Lives First! KCCA Halts Renovation Of Cracked Lotis Tower

Lives First! KCCA Halts Renovation Of Cracked Lotis Tower

By Spy Uganda

Kampala: Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has blocked renovations on the 14-storeyed Lotis Tower over investigations of the construction defects of the building that developed cracks throwing tenants into panic mode.

This comes after the KCCA Building Controls Officer Peter Paul Wanyama confirmed that the dangerously cracked pillars of the relatively new building were posing a great danger thus the need to seal it off so as to ensure the safety of the people operating therein.

Following the development, KCCA recommended that the developers of the building submit a detailed report from professional structural engineers on the cause of a defect, proposed methods to rectify the identified defects and permit among other requirements which prompted them to hire ROKO Construction Ltd and other independent engineers to investigate the matter.

After their investigations, the engineers noted that the cracks that were spotted in the building were minor and can be fixed adding that there are several causes of such cracks which include heat and uncured plaster on the wall with no need for alarm.

According to sources, 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 and the National Building Review Board (NBRB) evacuation orders were not technical-based since KCCA and the board had not conducted investigations into the matter.
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.

Lotis Towers is a 14-storied upscale building at plot 16 MacKinnon road in Nakasero and was commissioned in 2019. It houses the Judicial Service Commission-JSC, Cairo Bank International, British American Tobacco-BAT, and the Democratic Governance Facility-DGF among other offices.

The matter of the cracked pillars was brought to the Ministry of Works’ attention by the JSC, after which the ministry carried out an initial inspection and found out that the cracks in the pillar had progressed for more than a month, and similar though not very severe were also found in some pillars in the basement.

From this assessment, it was recommended that occupants should immediately vacate the building for their safety,  the slab that is supported by this cracked pillar be immediately supported to avoid any dynamic loads, and a technical report from the project consultant about the failures observed be obtained and the proposed remedial actions are taken.

These recommendations were taken on by the National Buildings Review Board, which works through the area Building Committee, to effect the recommendations.

Paul Rusoke a member of the Kampala Building Committee, later revealed that this building was constructed and occupied before their Building Committee was put in place.

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