The Kampala district building control officer has disclosed that Lotis Towers is going to be sealed off over cracked pillars.
Peter Paul Wanyama, the KCCA Building Control Officer explained that after confirming the dangerously cracked pillars of the relatively new building, the next logical step they are taking is to seal it off so as to ensure the safety of people operating therein.
Cracks were first spotted in on one of the building’s pillars on level six by one concerned tenant, who requested a structural assessment of the building through the Ministry of Works, which upon completion, recommended that occupants evacuate for their safety and give way for a comprehensive investigation of the whole building.
Wanyama says that after the Building Committee investigations, an order was issued for all occupants to leave the building, and also instructing the developer to carry out a comprehensive structural integrity evaluation of the building.
He adds that the order also instructed that remedial measures to safeguard the building should also be put in place to which the developer is expected to comply, and in case of non-compliance the building would be sealed off and the developer summoned to court as the law requires.
Lotis Towers is a 14-storied upscale building at plot 16 MacKinnon road, 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.
URN learned that the cracked pillars matter 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 be 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, says that this building was constructed and occupied before their Building Committee was put in place. However, according to the documentation they have reviewed, it passed through all the required legal processes of the public health building rules which governed construction in the city then.
He adds that the project architect was prepared by Symbion, the structural engineer was Armstrong, and the contractor was ROKO Uganda.
According to Rusoke, whatever is going on at the moment, it is people’s safety that is put first, adding that all precautionary measures will be taken to safeguard occupants operating from this building.
At the time media visited the building, offices like BAT, JSC, and DGF, were closed with no officials in office, only police officers at JSC who mentioned that the agency now works half day were found.
However, the building management has since assured its tenants and stakeholders that the structural integrity of the building is safe and they should continue enjoying their stay at the building.
“Our structural engineers have examined the cracks and their opinion is that the building is safe for occupation” part of the notice stated.