Built to fail: Audit finds 100 faulty Mombasa buildings

Mombasa city

An aerial view of Mombasa city. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Mombasa County government has suspended the construction of about 100 properties due to non-compliance with regulations, including lack of approvals and poor workmanship. 

Last month, Governor Abdulswamad Nassir signed an executive order establishing a 15-member task force led by engineers from different departments to inspect buildings under construction to see whether developers are complying with rules.

On Thursday, he received an interim report revealing the state of construction and how property owners were building without seeking approvals from relevant authorities.

Mr Nassir said 97 properties are being constructed illegally.

“Owners decided to construct without seeking approvals or even applying from the county government. This is an illegality. The construction should be stopped immediately. We will give them seven days to apply for approvals. Inspections will continue,” he said.

“The most shocking is a property in Majengo King’orani where despite a stop order, the task force [observed] the construction is still ongoing. The construction of the nine-storey building was stopped because of poor workmanship.”

Mr Nassir said another owner of a building in Old Town is adding two floors on an existing structure, whereas in Likoni, a building that had partially collapsed was still under construction. 

“For properties, we have issued a stop order. We are seeking the immediate arrest of its owners and in the event the buildings cannot be salvaged, we will demolish [them]. We cannot allow people to build without seeking approvals,” he said.

Three hazardous buildings are being constructed without approvals and failed to meet the bare minimum safety standards.

Mr Nassir urged the owners of the three properties – plot numbers XV1/900 in Majengo King’orani, XXV1/6 in Old Town and another in Likoni – to present themselves to the county offices.

“You are endangering the lives of people. Better safe than sorry. We cannot start asking questions after a calamity. What happened in other counties should be an eye-opener for us,” he added.

Another 62 buildings violated the terms of the approvals and added more floors.

“For the 97 buildings that have been constructed without the requisite approvals, I will not wait for disasters to happen to take action. I hereby order and direct the immediate issuance of stop orders on these structures and immediate regularisation,” he said.

The County Inspectorate Department was directed to strictly enforce the directive without fear or favour.

“Mombasa must be a county of good order. The owners of the 62 buildings gave out drawings of something different from what they are constructing,” the governor said. 

“This means people decide to put up a two-floor property and the design is in such a manner but later construct haphazardly as they want.”

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