We'll build without Nairobi County approval, architects say

A general view of Nairobi West and the Nairobi Expressway. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Architects say they will advise their clients to proceed with construction regardless of authorisation from Nairobi County, whom they say is sabotaging the electronic approval system.

Through The Architects Alliance (TAA), the built environment professionals say no approval has been done by the county for development projects since March. Some of the delays date as back to October 2022.

Sylvia Kasanga, an architect under the alliance, on Thursday said the resolution stems from fruitless efforts to engage the Nairobi county administration to resolve the matter.

Ms Kasanga said the system being made inoperative for such extended time raises questions. She claimed there were plans to revert the system to manual as seen in some counties.

“Unless of course (it is) by design,” she said “We believe this continued downtime is a lot more than just a regular technical hitch.”

The architects said they had invoked Section 58(6) of the Physical and Land Use Planning Act of 2019 which allows them to proceed with construction even without written approval from the relevant authority.

“Where an applicant does not receive written response for development permission within 60 days, such permission shall be assumed to have been given in terms of this Act,” reads the Section of the Act.

Kasanga said they have resolved that as long this period has elapsed, and all procedures have been followed to seek approvals with no receipt or confirmation of payment from Nairobi City County, they shall advise their clients to direct contractors to proceed on site.

“We shall take legal action for the compensation of losses incurred as a result of stalled approval process, as well as recover the monies paid for approval but continue to be unlawfully held by the Nairobi City County without delivery of services.”

She said TAA is aware of a revenue-related stalemate between county and Kenya Revenue Authority on the payment receiving and receipting process. TAA will not be held hostage by the revenue battle, she said.

Whenever the necessary fees are paid to the Nairobi Planning and Development Management System, the architects say, there is no confirmation payment has been made, without which the approval process cannot proceed.

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