25 March 2019

Nigeria: How to Curb Incessant Building Collapse in Lagos - Experts

Photo: Kayode Oladapo/Premium Times
A rescue team search for more victims from the scene of a building, which collapsed at Itafaji on the Lagos Island (file photo).

The Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) on Monday called on the Nigerian government to address the menace of building collapse and sub-standard construction across the country.

Akinola George, National President of the guild, made this call at a press conference in Ikeja, Lagos State.

The BCPG comprises professionals from seven bodies, including the Nigerian Institute of Architect (NIA), Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), and Nigerian Institute of Surveyors (NIS).

Mr Akinola said the body's objective is to instil safe building culture, eradicate building collapse and fight sub-standard construction works across the country, especially in Lagos.

According to him, the major causes of building collapse are faulty design, copied design, pilfering, professional incompetence, nocturnal concrete works, greed on the part of landlord and developers, among others.

As a solution to the menace, the body said government and all relevant stakeholders must ensure that qualified environment and building professionals are engaged in construction works across the country. This, it said, will ensure design and construction of "better quality buildings".

Similarly, Mr Akinola said there is need to promote skills transfer and shared experience in specialised building types, ensure that only NIA certified buildings are constructed in Lagos State, carry out a post-occupancy evaluation of buildings and ultimately ensure that professional institutes have oversight function on every building construction in Lagos.

Mr Akinola said there is a major challenge with the building procurement process in Lagos, adding that there must be a thorough check of existing buildings to prevent further disasters.

"It may be a surprise to many that most buildings in Lagos State are not constructed by the people who are properly trained to do so," Mr Akinola said.

"Architects, Civil, Structural, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Builders and Land Surveyors are virtual on-lookers on the Building Construction and Procurement scene as they participate in less than 20 per cent of the total volume of construction activities going on in the state.

"A survey revealed that over 45,000 sites existed at a time in Lagos state. Twenty per cent of this translates to 9,000. Hence by deduction, quacks and other faceless characters by whatever names called are responsible for the remaining 90 per cent.

"A whooping 36,000 potential collapses waiting to happen, on the average!"

The BCPG president said developers in Lagos have been identified in many of the weak constructions, adding that they are mostly businessmen with no professional qualifications in construction.

Mr Akinola advised that the Lagos State Government must pay attention to areas like Lagos Island, Oworonshoki, Bariga, Somolu, Ebutte Meta, Mushin and Ajegunle to identify precarious buildings with poor integrity. He also advised that the Lagos Mater Plan must be revisited and reviewed, adding that buildings that do not conform with the master plan must be removed.

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