The Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) has taken a decisive step by suspending the practicing license of Stalwart Investments, the contractor responsible for the construction of Chanda Mall in Makeni. The mall tragically collapsed during its construction on July 31st, 2023, resulting in the loss of a worker’s life. The suspension, effective for a period of 60 days, follows the EIZ’s intention to investigate the circumstances leading to the collapse and ensure accountability.
According to Eng. Dr. Michael Nsefu, the Chairperson of the Engineering Registration Board, this measure is in accordance with the EIZ Act No. 17 of 2010, specifically under section 30. The suspension comes in response to the findings of an investigation carried out by the Engineering Technical Committee, which aimed to ascertain the structural integrity of the Chanda Mall building.
The investigation determined that the collapse was primarily attributed to several factors, including inadequate formwork design, decayed support structures, and erroneous installation. Furthermore, misaligned bally extension joints were identified as contributors to the failure to transfer loads effectively to the ground, resulting in excessive bending and buckling, ultimately leading to the catastrophic collapse.
The subsequent investigation underscored the absence of lateral bracing for pole wooden bally timber ledgers, which were also found to be decayed due to dry rot. The construction works and design were deemed to be below the required standards, contributing to the structural instability that caused the tragic incident.
Eng. Dr. Michael Nsefu expressed the institution’s deep sorrow over the loss of life during the construction, emphasizing that delivering substandard work poses significant dangers to innocent citizens and undermines the engineering sector as well as national infrastructure development.
The EIZ’s firm stance is a clear message to all engineering organizations and professionals that professional misconduct will not be tolerated. The EIZ Act No. 17 of 2010 enshrines penalties for such misconduct, including the revocation of licenses and other forms of punishment.
In line with its mission to regulate and promote the engineering profession for the betterment of society, the EIZ reiterates the importance of adhering to engineering standards that ensure both performance and innovation without compromising the confidence in achieved standards.
The public is urged not to engage with individuals or entities practicing engineering without a valid license. Any instances of suspected professional misconduct can be reported to the nearest police station or the Engineering Institution of Zambia, reaffirming the collective commitment to upholding the highest standards of safety and professionalism in construction and engineering practices.