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Construction agency in new push to have developers go green

By Mumbi Kinyua | January 27th 2017

Property developers may soon have to get their buildings certified as eco-friendly before tenants are allowed to move in.

Kenya Green Building Society (KGBS), a body that pushes for the Kenyan property industry to have environmentally friendly buildings, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Construction Authority (NCA) to compel more property developers to adopt the green building concept.

“Before a building is certified, the go-ahead has to come from KGBS. The cost of not going green is bigger than the cost of going green,” said KGBS Chair Elizabeth Chege at the MoU signing ceremony in Nairobi Thursday.

She said for a building to be certified as green, the lobby will look at accessibility and proximity to means of transport, availability of water supply, energy and building management.

Ms Chege said the new requirement would also apply for existing buildings as well as Government-owned ones in town centres.

“There are extensive measures to make existing buildings to go green. It will be an opportunity to attract the Government, which occupies many buildings, especially in towns,” she said.

The new development comes at a time when many buildings in urban centres have been labelled as death traps.

Cutting corners

Cases of buildings collapsing, resulting in many deaths have of late been on the rise as different Government agencies trade blame.

Inspection of buildings for safety has not been consistent and population pressure in urban areas has meant that law enforcers are not accorded time to ensure full compliance.

Despite NCA admitting that it would be hard to enforce green technology, especially on account that currently, the law does not directly require buildings to adopt the new building model, the agency promised to push for its implementation.

The authority’s Executive Director Daniel Manduku warned developers during the MoU signing against “cutting corners” when incorporating green technology.

“A very strong enforcement will be used to ensure people do not cut corners. If you break any of the regulations, action will be taken,” said Mr Manduku.

He added that with rapid rates of expansion of the construction industry in the country, there is need to adopt green energy to keep up with global standards of excellence.

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