The occupants of an apartment in Ruaka, Kiambu County, on Wednesday woke up to a rude shock after ongoing excavation on an adjacent plot saw their perimeter wall and a section of the car park collapse.
The occupants of Grafions Apartment were awakened at 2.15am by a loud bang, whose source they could not immediately place.
“I woke up, peeped outside and everything seemed normal. I went back to bed, but almost immediately, the night guard raised the alarm,” said a resident who requested anonymity.
The guard told him that a section of the car park had collapsed, and that they needed to move their vehicles.
At the parking, three vehicles were left hanging precariously while one was buried under the rubble.
The vehicle was later lifted out, drawing large crowds.
Although the National Construction Authority (NCA) ordered the occupants to get out of the building, some were still in there when the Nation visited.
The NCA has ordered an investigation to ascertain the safety of the building, which is supported by pillars, following the incident.
Mr Moses Nyakiongora, the secretary of the National Buildings Inspectorate (NBI) said its safety cannot be guaranteed, despite efforts by engineers to prop it up.
“Although the building looks strong, it has been affected by the neighbouring excavation, which has not been properly done,” he observed.
“You cannot have such a deep excavation next to an existing building without doing shoring. It was very poor work,” he said.
The contractor had already started constructing, an action the NBI condemned, saying the inspectorate will release a report on the construction in a week’s time.
“We shall check the foundation of the adjacent building and see whether the excavated works can be salvaged,” he said, adding that investigations have begun, and that the agency will take an action against the contractor if found culpable of negligence.
He added that the soil in Ruaka in unstable because of groundwater from septic tanks, and boreholes sunk in the area, and could have contributed to the collapse.