Safety Alert at Waterlogged Centric Courts in Thindigua as Evacuation Order Sparks Tension Among Tenants Over Building Stability

Residents of Centric Court in Thindigua, Kiambu County, are in a state of anxiety as the building’s basement remains flooded, raising fears about its stability.

Despite an official evacuation order from county engineers, there are worries that interference could lead to the notice being lifted and endangering lives.

The situation became critical on May 16, 2024, when a tenant recorded videos of the waterlogged basement and shared them in a WhatsApp group for residents.

This prompted county officials to visit the site the following morning for an assessment.

On May 17, 2024, Kiambu County issued an evacuation notice to all residents of Centric Court.

The notice, signed by Sub County Planner Nicholas Waweru, noted water infiltration from the ground through the basement as a severe structural defect.

Residents were ordered to leave the building immediately to avoid any possible injuries or fatalities.

“Following a report from the members of the public regarding infiltration of water from the basement of the above building, the County Engineer visited the site and confirmed that water is sipping from the pillar, joints and walls. An indication that there could be excess water from the ground below the basement which could compromise the stability of the building. Based on the foregoing and as a result of the identified defects, the structure is considered unsafe for habitation and could lead to injury and/or loss of life. To mitigate against any unforeseen danger, you are hereby ORDERED to vacate from the premises with IMMEDIATE EFFECT up and until the premises is cleared as safe for occupation.”

Despite the evacuation order, a subsequent meeting revealed differing opinions between county officials and the building’s developers.

The meeting included county officials, developers, Centric Court’s management, engineers, lawyers and some tenants and landlords.

The county engineer stated that the building was unsafe and required a thorough analysis and repairs before re-occupation.

However, the developers argued that the structure was secure, suggesting that certain visible signs such as collapsed bases, beams, pillars, or cracks should be checked before deeming the building unsafe.

The meeting became chaotic, leading to a private discussion among the county engineer, the developer’s engineer and a lawyer.

They later announced a joint audit to determine if tenants could remain while repairs were made or if the evacuation notice should be enforced.

This decision caused unease among residents who fear a lack of transparency and potential interference.

The basement now remains flooded, with water seeping through walls and pillars.

Recently, tenants experienced disruptions due to water damage and intermittent electricity.

Though the water level has been managed to some extent, the quality of water in the apartments remains poor, raising health concerns.

“Hello Nyakundi.

I would like to confidentially bring this safety issue to your attention. There was a meeting yesterday where tenants were basically managed and told the building is safe as long as we have not seen any cracks/collapsing of beams/pillars etc. The county govt and developers agreed to conduct a joint audit on the building this week and guide on whether the building is safe or the vacation notice still holds. Despite there being an evacuation notice already post assessment from the county engineers. Tenants are afraid there might be interference’ and evacuation notice lifted as a result regardless of their safety. Any way you can help hold the necessary people accountable and ensure things are done the right way? Lives are at risk. Basement at Centric has been completely flooded, water almost getting to ground floor level. This has been happening since the rains started. People’s cars were damaged and houses have been without water or electricity during this period as well.

For a while tenants have been asking if the place is safe considering it has been submerged in water for almost a month now, management kept saying the place is ok.

Night of 16th May one of the tenants took the videos I’ve shared and sent to the whatsapp group. County officials were alerted by tenants the morning of 17th and they immediately came on ground to assess. Another team came back same day assessed took notes and left. Post this the evacuation notice was released.

Next day management called for a meeting. In attendance was county officials including the engineer who came to assess previous day, developers and management of centric court, Centric court engineer and lawyer. Some tenants and I think landlords attended as well.

Meeting was quite chaotic with developers and county reps throwing blame at each other. County engineer said place isn’t safe and they need people to vacate for them to conduct a deeper analysis and fix any damage before the place is re-opened for occupation. Centric team (the developer and engineer) insisted the structure is safe and one if the developers went ahead to say there are 4 warning signs of an unsafe building that people should look out for before they say it’s unsafe (i.e collapsed base, collapsed beam/pillar, crack in the houses or basement floor/pillars etc).

Anyway it got chaotic the county engineer, centric engineer and centric lawyer went aside and had what seemed to be a private discussion for some time. Next thing the way forward was both engineers will conduct a joint audit and advice whether it is ok for tenants to stay as the management water proof the building and fix the drainage or whether the evacuation notice will be implemented, despite clearly seeing water sipping with pressure into the building from the ground through the walls, pillars etc.

It is unclear what will happen post this and whether there will be transparency. Where you see the pumps – that’s the staircase to ground floor. Entire basement submerged in water since rains started. They just managed to remove that water and sort electricity for tenants end of last week.

Water in the houses back last week as well but it’s contaminated (brown in color to date) was smelling at some point.”

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