Kiambu County Government and a Multi-Sectoral team have condemned the construction of a 5-storey building in Thindigua Estate, which was on the verge of sinking and collapsing yesterday with all three blocks of 40 units fully occupied.
The building had been in existence for the last 10 years but had started to develop cracks in the walls and foundation, which seemed to be the cause of the weaknesses in the structure.
Salome Muthoni Wainaina, County Executive Committee Member for the Department of Lands, Housing, and Physical Planning, said that they received a call in the morning about a sinking building in the Estate and involved a Multi-Sectoral team to establish the cause.
In their reports, the County CEC and the team discovered that the building had started showing signs of sinking 2 weeks ago during the heavy rainfall that had been experienced.
According to preliminary reports by the CEC, block B has uniform minor and major cracks on walls, window panes, and slabs, which are consistent on all floors, indicating differential settlement of the structure. Some of the columns have significantly been displaced and sunk, but no structural defects have been observed.
The owner and Project Engineer reported that both Architectural and Structural approvals were accorded over 10 years ago, and the Project Engineer confirmed the involvement of professionals throughout the implementation phase of the project.
Salome recommended that, given the structural visual defects observed on block B, the structure should be considered unsafe for occupation or any other use. She advised that the building should be cordoned off for safety concerns, and an evacuation order has since been issued.
As of the morning of April 6th, 2023, all tenants on this particular block had moved out while tenants from the other 2 blocks continued to vacate. She further advised the owner and Project Engineer to prop the structure with mechanical steel jacks to relieve the failing pad footings and columns of the axial loads, to stop further settlement and mitigate the risk of building collapse.