Keeping Up with Legislation

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In a fast paced world, change is the only thing that remains constant.

The construction industry has been identified as one of the most rigid sectors not being able to adapt fast enough to it’s changing environment.

It is only by being slapped with new legislation from some of our governing bodies, that industry players are awakened from their slumber to embrace better methods of building and simpler ways of achieving results.

We have compiled a list of some of the most recent regulations that are causing ripples in the market and are sure to affect all stakeholders within the industry.

Solar water heating mandatory for buildings

Pursuant to the Solar Water Heating Regulations 2012, all premises with hot water requirements of a capacity exceeding one hundred litres per day are required to install and use solar water heating.

This affects all facilities ranging from residential premises, educational and health institutions, restaurants and hotels as well as laundries.

The compliance deadline is before 25th May 2017, after which the Energy Regulatory Commission will carry out random spot checks and surveillance on buildings under construction to enforce compliance.

KEBS Outlaws twisted bars for buildings

Through the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs), Kenya has banned the manufacture, usage or importation of twisted steel bars in construction.

As from beginning of April, builders will only be allowed to use ribbed steel bars considered to be superior to square twisted bars.

The ribs or projections give better anchorage of the steel to concrete providing a mechanical lock that is critical in the overall bearing capacity of any reinforced concrete structure.

The move is expected to improve the safety of buildings under construction in the wake of rising cases of collapsed buildings.

NCA and NEMA scrap off levies

Even though the fees charged by The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and the National Construction Authority (NCA) had been scrapped off as early as last year’s budget reading, the reprieve to private developers only came into effect in January this year.

NEMA has been collecting 5 per cent levies on the cost of projects to certify its environmental fitness while the NCA has been asking for a 0.5 per cent levy on each housing projects being constructed.

The levies were a major hindrance in establishing new businesses and largely contributed to Kenya’s low ranking on the index of ease of doing business.

Kenya Bans Use of Plastic Bags

The new law by Environment CS Judi Wakhungu banning the use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags for commercial and domestic use in Kenya came into effect on the 28th of August 2017.

For the longest time, plastic bags have been a major eyesore in all parts of the country with a major challenge on the mode of disposal.

Drainages in most towns and cities in Kenya remain clogged with the effect being felt during the rains. Reusable bags, though costly to produce may be the long term solution.

There is also a critical need for sensitization on waste management especially in the public space to ensure that littering along roads, drainages and undesignated dumping areas is tackled.

I hold a Bachelors Degree in Construction Management from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and have overseen various construction projects since 2014. Based on my first hand experience in the built environment and through my writing, i hope to offer valid criticism to the way things are, and give valuable insights on how things should be. I am passionate about sustainable development and will always advocate for the interests of the general public. Contact me on: sylvie@buildingcode.co.ke

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