Kampala, Uganda | URN | KCCA has been condemned by the National Building Review Board (NBRB) for failing to condemn an illegal structure that was flouting technical and legal standards until it collapsed and killed five people in the city earlier this month.
The Board that has been investigating the cause of the Kisenyi building’s collapse has found inconsistence and inefficiencies in KCCA’s Building Committee performance in line with the collapsed building in Kisenyi, and says the city Authority failed to do its mandate.
Engineer Flavia Bwire, the national building review board executive secretary, mentioned that among other reasons, the Kisenyi building which belongs to city businessman Haruna Ssentongo, claimed 6 lives and left five with serious injuries, collapsed due to the failure by the KCCA building committees to exercise their role as stipulated in the Building Control Act.
Besides violating the Act, KCCA’s building control office also failed to inspect this particular development, which which also contravenes the Act.
Instead, an order to stop illegal construction was issued under the physical planning Act and a notice to remove the development was issued under the public health Act on behalf of the Director for physical planning not the building control officer.
This created inefficiencies because the functions of the BCO cannot be exercised by the physical planner.
The National Building Review Board (NBRB) is an agency under the ministry of works and transport created by the Building Control Act, 2013, which is mandated to monitor building developments, ensure that the design and construction of buildings and utilities to which the public is to have access, caters for Persons with Disabilities (PWDS), to ensure that PWDS are able to comfortably make their way into and maneuver within buildings with dignity, independence and safety on an equal basis with others who have no disability.
It also oversees, inspects and monitors the operations of Building Committees, hears and determines appeals from persons dissatisfied with the decisions of a Building Committee and Determine the fees to be charged by urban and district Building Committees for approval of plans, issue of building permits and occupation permits.
The ES Flavia Bwire explained that a multi-institutional task force led by the ministry of works, the directorate of forensic services, the Uganda police and the ministry of gender and social development, into what could have caused the collapse of this building, established that in addition to KCCA’s building committee failing to play its mandated role, poor quality building materials, poor workmanship, inappropriate construction methods and non-engagement of professionals like engineers and architects for supervision are the other reasons for the collapse of this building on 5th September 2021.
She continued that based on these findings, NBRB calls for the first tracking of the establishment of independent building control offices in all urban and district councils, urgent streamlining of the functions of the Building Control office as put up by law and for this particular building, the KCCA building Committee should immediately do a structural integrity assessment and inform a way forward.
She also that on the physical planning office can gazette a building as and illegal development should be demolished but the methodology must be approved by the building committee because of the expertise it requires. In all processes, physical planning comes first then the building committee comes in for building quality matters.
Robert Kalumba, the KCCA deputy spokesperson said as the Authority, they are doing their internal investigations to find out their weaknesses then take action.
“We welcome reports from any one as far as physical planning is concerned; it should also be noted that this developer was given notice to stop, we want to find out why he continued and the division planner, the building inspector and the law enforcement are the corner stone to these investigations,” Kalumba said.