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Let's speak boldly against real estate con games

OPINION
By Nashon Okowa | July 24th 2021

Nashon Okowa, chair Association of Construction Managers of Kenya. [Courtesy]

The evils of our construction and real estate industry are well documented and in the public. There have been numerous unscrupulous construction and real estate ventures that have left many in tears or robbed the public exchequer.

However, the pin-drop silence of key construction and real estate industry stakeholders has been a revelation. Are they shackled in evil?   

Year after year, innocent Kenyans have lost money in real estate con games. Yet, not a single condemnation from key stakeholders in this industry – professional consultants and contractors. Are they helpless? No, they have just chosen the lukewarm path.

The biggest losers in this real estate con game are the embedded stakeholders. [Courtesy]

Nearly all built environment professions have strong professional associations, yet they have constantly chosen silence whenever evil rears its head. They sadly watch like everyone else. This cannot continue.

I have posited before that the biggest losers in this real estate con game are the embedded stakeholders, not the public. When the public grows cold with investing in real estate, buying houses off-plan, it is we project managers, architects, engineers, planners, valuers, surveyors and contractors who suffer frontline losses.

We must begin to unshackle ourselves and speak boldly against evils in this industry. We must begin to defend our livelihood, because it is on the line. 

Yes, we can reprimand our members who get involved in these phony dealings or collapsing buildings. We must have nothing to do with them; withdraw their licences or suspend them, it will be a good deterrent.

We must begin to unshackle ourselves and speak boldly against evils in this industry. [Courtesy]

Even better, there is nothing holding us from jointly giving advisory to all consultants and contractors to avoid working for certain companies known for playing con games with the public. Of course we can all refuse to work for these well-known companies. This is our industry and we must be at the forefront of making it better.

The built environment stakeholders must work hard to eliminate the constant negativity showering this industry. Professional associations of engineers, project managers, architects, surveyors, planners and contractors must confront this elephant in the room. If we continue to recline in our seats, we should as well venture into other industries. Going forward we must speak boldly against fraud and expose rogue contractors and conmen in this industry.

- The writer is chair Association of Construction Managers of Kenya. [email protected] 

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