It has emerged that Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) complained about defects in the design of their new glamorous headquarters in January this year, warning that water was seeping through the roof.
Yesterday, following heavy rains that ravaged Kampala yesterday, Monday evening, a short video surfaced on social media showing employees of URA trying to save documents and other property from the running water that had made it’s way into the tower with reports suggesting that the new tower was leaking while others claimed that it flooded.
The authority downplayed the development saying the URA Tower is a green building that was designed to use natural ventilation system where fresh air comes through the windows, and hot air raises through the atrium and finally exits through the louvers at the rooftop.
“This is to clarify that there was no flooding at the Tower. The facts of the matter are; the URA tower is a green building, designed to use a natural ventilation system where fresh air comes through the windows, and hot air raises through the atrium and finally exists through the louvers at the rooftop,” read part of the statement which insists that there was “no flooding.”
Yet according to a letter written by Herbert Rusoke, the commissioner Corporate Services, which is addressed to the architect of the tower, Jonathan Nsubuga, URA said in January that design of the tower needed to be tweaked to prevent water from seeping through the roof.
Rusoke pointed out that “significant amounts of water entered the building through the atrium on floor two and at the upper ground level.”
“This presents the risk of water getting into the floor boxes, causing short circuits and possibly damaging equipment in the data centre,” Rusoke wrote in a letter dated January 22, 2019.
The building was officially opened by President Museveni on January 19, 2019.
It remains unclear whether the architect made the required improvements as requested by URA “before the closure of business on January 25.”
But from URA’s statement yesterday, they assured that “they are making efforts towards coming up with a more robust solution to protect the louvers from such exceptional storms while trying to maintain the original design features of the building to remain energy efficient and environmentally friendly.”
The URA Tower was constructed by Ms Seyani Brothers & Co. (U) Ltd as the contractor. It’s construction began in February 4, 2015 and competed in December last year. It is estimated to have cost Shs. 139 billion at the time of it’s completion.
Additional reporting by Edris Kiggundu