Contractors operating in Kenya will undergo rigorous scrutiny and fresh registration to ensure only competent contractors are allowed to carry out any construction work in the country.
The exercise, which is set to commence on February 1, will be conducted by the National Construction Authority (NCA) as part of its effort to weed out quarks and curb collapsing buildings accidents.
NCA data shows that only 20 per cent of the estimated 10,000 contractors in Kenya are genuine – meaning the local construction industry is largely driven by quacks.
According to NCA chief executive Daniel Manduku, the exercise is being undertaken in line with the Authority’s laws and regulations that came into force last year and is meant to weed out bogus contractors who have been blamed for sub-standard construction.
“This will ensure public safety by weeding out quacks and shady contractors…All contractors must be registered and it is an offence to carry out any construction works without registration,” said Mr Manduku.
NCA has directed construction firms in building, electrical, civil, mechanical and specialist works to register afresh by June 30 to help prepare the country’s first register of contractors.
Contractors will pay registration fees of between Sh10,000 and Sh50,000 depending on their category, while annual practice licence renewal will cost between Sh5,000 and Sh10,000.
Foreign contractors will pay registration fee of Sh100,000 for listing and will be restricted to categories of projects they win.
Under the new law, at least one director or partner of a company applying for registration must hold technical qualifications, skills and experience.
Anybody found undertaking construction works without a valid registration certificate will pay a fine of Sh1 million, a three-year jail term or both.
The NCA Act defines construction works as “the construction, extension, installation, repair, maintenance, renewal, removal, renovation, alteration, dismantling, or demolition of any structure above or below ground level.”
The authority has also drafted rules that require foreign companies seeking construction projects in the country to cede at least 30 per cent to local shareholders or form joint ventures.
This, according to Mr Manduku, will guard Kenyan contractors from unfair competition from foreign contractors.