Kenya turns to drones to enforce construction regulations to battle building collapses

Kenya drones construction

Officials in Kenya will be deploying drones over construction sites across the country as part of a monitoring program to both ensure full compliance with building codes, in addition to cracking down on contractors working without proper permits.

Authorities in Kenya are taking action to halt a series of structural failures around the country that have been blamed on sub-standard building methods or cheap and shoddy materials. The country’s Kiambu county has suffered five major building collapses in the last three months alone, though the safety problem is considered widespread. As a result, Kenya’s National Construction Authority (NCA) has said it will begin flying drones above construction sites around the nation to monitor respect of codes, and identify rogue contractors at work without permits.

In discussions with local journalists this month, NCA officials explained the drones would be deployed above construction sites, where onboard video, surveying, and mapping sensors would be used to check that required building methods and materials were being employed. In some cases, data collected from those flights can be used for verification as structures progress, and as references in the event of collapse later. 

ReadKenya finally legalizes drones 

The NCA’s aerial innovation is an effort to overcome two handicaps it faces in overseeing building activities in the nation. The first challenge is the deregulated nature of the sector, which has been thrown open since 1986 when the legislature dissolved Kenya’s state National Construction Corporation. In addition to that relatively free-for-all atmosphere, the NCA struggles with chronic understaffing, which limits actions it can take. 

Its embrace of drones to keep watch of construction sites across Kenya is an effort to overcome both complications, and to enhance safety by seeing to it requirements and restrictions that do exist are respected.

“On the issue of staffing, we are not able to be in every county,” NCA executive director Maurice Aketch told reporters regarding the use of drones as proxy inspectors. “If there is malpractice by construction workers and contractors, there is an act put in place to take action on them.”

Read: Zipline expands drone deliveries of medical supplies to Kenya 

The NCA’s turn to drones in construction monitoring is the most recent in a series of moves across Kenya to exploit the advantages of UAV technologies.

Kenya Airlines, for example, has launched a drone training program for people seeking to start delivery, mapping, surveying, and other aerial service companies. The national carrier also working towards its introduction of air taxi services in 2025. 

Several non-governmental organizations are using craft to turn back environmental damage, meanwhile, and many counties in Keyna are also using the UAVs to battle severe malaria problems. Authorities have also joined peers around Africa turning to specialized instant logistics companies like Zipline and Swoop Aero to operate drone deliveries of healthcare supplies to remote and underserved communities.

Photo: Amani Nation/Unsplash

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