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Compromise of construction plans leading to collapse of buildings

By Wilson Manishimwe

Added 2nd July 2017 12:28 PM

Speaking during launch of 2017 students design competition at Builders Yard in Nakawa yesterday, Wills Olanya the Association Chairman pointed at the April 2016 incident where the Kyaseka towers, a five storied building next to the popular Ham Towers in Makerere collapsed burying a number of people.

The Uganda Society of Architects (USA) has cautioned building owners to desist from compromising construction plans for their buildings, an issue the body said is the key cause of collapse of buildings. The association said issues such as access, drainage and nature of construction materials among others are crucial but are ignored so that they (owners) can cut down costs.
 
Speaking during launch of 2017 students design competition at Builders Yard in Nakawa yesterday, Wills Olanya the Association Chairman pointed at the April 2016 incident where the Kyaseka towers, a five storied building next to the popular Ham Towers in Makerere collapsed burying a number of people. He attributed the problem to compromise of construction plans by the owners.
 
The students’ competitions under the theme ‘The Small Dwelling Challenge’ have been embraced by engineering students from various universities such as Makerere, Kyambogo, International University of East Africa and Uganda Martyrs. The competitions have been organized by USA in conjunction with Builder’s Yard, a company that supplies building materials such as concrete blocks, water tiles, and cement among others.
 
Other buildings that have previously collapsed include a commercial  building in Kansanga (2011), the Bwebajja building (2004).The 2015 Nasser Road building among others, and left scores of people dead whereas others critically injured.
 
Olanya said unlike in the past where USA was neglected by the Kampala City Authority, currently the KCCA liaises with the body by giving it copies of approved construction plans and sites so that they can advise accordingly.
 
“Currently every site is required to have a site board with names of the professional indicated on it so that incase of collapse resulting from poor planning, he can be prosecuted as well as expelling him  from designing plans,” he said.
 
Olanya also said some people especially commercial building owners defy KCCA orders and end up constructing unapproved sites. He said apart from collapsing, people must acknowledge the need to create escape routes in case of fire outbreak as well as access points for people living with disabilities.
 
Deogratius Mwesigwa Bakore,the business development engineer at Builder’s Yard  told media that the objective of competition is to encourage use of Light Weight Gauge System (use of rolled steel products) as opposed to the traditional of timber and wood while constructing.
 
“Our forests are being depleted through cutting timber, making charcoal and this has degraded the environment. Use of rolled steel helps in saving costs of maintaining buildings as well as increasing their durability. It also helps in reducing pressure put on existing forests for timber,” he stated.
 
He added: “With this system, you can have the set-up of the entire building fabricated in the factory. This also saves the costs of transporting the building materials,” he said.
 
About  the competition
The competition attracts about 50 students and at according to Olanya, each of the contestants or contestants groups will design and construct a one bed room unit in a 20 square meters. He said Builder’s Yard will provide materials as well as expertise.
Bakore said by July 19, all the contestants must have submitted their work and the best three groups or individuals shall be awarded sh7.2m ($2,000), sh3.6m ($1,000) and sh1.8m ($500) to the 1st, second and third contestants.
 
He also noted that the best designs shall be adopted and used for construction by USA and will be showcased at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) show grounds on September 21 this year.
 
Student’s view
Jonathan Kateega, an environmental design student at Uganda Martyrs University said he has been previously exposed to use of steel products at the university and is optimistic that he will win the competition.
 
He said the system is quick and saves time. He also says the use of steel products like metal plates increases the beauty of the building.
 
“Some people are unable to hire qualified people hence end up establishing poor quality buildings,” he added.
 

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