KCCA blocks renovation of cracked Lotis building

The Lotis Towers in Kampala has been in the spotlight over construction defects. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Earlier this month, the spokesperson for NBRB, Mr Herbert Zziwa, told Daily Monitor that the body is about to finish the construction of the quality assurance centre where the standard of all building materials will be conducted.
  • A developer, who preferred anonymity, said a team of engineers from Roko conducted an investigation to establish the causes of the default and in their report, the developed cracks were merely on the surface.

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has halted renovations on the 14-storeyed Lotis Tower pending investigations on the construction defects of the building. 
This comes after the authority refuted findings from the tower developers regarding cracks on one of the columns.

In an August 17 letter, a copy seen by this publication, KCCA had recommended that Lotigo Property Ltd submits, among others, a detailed report from professional structural engineers on the cause of defect, proposed methods to rectify the identified defects as well as an application for a building permit to undertake remedial works.
The tower developers hired ROKO Construction Ltd and other independent engineers to investigate the matter, and their reports indicated that the cracks were minor and can be fixed.

Findings
A developer, who preferred anonymity, said a team of engineers from Roko conducted an investigation to establish the causes of the default and in their report, the developed cracks were merely on the surface. 
The source also said the developers hired Proman Consult, an independent private company, to carry out further investigations and their report had similar results as Roko’s.
“We hired two teams of engineers, including a team from the contractor and the reports were clearly indicating that the cracks were not structural but surface cracks. Using those reports, we had embarked on renovating and rectifying the damages but KCCA stopped all the activities pending investigations” the source said.

According to the source, the National Building Review Board (NBRB) evacuation orders were not technical-based since KCCA and the board had not conducted investigations into the matter.
Efforts to get a comment from Roko construction spokesperson, Mr Bernard Muhangi,  yesterday were futile as he had not responded to our calls by press time.
However, in an earlier interview with this newspaper,  he said although the cracks were visible, it wasn’t a matter to raise an alarm of evacuation as it could be rectified as normal business proceeds. 

Since the evacuation orders, some tenants, including the Judicial Service Commission and Cairo Bank are considering transferring offices from the building.
On Wednesday, the acting director for engineering at KCCA, Mr Jacob Byamukama told the Parliament’s committee on Physical infrastructure that a team of private engineers was studying the building, especially on the affected floors, adding that the team is expected to come up with a thorough report on the matter.
The authority said the building is under investigation led by Prof Jackson Mwakali and Mr Ivan Lule while the  final recommendations and way forward will be announced after the engineers have filed their report.

Intervention 

Earlier this month, the spokesperson for NBRB, Mr Herbert Zziwa, told Daily Monitor that the body is about to finish the construction of the quality assurance centre where the standard of all building materials will be conducted. He also said new interventions would be taken to reinforce the existing laws and structures to solve building problems.
 

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