Property developers have been faulted for persistent non-compliance with regulations, which threatens to undermine infrastructure development and workers’ welfare.
The concern was raised by housing experts on Thursday last week during an inspection of construction works on public projects in the city of Kigali.
The inspection is being carried out by engineers from the Institute of Engineers in Rwanda (IER) under the assignment of the Government.
The inspection is expected to cover the whole country, exploring the level of compliance to housing laws, safety and security of workers and the state of the infrastructures being put up.
Other issues being looked at include soil tests and geotechnical report for some sites, tests of materials to be used in construction, and safety of equipment and first aid boxes to help those who may be injured in the construction process.
On Day 1 of the excercise, inspectors uncovered several non-compliance malpractices from six infrastructure development projects in the city.
They include big buildings as well as water supply projects involved in laying pipes and mechanic as well as civil works.
At some sites, inspectors said, they found no engineers as construction works were being carried out.
Workers are not protected while some workers are not being accountable of what the law requires them to do, they said.
“The main issue we are seeing from sites is noncompliance, we are finding on site practitioners who are not registered, engineers who are not on site as activities are ongoing,” said Eng. Papias Dedeki Kazawadi, the president of the Institution of Engineers.
He said that there is huge impact associated to lack of engineers on site and employing those who are not registered.
At some point, inspectors said the materials being used was substandard with questionable durability.
“The impact is that what is being done is not monitored and administered appropriately, meaning there a risk for the investor who is injecting in money, we have also seen that most workers are not protected and risk of death on the sites is very high,” added Kazawadi
“Safety should be number one and quality should be number two because at the end of the day this is what will give the output of fit-for-purpose and value-for-money and this is what will contribute to the national development being advocated for and being taken forward,” he noted
He said that the inspection would serve as an awareness on the side of stakeholders involved in the housing sector as well as the general public.
Their final report will be handed to the Government for consideration.
“Our intention is not to close, not to punish but create awareness and inform the public to engage professionals who are registered and are recognised by the law, that is the only solution that will guarantee the security and safety for their money and for their investment,” he added
Another consideration is the enforcement of other related laws and regulations such as urban planning code, building code, rural and urban settlement law all providing certain regulations and requirement for certain projects to be respected.
“Our intention is to see and to inform the Government the level of compliance,” he said, adding that they will be looking at different laws including procurement law, environment law, contract law, engineering law among others.
Laurance Ondimu, an engineer supervising the National Archives building in Kacyiru said the inspection opened their eyes.
He said it reminded them about the responsibility to protect workers and use standard materials.
Janvier Muhire, the Acting Director of Building Regulation and Professional Services Unit, at Rwanda Housing Authority, says that the inspection seeks to assess compliance in the housing sector and build capacity for the engineers’ institute.
“The inspection reminds engineers on the site to be more compliant, it will also open our eyes as engineers, they will submit the report to the Rwanda Housing Authority,” he said.