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Experts explain why Kinoo building is tilting

The building's pillar started unbuckling on Saturday night at 11 pm. [Source: Doctah254, Twitter]

Residents of Kinoo, at the border of Nairobi and Kiambu Counties, are in panic after another residential building under construction tilted.

This becomes the latest case of tilting building months to completion of its construction after a five-storey structure was demolished after partially collapsing towards the end of last year.

Pictures of the four-storey building making rounds on social media showed an incomplete building leaning on a nearby flat.

The police have cordoned off the area. [Source: User Generated Content]

Residents of the area say the unoccupied building’s pillars began to buckle at 11.30 pm on Saturday night and the police intervened by evacuating tenants of the neighbouring building.

according to a site billboard, the four-storey building in question was a residential unit by Matren Limited designed by Petacon Designs, whose contractor was Wakefield Engineering Construction Limited.

The building whose construction was about 70 per cent at the time it tilted had been approved by the National Construction Authority (NCA) and the Nairobi City County (NCC).

However, it is not clear why the building was approved by Nairobi City County when it is located in Kiambu County.

The four-storey building in question was a residential unit by Matren limited. [Source: User-Generated Content, Facebook]

In a statement dated March 6, Maurice Aketch, NCA executive director has confirmed the incident saying, efforts to ensure the safety of adjacent buildings and surrounding development is not affected

“The site of the incident has been cordoned off by the National Police Service, county officials, National Building Inspectorate, National Disaster Management unit among others,” Aketch stated.

According to the Institute of Engineers in Kenya (IEK) chair for Policy Research and Advocacy, Justus Otwani, there has been an increase in collapsing buildings, which he has attributed to developers cutting down construction costs.

“Collapsing structures is now a concern for engineers in the industry. Buildings are tilting and collapsing because most developers engage qualified professionals but dismiss them once the structure has been approved by the authorities. They then opt to bring in cheap ‘fundi’,” Otwani told The Standard.

The four-storey building in question was a residential unit by Matren limited designed by Petacon designs, whose contractor was Wakefield Engineering Construction Limited. [Source; User-Generated Content, Facebook]

In a phone interview on Sunday noon, Otwani said that the building’s tilt suggests a faulty foundation.

He adds that there could be a possibility of improper Geotechnics (the branch of civil engineering concerned with the study and modification of soil and rocks).

Engineer Otwani has called on county governments to thoroughly inspect buildings before approving their construction, adding the institute would give a detailed report after visiting the site on Monday.

In September last year, another building under construction partly collapsed, stirring an uproar on social media. Kenyans online blamed the ignorant authorities over the low-quality buildings being erected in parts of the country.

However, three days later, the building was safely demolished.