How You Can Determine Whether a Building is Safe for Tenancy
Over the past two months alone, the government has earmarked more than 4,000 buildings for demolition. These buildings have either been constructed on riparian lands, road reserves or just without proper clearance from the government authorities.
According to a report by the Parliamentary Committee on Environment, areas, where buildings sit on river banks, include Lang’ata Road, Limuru Road, Spring Valley, Globe Cinema Round- About, Arboretum Road, Riverside Drive, Westlands, part of South B, Parklands, and Alina Villas in Spring Valley.
Tenancy in such developments has had fatal consequences including loss of lives and property when they collapse. Huruma Estate has for instance experienced several building collapses over the past three years pushing the construction authorities to declare the area unfit for flats.
The county government has in reaction intensified its efforts to prevent the disasters, however, such risky structures are still erected as developers bribe officials to approve the projects. Such a situation, therefore, calls for individual assessment by tenants who would like to rent a house.
According to Judy Itubo, the Quality Assurance and Control assistant at Cytonn Investment, it is indeed easy for a tenant to determine whether a house is suitable for tenancy.
“Any evidence of distress and deterioration such as the presence of cracks, bowing movements, and wet floors should be of major concern,” she says.
Ms. Itubo gives an instance where if the foundation is built on a riparian plot, the drainage usually tends to be poor, resulting in uneven drying and swelling soil within the foundation.
Another indicator according to Ms. Itubo is the existence of molds and peeling of the paint at the bottom edges of the wall.
“The infiltration of water into slabs and walls indicates that the sub-structure is already affected,” she says.
The Cytonn manager recommends that tenants must also take note of the size of a crack in a building before one chose to ignore it.
She indicates that negligible cracks should be less than a millimeter wide, while those that could be repaired easily should be between 1 millimeter and 5 millimeters.
“Moderate cracks of between 5 millimeters and 15 millimeters should be attended to by a professional who can assess their impact and cause,” Ms. Itubo adds.
Tenants should entirely avoid cracks that are 25 millimeters bigger until structural repairs are carried out.
“A crack that is vertical and runs from the top of the wall to the slab is caused by foundation settlement after construction or the lack of walling reinforcement during construction,” she says.
She adds that a crack that runs horizontally at 450 indicates possible problems such as water damage or foundation shift.
While revealing what has worked well for Cytonn projects, Ms. Itubo advises that that developer should have the National Construction Authority officials regularly visiting their projects to ensure quality attained.
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