Agrees On Joint Monitoring, Professional Indemnity, Review of Building Approvals, Others

The Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban Development and relevant Agencies, including the State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), has organised a Roundtable with Professionals and Stakeholders in the built sector to proffer lasting solutions to incidents of building collapse in the State.

The newly deployed Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Engr. Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, who presided over the Roundtable tagged: “Round Table Discussion on the Roles of Professionals in Effective Monitoring and Stage Inspection – A Solution to Building Collapse”, acknowledged the need for the State Government to collaborate with the built professionals to bring sanity to the sector and also expand the scope of the monitoring and inspection activities of LASBCA to all parts of the State.

He noted that the recommendations and solutions presented by the professionals, which had been divided into Long, Medium and Short terms, would be implemented accordingly, assuring that the appraisal and implementation of the recommendations by the leadership of the professional bodies would commence promptly.

Bamgbose-Martins said his tenure as the Head of the Physical Planning Ministry will be focused on addressing the incidents of building collapse, stressing that he has the mandate of the Governor to engage all relevant stakeholders in achieving a zero-building collapse in all parts of the State.

As a form of immediate measure to checkmate haphazard physical development and building collapse, the Commissioner announced a temporary stop to approval for additional floors on already existing buildings and amendments to approvals for additional floors.

He said: “For now, building approvals will henceforth be based on numbers of floors applied for, from the inception of that building. We are going to discourage giving approvals for additional floors different from the numbers of floors that had earlier been approved when the construction works started originally”.

Responding to the concerns raised by the professional bodies on bringing to book individuals or organisations found culpable in incidents of building collapse, the Commissioner assured the stakeholders that nobody including government officials would be covered for wrongdoings, unprofessionalism or for any unethical conduct.

He pleaded for genuine attitudinal change on the part of government officials, building developers, professional bodies, members of the public and other relevant stakeholders, saying that with the appropriate attitude, incidents of building collapse would be reduced to the barest minimum.

Earlier, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on E-GIS and Planning Matters, Mr. Olajide Babatunde, described the choice of the new Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Engr. Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, as a fair and well-thought-out decision by the Governor.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Engr. Abiola Kosegbe, emphasised the need to enforce adherence to laid down processes during construction works, saying “How do we ensure that developers who are desirous of maximising profits are following guidelines when the built professionals are not enforcing site inspection and compliance to designs”.

Rather than casting aspersions on the people in government, Kosegbe opined that stakeholders should see the task of monitoring and ensuring that building designs are followed by developers as a joint responsibility that should not be left to the government alone.

Also contributing, the General Manager of LASBCA, Arc. Gbolahan Oki remarked that the present administration understands and recognises the importance of civic engagement in achieving its policy thrust which informed the stakeholders’ roundtable.

Oki implored all those involved in the building process to embrace genuine/positive attitudinal change as this will go a long way in nipping in the bud the incidences of building collapse in Lagos State.

He stated that the agency had concluded plans to embark on a massive awareness campaign on ‘Building Right’, using all available means of communication including social media, television, radio, newspapers and continuous stakeholders’ engagement.

A former Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development and President of Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Toyin Ayinde, advocated genuine value and love for human lives among building stakeholders, saying that value for human lives will lead to building right and will also engender sincerity in the implementation of the State’s Physical Planning Law.

The Pioneer Commissioner for the then Physical Planning and Environment, Arc. Kayode Anibaba stated that during his time, the Ministry had initiated “Operation 30/30”, which meant that all approvals must be processed within 30 days or the applicants notified of the status of their applications. He, therefore, opined that timely issuance of permits would also help to improve the system.

In their contributions, participants advised the State to institute a platform for appreciating and recognising individuals or organisations that have embraced voluntary compliance and also publish the details of buildings or structures that have been given Certificates of Fitness-For-Habitation, assuring that it will encourage professionalism in the built sector.

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