Assessment of variations in design specifications and their impact on building failure and collapse in Uganda: a case study of Kampala City
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Kampala is the premiere city in Uganda, a status it has possessed since independence in 1962. Given this strategic advantage as well as historical fame during colonial period, it has continued to be a magnet of Uganda as well as a preferred center for expatriates. This has led to shortage of land and housing units compelling investors to establish high rise buildings. However, in the last one decade, many high-rise buildings have collapsed and caused loss of lives and property. While there are many contributory factors, variations in design specifications could be among. No studies have been carried out to provide this linkage. Thus, the purpose of the study was to assess the variations in design specifications and how these have led to failure and collapse of high-rise buildings in Kampala city. The study was guided by the following specific objectives, to assess: Design errors common on high rise buildings in Kampala City, the factors leading to increase in design errors on high rise buildings in Kampala city; and the effects of the design errors on the structural performance and sustainability of the high-rise buildings in Kampala city. The study collected both primary data that was both quantitative and qualitative. Primary data were collected using questionnaires and interviews. Questionnaires were administered to staff of selected institutions and companies while interviews were administered to top management of KCCA, UIPE, USA, ERB and MoWT as well as contractor companies. Quantitative data were analysed at univariate levels using SPSS while qualitative data were analysed using narrative text and verbatim quotations. Findings of the study established various design errors common on high rise buildings including wrong estimates and them omissions and ambiguities among others. The study equally established factors leading to rise in design errors including poor workmanship, lack of effective coordination, among others. Consequently, the errors have led to concrete failure, loading failure and collapse of buildings. The study concluded that design errors are very common on high rise buildings in Kampala city and yet they are not given emphasis as prime causes of building failure and collapse in high rise constructions. The study recommended need careful screening of design engineers, use of BIM technology among others to eliminate computational errors and wrong estimates for better performance and sustainability of high-rise buildings.