Posted on :Monday , 11th September 2017
The construction industry is a focal point for the economic growth of any country.
According to the Economic Survey 2017 Report, it is estimated that the industry expanded by about 9.2 per cent in 2016 and recorded increased activity in the construction of roads and development of housing.
The expansion reflected an increase in employment in the construction sector from 148,600 jobs in 2015 to 163,000 in 2016.
Both directly and indirectly, the construction industry is a key source of employment for Kenya’s youths and women. In order to nurture this growth, industry research is the way to go.
Globally, developed countries such as Norway, Australia, Netherlands, USA, New Zealand, and Canada heavily rely on research to enable them stay afloat in technological advancements.
To foster research in Kenya’s construction industry, the National Construction Authority formulated the National Construction Research Agenda- a document that was published in June 2014.
The document identified 17 thematic areas that need further exploration to provide solutions to the challenges that plague the industry. These areas include finance, technology, machines, materials and manpower, as well as market.
To provide a forum for participatory approach in generating innovative solutions to the issues dogging the construction industry, the authority formulated the Annual Construction Research Conference and Exhibition.
The theme for each year’s event is derived from the 17 research areas. The authority projected to realise all the priority areas of research by the end of this year.
NCA has at present held two Annual Construction Research Conference and Exhibition events in the last two years.
To nurture the event for posterity, the authority entered a strategic partnership with the Big 5 Construct East Africa, which is the largest, most influential and renowned portfolio of construction industry exhibitions spanning the Middle East, India and South East Asia.
During the 2016 conference, over 8,500 local and international delegates participated.
The conference also attracted several international renowned keynote speakers and more than 150 exhibitors from 20 countries.
The exhibitors showcased the latest and most innovative construction industry solutions from across the globe.
The exhibitions saw the generation of partnerships between local and international manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors.
During the conference, 25 quality research papers were presented: Papers that are currently awaiting publication in the inaugural National Construction Journal, whose production is presently underway.
Currently, NCA is planning to hold its third exhibition at the KICC from 1– 3November.
The projected attendance of the event is 10,000 delegates, drawn from both local and international fronts.
The theme this year is ‘Harnessing the Potential of the Legal and Institutional Framework for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in the Construction Industry’. This focuses on the importance of solid legislation and regulation, which is one of the cornerstones for any industry’s development.
Some of the issues set to be examined during this year’s event include: Governance and politics in the construction industry; impact of laws, regulations and policies in service delivery; innovative and emerging financial models; legal frameworks for enhancement of the synergy between national and county governments for an effective and efficient industry; effective Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms for the industry and management of social, cultural and ethical challenges.
The conference is expected to attract key industry stakeholders such as manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, MPs, policymakers, media, academicians, industry professionals and the general public.
This pool of stakeholders encourages participatory dialogue in regards to the challenges facing the industry and possible solutions.
By offering the platforms for information sharing, the conference seeks to utilise technology with a view of making construction safer, faster and cheaper.
Similarly, the event is a major backbone for the construction industry with respect to policy formulations that are geared towards industry best practices.
Alongside the main conference, there will be site visitations with emphasis given to key infrastructural projects across the countries that are either completed, or ongoing.
During last year’s event, the delegates visited the Northern Collection Tunnel (Murang’a), the Outer Ring Road Expansion Project in Eastlands (Nairobi), the Kenya Pipeline Corporation Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline expansion project in Embakassi, and the National Housing Corporation EPS Factory in Mlolongo.
In addition to the previous packages, this year’s event will present the Construction Industry Business Investment Forum.
The forum aims at bringing together both local and international professionals in the industry for pre-matched business networking session, talks and panel discussion with key government and private sector institutions.
Another major attraction will be a One-Stop-Shop Government Pavilion. The pavilion will bring together all statutory and regulatory bodies affiliated with the construction industry from where visitors will be able to receive on-site services as well as make inquiries on any incentives, procedures, charges and regulations pertaining to the industry.
Going forward, the authority looks to continually and strategically invest in research programmes that aim to transform research findings into opportunities.
The investment will provide a fertile ground for driving commercialisation of new technologies and legislations to ensure steady growth of Kenya’s construction industry.
By nurturing research through such events, NCA continuously seek to mitigate challenges that either threatens to slow or stall the overall growth of the construction industry. It is within the Authority’s vision that by 2018, event will be the biggest conference and exhibition in Africa.