The government has announced plans to introduce new standards and codes for the construction industry to address safety in construction work. Known as Eurocodes, the new set of rules will provide a common reference point for all contractors and consultants in the country – replacing the British Standards that have guided the local construction industry for half a century.
Public Works PS John Lonyangapuo said the implementation of Eurocodes will help address safety in construction work while enhancing professionalism to wipe out shoddy work. "We have witnessed collapsing buildings in Nairobi, Kiambu, Embakasi and leaning towers in Mombasa. We expect that with advent of Eurocodes similar problems will be addressed," said Prof Lonyangapuo in a statement.
According to Clement Miheso, manager engineering standards at the Kenya Bureau of Standards, British Standards (BS) and codes shall be replaced with Eurocodes by 2013. This means that local institutions offering engineering related courses will have to replace their BS teaching systems with Eurocodes. On the other hand, government departments and private companies offering services in engineering and related fields will have to find ways to embrace and adopt Eurocodes before the changeover.
Introduced in the United Kingdom in March 2010, Eurocodes are Europe's first set of harmonised technical rules for the design of buildings and structures across the continent. They consist of two parts; the general part, which is the same for all participating countries, and the national annex, which adapts the local needs of the country.
Kenya will develop its own national annexes to accommodate the local conditions of the country. In December 2011, Eurocodes PLUS, a revolutionary product that digitises all 15,000 pages of the Eurocodes was lauched by the British Standards Institution. Eurocodes PLUS is aimed to help organisations reduce the cost of implementing the Euro-standard systems by making them easier to understand and more accessible for users.