JKUAT-INVAX explore tech solutions for construction industry

Prof. Kwanza (left) exchange the letter of intent document with Yoshikuni at the RPE Boardroom

Black cotton soils remain a major challenge to stakeholders in the building industry, with most players devising costly interventions to surmount challenges associated with this type of soil at construction sites due to lack of structural stability.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and INVAX Corporation of Japan, have signed a letter of intent which will enable experts to conduct joint research to explore how black cotton soils can be stabilized, thus providing a sustainable technological solution to the menace of black cotton soils.

This is to be realized through the collection of basic data regarding the modification of the black cotton soil, among other objectives, as expressed under the collaboration agreement.

Speaking on September 26, on behalf of JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Ngumi, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Jackson Kwanza, welcomed Invax’s intention to work with JKUAT noting, black cotton soils are a big challenge when it comes to construction.

“Areas around Juja have black cotton soils. If there is a way of constructing without removing the cotton soils that research intervention is highly welcome,” Prof. Kwanza said.

Akiyama Yoshikuni (right) carries out soil test experiments on black cotton soil samples at JKUAT Enginerring labs

He further noted that “construction has become a very expensive endeavour in some areas of the country due to the black cotton soils,” and expressed the university’s desire to see the initiative benefit the country at large.

The CEO of Invax Corporation, Akiyama Yoshikuni, who was accompanied by Fumiya Fukayami, together with Suzuki Saya, Sakata Izumi and Florence Mutisya (all from OSA Social Design Group, Japan), expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with JKUAT on the soil stabilization research project.

Mr. Yoshikuni said, Invax was keen to transform black cotton soil into a resource for construction.

He said, they have “used the new soil stabilization   technology in Japan to construct over 700 sub dams to prevent landslides.”

The Director of Linkages, Dr. Mwikamba Kaiboi while appreciating JKUAT-Invax collaboration, said, “The project is good for the country considering the prevalence of black cotton soils challenge in Kenya.”

Established in August 2000, Invax Corporation is engaged in soil utilization solution business and civil engineering design consulting.

The research team is collecting data and soil testing experiments aimed at establishing technological solutions required to stabilize black cotton soils for construction.

JKUAT team includes, Eng. Brian Odero (Engineering), Chair of Architecture Department, Martin Mbidhi, Nadi Hashim, (Senior Lecturer, Architecture), Prof. Crispino Ochieng (Architecture). Present at the meeting included, Ag. RPE Registrar, Dr. Patrick Mbindyo and Steve Otemo (Linkages).

JKUAT and INVAX teams after the collaboration discussions at RPE.

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