A Structural Engineer at the Ghana Institution of Engineers (GIE), Dr Desmond Aryee-Boi, has attributed the collapse of the Melcom Shopping Mall on the Achimota road to the lack of supervision and the use of sub standard materials.
The Engineer made this known at a day's seminar in Accra, yesterday, on the topic: Building safety in Ghana― Aftermath of Melcom Disaster.
According to Dr Aryee-Boi, investigations conducted at the site after the collapse of the building revealed that the building was a 'dead man walking' due to the disproportionate measurement of cement and sand aggregate, coupled with the use of lower grade iron rods.
The findings, he said, also revealed that there was lack of supervision by qualified inspectors, non-compliance with planning processes and monitoring, adding that the mall, which, under normal circumstances should have carried a load of 1.5% of the structure's strength was carrying more than 4% of the capacity of the columns.
He said the normal concrete strength of c25 was compromised to c14 due to cheap materials and failure to apply good building regulations.
Engineer Aryee-Boi expressed regrets that a building which had the strength for a residential apartment was allowed to be used as a shopping mall with heavy equipment being stored there.
On the forward, he called for the institution of a Certificate of Habitation for all buildings by the district planning and structural engineers, and the enactment of a National Construction Commission Law.
He also recommended the employment of qualified and experienced engineers as a way of empowering the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies as well as the enforcement of laws and regulations by applying sanctions' as a deterrent.
The National Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), Mr kofi Portouphy, called for a National Disaster Fund from which funds could be drawn to purchase essential equipment like resuscitating machines to keep disaster victims alive when rescued before being referred to major hospitals.
According to Mr Portuphy, preparing to remove the basic challenges was a step towards handling disaster situations, adding that it was regrettable to see military officers kicking some rescued victims to be sure whether they were dead or alive.
Source: ISD (Raymond Kwofie)