Laxity in construction sector regulation is unacceptable

Two people died and sixteen others sustained serious injuries when a church under construction in Muhanga District caved in last week.

Two people died and sixteen others sustained serious injuries when a church under construction in Muhanga District caved in last week.

Preliminary findings from the police show that use of substandard materials was the cause of the incident, which comes weeks after the engineers body embarked on a campaign to deal with quack practitioners in the sector.

The Muhanga incident is a red-flag that more needs to be done to fully enforce laws that govern the construction industry, one of the most flourishing sectors in the country. Such incidents cast a dark shadow on a rather vibrant sector, which has attracted local and international investors.

At the end of police investigations, several questions must be answered about the Muhanga incident. Who authorised the construction of the church? Who was the site engineer? Are they registered and what is the source of the poor construction material? Police findings also showed that the amount of cement used was less than what was required to hold the pillars.

This justifies concerns that poor supervision and lack of enforcement of standards is a big challenge that the sector regulatory bodies must address urgently.

Those found responsible should face punitive measures to send out a clear message that unprofessional conduct in the sector will not be tolerated.

The Institution of Engineers Rwanda (IER), an umbrella organisation for professional engineers, should work closely with the police to stump out quack engineers or members who engage in unprofessional conduct.

The concerns that the profession has been infiltrated by quacks should be treated as a matter of urgency.

Statistics from IER show that the number of engineers in Rwanda is growing, but only a few abide by the rules that regulate the profession. Engineers who engage in unprofessional conduct should have their licences revoked, among other measures.

 

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