BY IRWIN ANGIKI
The National Provident Fund (NPF) says renovation works on the damaged Anthony Saru building is set to begin.
NPF does not say exactly when works will begin, but points out that an assessment report is ready, upon which renovations will be based.
This report is from a newly engaged independent consultant whom NPF’s Insurance Loss Adjustor had replaced the former consultant with, NPF media statement yesterday said
NPF blames the delay in renovations on the former consultant’s failure to carry out assessments following last year’s November 7.3 magnitude earthquake, which left the six-storey building unsafe.
The Fund said it had carried out its own assessment immediately after the earthquake, but had to wait for an independent one.
“Immediately following the earthquake, the SINPF has performed an assessment of the damages in December, 2022. However, the restoration works cannot proceed as our insurance underwriter QBE appointed Loss adjuster had to engage independent consultants to carry out damage assessments.
“The Loss Adjustor’s appointed contractor has failed to perform the required engineering assessment on the ASB for more than three months. The consultant engaged by the Loss adjuster was busy with other local engagements and was not able to perform the required task by the end of March 2023.
“With the insistence of the Fund a new consultant has been appointed.
“The new consultant following their appointment has been onsite three weeks ago and has prepared their required independent assessment. On the basis of this report, restoration works will proceed and the SINPF will resume its communications to its tenants on the progress of the works and its completion date.”
An officer of one of the government tenant offices, speaking to Island Sun last night, welcomes this announcement by NPF, however urges works to take place faster.
“Following the major earthquake of November 2022, we have had few small ones to date, and it is not a joking matter when all of us have to scramble to reach the ground floor via the narrow stair case, avoiding the faulty elevator.
“NPF should begin work now!”
Only the ground floor and first level are currently being used by tenants. Second floor to the last have been rendered unsafe.
Only one exit is available for current offices operating on the first floor, which is the stairs and an elevator which tenants tell Island Sun is not working properly.
On April 12, several tenants brought the matter to Island Sun, raising concern on the high risk posed by the building and the notable lack of renovation works by its owner immediately after the earthquake five months ago.
“The lift was not functioning properly. On few occasions the lift dropped with people trapped inside.
“Another occasion people being trapped for almost 30 minutes locked up inside before being freed.
“In case of an emergency, fire or earthquake, there is no alternate escape route except for the only one lift that is working.
“But the lift is working is not functioning properly as well.
“We fear that the worst might yet to come if these issues are not urgently addressed.
“Why took so long to fix these issues,” the tenants said.
The building hosts offices of some government ministries which include, Ministry of Women Children, Youth and Family Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and other private sector firms.