Professionals in the building sector have called on the Federal Government to harmonise all the laws guiding building construction in the country so as to reduce the incidences of building collapse.
An estate surveyor and valuer, Mr. Olayinka Omotosho, said at a symposium organised by the Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Ikeja Cell, that with proactive measures, the incidences of building collapse would end.
“The Federal Government should harmonise the National Building Code and Building Efficiency Guidelines. If the National Building Code is implemented with consistent enforcement, incidences of building collapse can become history in Nigeria,” he said.
Omotosho noted that some of the leading causes of building collapse were the influx of substandard building materials; non-implementation of the National Building Code; employment of cheap and unqualified labour; and lack of adequate supervision by building designers such as architects and engineers.
He said, “There should be the establishment of vocational training centres. Soil investigation is also very vital before construction. Wrong foundation on a soil is very dangerous. There should be adequate supervision by the architects and engineers throughout the construction period.
“The influx of substandard building materials should be contained and controlled by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria. Hence, the collaboration between the SON and BCPG should be strengthened. We believe it is also time to strengthen the bond between the varying professionals in the built industry as we consistently work towards various means of advancing the industry and militating against the recurrence of building collapse.”
The President, Nigerian Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment, Prof. Oladapo Adeyemi, said there was a need to incorporate geoscientists in pre-construction investigation for structures in the country.
“This will prevent incessant failure of structures, especially buildings, in our country, the giant of Africa. Geoscientists in Nigeria have to be given their deserved recognition and role in construction of buildings. This is the case in developed countries where even a bungalow cannot be constructed until a geoscientist has had an input,” he said.
Adeyemi added that with collaboration between geoscientists and foundation and structural engineers, structural failures would be reduced to the barest minimum.
The Head, Department of Building, University of Lagos, Dr. Olumide Adenuga, said maintenance of buildings should be regularly undertaken to restore and improve them, and toalso avoid dilapidation.
Adenuga said maintenance would help in defect elimination, proactive risk reduction and failure avoidance, among others.
The BCPG Ikeja Cell Coordinator, Mrs. Iyabode Bolarinwa, said poor maintenance culture could shorten the lifespan of buildings.
“That is why we are using this forum to appeal to building owners, estate and facility managers to give priority to regular maintenance and use appropriate professionals for maintenance work to avoid shoddy jobs,” she said.