New law seeks to set standards in housing industry in Kenya

The government has released draft laws aimed at regulating the housing industry.

Unveiling of the regulations follows Thursday’s cabinet approval of the draft laws. The cabinet also authorised re-zoning of Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and other urban areas to accommodate the rising urban population.

The Built Environment Bill 2012, the National Building regulations and the National Building Maintanance policy 2012 were published yesterday inviting the public to give their views before they are tabled in Parliament for approval.

Built Environment Bill 2012 is meant to help bring order and sanity in the fast-growing construction industry by establishing minimum standards and practices.

It also puts in place the Building Authority of Kenya to “control, manage and enforce laws in the built environment by setting up building standards for maintenance, registration, certification, water, energy, safety and health.” The authority will also play an oversight role in both national and county governments.

The National Building Regulations 2012 seeks to review the outdated rules and regulations (Building Code that is a replica of the 1948 British Building Regulations) to keep abreast with the new building technologies as well as design methods and innovative building systems.

The National Building Maintenance policy 2012 seeks to ensure regular and consistent maintenance of buildings throughout their life span.

“Lack of maintenance reduces the life of a building and in some cases renders the building unsafe for occupation,” reads the notice in part.

Effective immediately

The regulation set out re-zoning of urban areas to ensure that towns are developed in a controlled manner and it becomes effective immediately with line ministries expected to implement it.

“Relevant sectoral laws on land use will be revised so that by 2030 all metropolitan and other urban areas will be well planned and zoning will be properly effected,” it notes in part.

The City Council of Nairobi (CCN) recently revealed its plans to transform the city in an effort to accommodate surging rural-urban migration.

According to the recently released CCN’s strategic plan 2012/2017, Nairobi will be divided into five sub-metro units, each of which will have a municipality status and powers to deliver services within their areas of jurisdiction.

“Each sub-metro will have five zones headed by a manager and five wards headed by a ward coordinator, that is, 58 councilors/assembly members,” reads the strategic plan.

The designed structure focuses on aligning the council functions with the requirements of a county government as opposed to two governing arms — policy and executive.

The structure is also considered decentralisation of services as well as a flat structure with staff distributed across the units hence accountability of output from each employee.

The structure is also considered decentralisation of services as well as a flat structure with staff distributed across the units promoting accountability of output from each employee in terms of effectiveness.

A strategy of outsourcing services will be adopted, creating jobs for other agencies and enabling the council to concentrate on its core functions; public health, environment conservation, planning and development, education, trade and development, urban agriculture culture and social services.





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