Buildings on Riparian Land Come Down in Nairobi Demolitions

nairobi demolitions

With the recent Nairobi demolitions taking place in the country, a number of people are using the word “riparian” and some have no idea what it means. Riparian land simply means land that is between a river or stream. Building on such land could cause potential danger in that it weakens the building’s structure making it unsafe for people to occupy it. Why then do people construct their buildings in unsafe places? 

Who approves the buildings for construction?

building approvals nairobi

When you decide to construct, you need to follow the right procedures. This will ensure you don’t incur massive losses when demolitions are going on. With the assumption that you have already purchased the piece of land, you need to submit your application to the National Construction Authority. After all the necessary documentation is filled, the form is returned with the receipt of payment for the fees for approval.  

The application should have a copy of the architect’s license. This application is sent to different departments for approval: Public Health, Water Authority, Electricity Authority, Physical Planning, and Road Department.  

The departments will take at least a week to make approvals then will give the application to the technical committee to make its approvals.

After this, the application goes back to the Nairobi City County with the plans for the structure for a second approval. Construction will only begin after this approval. NEMA will do the environmental inspections to make sure that the building is constructed within the stipulated requirements.  

Following this process will help you know whether you are building on the right reserve as opposed to riparian land or an area that the road will pass through.

What happens before demolitions?

Before a building is marked for demolition, a couple of steps take place.


This happens in 2 phases: surveying the building. This will help in knowing the building’s material, any toxic chemicals, the drainage conditions surrounding the building, traffic situation, and how the neighbourhood will be affected during the demolitions in terms of the vibrations, noise, and dust.

The second one is the structural surveying which is to determine the condition of the building, the construction method used, the condition of the base, underground tanks and the vaults.  

Preparing for the Demolition

preparing for the demolition

Contrary to popular belief, demolitions don’t happen out of the blue. It is a process that needs planning and preparation. Put into consideration the distance from adjacent buildings, streets and other structures. Consider what procedure they will use, safety measures in place, how to handle the debris after demolition and the amount of time it will take to complete the project. 

Items to salvage before including tiles, bricks, cabinets, light fixtures, sinks, doors, appliances, stones, windows, wood flooring and toilets.

Clearing Harmful Materials and Safety Measures

As a building owner, knowing safety measures for you and your workers will help the process run smoothly. For instance, you should clear any flammable materials such as timber, fuel, radioactive metal and asbestos. Have equipment for firefighting as a precautionary measure during the demolitions.

The workers who are working on the demolition will face issues such as dust, chemicals, poor ventilation and exposure to noise. Having a first aid kit on site to handle any emergencies will be important.

What Happens With the Building Debris After a Demolition?

After Nairobi Demolitions

The size of the building and the damage will determine what will happen to the debris. People can re-use the rubble from building demolitions and sell some parts as scrap. Most times, it is thrown in a landfill. Concrete works best for paving, you can sell steel as scrap or make steel structures like beams. The same applies to copper.

It is hard to reuse glass due to its sensitive nature in terms of storage. If the wood has rusty nails, it is hard to re-use it. Pulling the nails out is time-consuming and doesn’t make a lot of sense to do it. When it comes to roofing material, some might have asbestos which is harmful. You might need a permit when disposing of it.

Maureen Mbithe
Content Writer at BuyRentKenya
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