The game is over for shady contractors.
The National Construction Authority Act, Number 41 of 2011 is set to streamline, overhaul and regulate the industry in Kenya.
The industry has for many years suffered poor legislative framework and has been dominated by quacks and faced stiff competition from foreign contractors who are seen to offer cheaper and more quality work.
The new Act is a win for the public as it guarantees safety.
All contractors must be registered with the Authority, meaning that shady contractors and quacks will be locked out of the industry.
The Act contains provisions on quality and safety standards of any construction work.
The Authority is also charged with passing regulations from time-to-time on construction.
The Act will also play a big role in streamlining the quality of construction work.
The Authority has wide-ranging powers including accrediting training institutions that offer courses related to construction.
The new Act is also a win for local contractors as some of its provisions serve as a protective mechanism to the industry.
The local contractors face a lot of competition from foreign entrants most of whom undercut their charges. Bilateral agreements between Kenya and other governments, especially relating to construction, have opened the market to a lot of competition. .
The Act establishes the National Construction Authority (NCA) which has been given powers to regulate buildings, roads, dams and telecommunication apparatus amongst others. Its functions are to generally regulate the industry (including maintaining a register of contractors), promote the construction industry, ensure that quality is maintained, accredit training institutions and create a construction code.
The Act ensures that the board composition is as wide as possible taking care to ensure that most stakeholders are included as members of the board.
Board members include the permanent secretaries from the ministries of public works, roads, local government, treasury and housing.
Representation from professional bodies also ensures as the board must also include representatives from the architectural, law, quantity survey and engineering professional bodies.
The board is further comprises a representative from the Kenya Federation of Master Builders and the Kenya Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors.
The Minister shall also nominate two members from two associations with a special interest in the construction industry…this may include interior architects.
All contractors must be registered and it is an offence to carry out any construction works without registration. Contractors include those doing any construction works as well as suppliers of material and labour. However, small projects like construction of residential homes are not catered for in the Act.
Also of interest is that contractors may be required to part with as much as Sh25,000 for a contract worth Sh5 million as the minister may elect to charge a levy known as a construction levy to contractors at an amount not exceeding 0.5 per cent on every contract that exceeds Sh5 million.
This means that the construction levy is on a graduated scale…the more you make the more you may be required to part with.
The Act is welcome, perhaps the only losers in this are the quacks and the unqualified contractors.