A building collapse is a catastrophic event that can cause significant injury or even death to those who are caught in its wake. Building collapses in Kenya have been a major source of concern for all players in the local construction industry.
- Weak Foundations
Adequate foundations can be costly. They must be sturdy enough to handle the weight that will be placed on them. Two things should be considered when you are building the foundations – the solidity of the soil and the heaviness of the building and its contents. Some developers, on the other hand, try to save money by cutting costs on concrete and reinforcements, resulting in structures collapsing.
- Substandard Materials
The Kenyan market is currently flooded with counterfeit goods, and the construction industry is no exception. The majority of these materials are weak and thus unable to support a structure.
However, some contractors also knowingly use the incorrect materials to cut costs. They may use concrete intended to bear the load of a one-storey building in a four-storey building.
Scrap metal instead of steel, low-quality stones, and inappropriate concrete ratios are all prevalent practices that result in many unstable structures that could be deadly traps.
- Poor Structural Designs
A building collapses when the load is beyond the strength of the building. A structural engineer may make errors and fail to account for the weight that a structure will be expected to support.
Another reason why the load is often heavier than the original design is because a contractor might want to add extra storeys as compared to the original design.
- Unqualified labour
Some developers wish to cut on costs by employing unskilled workers who are cheaper than trained builders. Unskilled laborers lack technical knowledge of construction processes and criteria, such as appropriate structural steel standards, concrete mixing ratios, and curing procedures for maximum strength.
The state institutions responsible for assessing buildings to guarantee that they are safe for human occupancy are rife with corruption and inefficiency. Regulators who are corrupt are willing to turn a blind eye to malpractices that result in deaths and financial loss.
Over time, the influx of people into cities has resulted in an ever-increasing demand for housing in major parts across the country. So as to maximize a return on investment, inexperienced developers are taking advantage of this by evading building codes and laws to erect inferior structures quickly. Some are even ready to add more floors hence increasing the load bearing capacity than what was in plan.
Although there are a variety of reasons for a building to collapse, the majority of the events in Kenya appear to be motivated by greed for wealth and corruption.