The National Construction Authority’s Construction Research Dissemination Forum was officially opened on Tuesday, 19th January 2021 by the Public Works Principal Secretary Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Dr. Gordon Kihalangwa.
The forum, taking place across the entire week, is in duo-conference format, where guests are both physically attending and streaming it live from across the globe. The event is providing a platform to industry stakeholders to deliberate findings and recommendations of the various studies that the Authority has undertaken recently. These are: Research on Building Failures, A Study on the Involvement of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Construction Industry in Kenya, Appropriate Building Materials and Technologies: Promoting Models for Affordable Housing; and A Research study on “Construction Waste in Kenya: The need for Sustainable Waste Management Practices
In his key note address that was also broadcast live on KBC TV, Dr. Kihalangwa underscored the importance of research in the construction industry.
“Construction remains an anchor for the development of all other sectors, and therefore construction research is an integral part of strategic planning. Moreso, construction research, taking into account pertinent socio-economic realities, can be used to guide and inform public policy, which impacts the entire economy. Strong, effective polices are evidence-informed policies, and thus we cannot escape research,” he said.
Alos present at the event were NCA Board Chair Qs. David Gaitho, NCA Executive Director Eng. Maurice Akech, Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) President Arch. Mugure Njendu and Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK) President Qs. James Munene.
Qs. Gaitho spoke on the issues that had informed the research studies, gaps that had been identified and needed urgent address. “This is perhaps the first time in the country’s history that an all-encompassing study on building failures has been conducted. Even more importantly, the Authority is committed to not just disseminating the research findings but ensuring the very tenets of the study are enshrined in policy, to guarantee that we start effecting the necessary changes immediately.” He continued, “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) form a very critical sector that offers employment to majority of the unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled individuals. Despite this, the sector is still dogged by limited success of its enterprise. Thus, the aim of the study on MSMEs was the development of a working framework that will allow MSMEs in construction to flourish by exploring ways of enhancing their production environment, assessing the adequacy and appropriateness of the legal and institutional framework and finally formulating a model for the enhancement of MSMEs’ involvement in the construction industry in Kenya.”
Eng. Akech revealed the impact of the studies on how NCA articulates its mandate. “Notwithstanding the impact on the construction industry as well as the larger economy, these research findings also contribute to the optimization of Authority activities. For example, the Research on Building Failures provided critical information that informed the drafting of the National Building Regulations, also referred to as the Building Code. We are about to embark on the stakeholder validation stage and hope to finalize the same in the coming weeks. Also illuminating was the study on MSMEs, which revealed that their products are good, but not standard, and thus cannot be utilized for the mass market. That research allowed the Authority to develop the Jua Kali Production Manual for the Components of Affordable Housing Programme (AHP). This manual, which was presented to His Excellency the President, prescribes those standards which will allow MSME products to become conventional. To bring the point home, a door produced by a fundi in Ol Kalau can be bought by a developer building his marionette in Garissa.”
Attendees at the forum include stakeholders in academic fraternity, professional associations, research institutions and representatives from both the public and private sectors.
The forum is streaming live on the Authority’s Facebook and YouTube pages, both named National Construction Authority, with live tweeting on the NCA Twitter account, @NCAKenya. The forum will also be broadcast live on KBC TV on Thursday, 21st January 2021 from 9am to 12pm.