design and overloading, and inadequate maintenance of structures.

NCA chairman David Gaitho said that despite providing the minimum standard to be adhered to during construction and renovation most builders still ignore them.

The survey further revealed that 80% of buildings in Kenya are built without engaging professionals. 

“This means that most buildings in the country are built by unqualified professionals and lack the minimum standard of a healthy home,” read the report.

Most of these vectors can be controlled through proper house designs and improvements

AAK report

Report on Health risks

A healthy home significantly contributes to the physical and mental well-being of those living in it. 

A majority of Kenyans living in urban areas have homes in informal settlements.

Such places are densely populated, have inadequate infrastructure, very low cost and low-quality houses that often expose them to health risks. 

Surveys conducted in rural areas found that a majority live in houses that are lacking in suitable design elements such as adequate lighting, ventilation and sanitation that support healthy living.

Despite being less densely populated, the housing conditions are deficient, considering the design as building work is carried out by untrained persons. 

From the report, vector proofing is a major issue affecting those in informal settlements and low-cost houses where the design elements cannot protect from attacks by disease causing vectors such as mosquitoes.

It reads in part: “Most of these vectors can be controlled through proper house designs and improvements.”

The research was done with a focus on low-cost houses across the informal settlements and other rural areas within the Nairobi Metropolitan region. 

According to the parties, the survey was to articulate the relationship between housing and health, strengthen communication towards decent healthy housing, inform design and construction of affordable and healthy homes post Covid.

This intervention will improve the housing situation in this country and greatly support the government’s plan to roll out massive affordable housing programmes

Report

New Guidelines

With the new guidelines AAK seeks to promote innovations in shelter, adoption and popularization of healthy housing best practices.

The 15-pillar guideline involves checking the health status of a home and relationship between housing and health.

The guidelines provide design standards to help housing typologies, inclusive of those in informal settlements, to be resilient to COVID-19 and future pandemics. 

“This intervention will improve the housing situation in this country and greatly support the government’s plan to roll out massive affordable housing programmes.”

The research was done with a focus on low-cost houses across the informal settlements and other rural areas within the Nairobi Metropolitan region. 

According to the parties, the survey was to articulate the relationship between housing and health, strengthen communication towards decent healthy housing, inform design and construction of affordable and healthy homes post Covid.

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