Real estate stakeholders seek new laws to fence out quacks

Friday, January 13th, 2023 10:00 | By
A gated community. PHOTO/Courtesy

Real estate sector is poised for accelerated growth due to multiple factors but stakeholders want the government in the New Year to fast-track passage of relevant legislative proposal to ensure sanity prevails. They argue that adoption of well-designed building regulations and transparent enforcement will get rid of unqualified developers and quacks from the sector.

Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) president Wilson Mugambi said though the sector is on the rebound after two years of sharp drop due to Covid19 pandemic, the gains are threatened by lack of stiff regulations and transparent implementation by crooks.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the Kenyan real estate industry recorded a 6.4 per cent growth, a bounce back in the first quarter of 2022 after two years of a sharp drop during the pandemic. However, the sector was slower in the third quarter of 2022, recording a 4.7 per cent growth. This was mirrored in the consumption of cement and imports of construction materials.

“The year 2023 looks promising for the real estate sector. The election period is over and the new government is well settled in. Kenya remains a key investment hub in the region with real estate investment having great,” said Mugambi.

He singled out the much-delayed passage of The Building Code as the first step towards eliminating the menace if the tempo of growth for the sector this year is to be sustained. “The association is ready to support efforts to ensure the sector flourishes and upholds the integrity of construction guidelines and standards,” he said in an interview with Boma, a magazine for architects.

Building Code

 National Building Regulations (National Building Code) 2020 is intended to replace the decades-old Building Code, according to certified Construction Works Inspector Michael Otechi.

The decades old regulation is officially known as the The Local Government (Adoptive By-Laws)(Building) Order 1968 and the Local Government (Adoptive By-Laws)(Grade II Building) Order 1968.

He says where-as every student in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) worth their salt will tell you that the Building Code is the Bible or Quran  - depending on faith - efforts to up-date this set of laws have dragged for the last couple of decades, with lackluster efforts by successive governments, to conclude the process.

He is of the opinion the country’s industry professionals and other concerned citizens should spearhead initiatives that will begin bringing Kenya’s building codes and regulatory system up to par, and forming collaborative partnerships with other building and fire safety stakeholders.

A real estate research analyst Kevin Wekesa said increased amendments of statutory regulations in the sector will be a driver of the sector.

He singled out one such regulation as the Stamp Duty Act which will enhance increased homeownership uptake and ultimately increase property transaction volumes in the sector.

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