Death trap school building not approved

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Death trap school building not approved

A crowd at the scene of the collapsed classroom at Precious Talent Academy in Nairobi on September 23, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL 

The proprietor of Precious Talent Primary School in Nairobi faces prosecution after the construction regulator said no approvals were given for the building that collapsed and killed seven pupils on Monday.

The National Construction Authority (NCA) said it had no records on the two-storey building in Dagoretti’s Ng’ando area that caved in a few minutes to 7am.

Legal proceedings could be initiated against the school owner and professionals involved in the construction of the building.

“We require all projects to be approved by the NCA so we can give a clearance certificate. We do not have details of the collapsed building at Precious Talent School in our records,” said NCA acting chief executive Maurice Akech.

NCA is mandated to clear builders and contractors so as to eliminate rogues and malpractices in building and construction.

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Many people interviewed on the scene claimed the structure was a product of poor engineering and workmanship, citing the classroom floors made of wood and concrete slab held together by wire mesh.

But the school’s owner, Moses Wainaina, termed the collapse an “accident”, which he blamed on Nairobi City County.

Mr Wainaina said the county government recently dug a sewer line behind the classrooms, weakening the building’s foundation.

Mr Akech, the NCA chief executive, said the regulator was waiting for a forensic structural audit to establish the real cause of the collapse.

“What’s clear is that the structure wasn’t done in the correct manner such that even the concrete slab just splits apart on hitting the ground,” he said.

A building, he said, can collapse due to substandard materials, lack of professional input of engineers and poor workmanship.

The collapse could also be a structural design problem or an implementation problem where the contractor fails to follow what has been prescribed by the engineer and designer.

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