By Gabriel Olawale
The Nigerian Institute of Building, NIOB, has said that the incidents of building collapse will continue in Lagos State in as much as developers continue to perform the function of building engineers.
Speaking during the survey of the first story building in Nigeria which was built in 1842 (Shitta Bey Mosque) and Water House by Candido Da Rocha, which was built in 1946, the President of NIOB, Kunle Awobodu, said that all these buildings were built before Nigeria gained independence but yet they are still durable while many buildings nowadays collapse while construction works are ongoing.
He said that majority of the materials used for some of these pre-independence buildings were not imported. “So, one may wonder why are buildings collapsing nowadays? The issue nowadays is that people are cutting corners.
“The system of construction in Nigeria is not acceptable, that is why buildings are collapsing. The issue is about substandard materials and lack of professional touch. For instance, in Lagos, the majority of the residential buildings were handled by developers without the input of professionals that can be held responsible and also have the integrity to protect.
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“The major objective of developers is to make a profit. We need to separate the job of developers from construction. As a developer, you can invest your money but not to supervise construction. There should be a construction team led by a builder who is going to think more of quality, integrity rather than compromise simply because of profit”, Awobodu noted.
He appealed that people should endeavour to construct appropriately from the first day and embrace a culture of maintenance. “But when your materials and method of construction are at conflict, the issue of building collapse is inevitable.”
The survey which was carried out in partnership with the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory, LSMTL, and Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, was aimed at helping policymakers, researchers, industry practitioners, and members of the public interested in quality construction.
Corroborating his views, the General Manager, Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory, Dr. Afolabi Abiodun, said that the state government has begun stiff enforcement of laws against distressed buildings. “So, we are calling on property owners to carry out immediate integrity tests or risk demolition. A soil test is also very important before any kind of construction to safeguard the kind of construction from imminent collapse.”
On her part, General Manager of LASBCA, Mrs. Abiola Kosegbe, said that they have embarked on public sensitisation to inform residents that all buildings in the state must have valid building approval plans.
She said that majority of buildings that are distressed have been served letters while removal activities are also going on. “We are committed to zero tolerance for building collapse by the Governor and we are going to ensure that no life is lost as a result of building collapse.”