How to avoid common, expensive construction errors
By Fidelis Sakwa
Over the years, collapse of buildings has been witnessed across the country with most typically at construction stage but some have occurred in buildings under habitation. The failures have resulted in fatalities, insurmountable financial losses, severe injuries, and consequential damage to surrounding buildings, infrastructure and environment.
The quality of constructed buildings can be represented as an entire spectrum of varying degrees from a collapsed building to a perfectly well constructed structure and every time we go to an office, hotel, visit friends and relatives we are at some point on that continuum – either very safe or about to be exposed to an imminent potential disaster.
A national Construction Authority 2020 survey study showed that poor workmanship accounted for 35% of cause of failures, substandard material for 28% and poor structural design for 25%. A Critical evaluation of the root cause will show that these problems emanate from non-involvement of qualified key construction professionals – engineers and architects. It’s unfathomable that one would put up a structure costing tens or hundreds of millions of shillings and avoid these professionals simply because they wish to avoid professional fees. Other gaps exist in design, supervision to enforce designs and controls at sites touching on various facets of the entire construction process.
The second aspect of quality of construction materials will form the core of this discussion. One of the key materials used in construction is concrete with constituents comprising cement sand, aggregates and water. The use of these materials and the builders knowhow play a significant role on how the structure will be able to resist applied loads.
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