For many years now, focus has exclusively been on the construction of new buildings and roads leaving the built infrastructure in danger of deteriorating beyond the point of economic repair. Currently, there is a large stock of public buildings in Kenya owned by Central Government, County Governments, and Parastatals that are in poor state and require continuous maintenance.
As the building stock ages, it is appropriate for an adequate level of maintenance to be sustained to ensure the economic value of the buildings. Hence, there is need to establish a structured system within the construction industry so as to resolve the crisis of poor, or lack of, maintenance which renders building unsightly and unattractive
Proper building maintenance practices, which commences immediately the builder leaves site, play a critical role towards national prosperity and a healthy environment.
The objective goals for maintenance can be spelt out as follows, to:
- Reduce the total cost of building operation
- Preserve invested value during the expected lifetime
- Maintain the useful qualities of the building at a level chosen beforehand
- Preserve the aesthetic qualities of the building at a level chosen before
- Maintain the necessary safety and sanitary level
- Ensure continued adherence to the building regulations
In the quest to address building maintenance, the following can play a very important role;
- The professionals should undertake feasibility study before assurance is made in investment and establish certain fundamentals regarding the demand for the built form and ‘life cycle’ costing.
- The business community should change and support structures that enable continuous maintenance since the creation of these structures is in the best interest of them
- Training institutions should train a practice of maintenance by linking formulation of new buildings with also the emphasis on building maintenance issues in their normal training programs
- There is certainly a lot of public interest in the nature of our built environment, and therefore, the media should act as a tool in exposing and directing this interest into effective opinion
- Responsible department within the counties should set up policy guidelines for integration of maintenance and rehabilitation as a key practice during the lifecycle of each building and other infrastructure.
- Steps should also be taken for adequate maintenance of existing housing stocks, service networks and other infrastructures.”
- Training institutions should develop courses in maintenance as part of their curricula in the building professions and also allow for particular specialization in this area.