Structural engineers, others to discuss effect of cement on concrete

Against the backdrop of the incessant incidents of collapse of buildings in the country and the need to nip in the bud the trend, members of the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers (NIStructE) and other built environment professionals would gather in Lagos on ThursdaySeptember 23 and Friday September 24, 2014 to weight the effect of cement strength on concrete performance in building construction.

Similarly, the body has also made some recommendations on how to nip in the bud collapse of buildings which includes need to encourage Standard Organisation of Nigeria to effectively enforce the production of High Yield Steel of minimum 410/mm2 and of correct sizes of 8mm, 10mm, 12.5mm to 250N/mm2 of appropriate sizes.

Besides, that the use of beach sand (in Lagos) for block making and construction of buildings should stop because of the negative effects of salt on reinforcement and other components of concrete; structural design should be handled by only competent and qualified Structural Engineers; construction of buildings should be handled by a team of competent technical personnel one of whom must be a structural engineer to ensure the structure integrity and efficiency of the structure throughout its life span and that structural engineers should be involved in the formulation of a Structural Engineering Policy for Nigeria.

President of NIStructE, Dr. Samuel Ilugbekhai, at a pre-conference briefing on Friday said recent developments in the built environment have not been exactly pleasant considering the fatality rate of one of the last building collapses which claimed 115 lives.

He said the body is deeply worried because the incidence of collapse of buildings in the country is assuming a worsening crescendo.

“We warned of these dangers but no one listened. Although we are not surprised at the higher frequency and fatality rate of collapse of buildings in the country at present, we are deeply concerned because the situation can get worse and more lives may be lost.

“Confiscating defaulters’ property or sending them to jail does not bring back lost lives neither does it replenish the resources that have been wasted and that is why it is imperative to nip the collapse of buildings in the bud,” he said.

Ilugbekhai noted that despite the lack of will by the appropriate authorities to nip the collapse of buildings in the bud before they happen, there have consistently taken steps aimed, at least, at creating purposeful awareness and one of such is the cement conference.

He said within the low/medium rise zone of the built environment in Nigeria where the incidence of building collapse is most prevalent, concrete structures, by far, outweigh other structural types in numbers, shape, size and application, in terms of use. “Therefore, we should pay more attention to concrete structures in our built environment with a view to ensuring safety of lives and property, at least for now”.

He added that for structural concrete to deliver effectively on its integrity and efficiency, all its various components must be combined in the right proportion, the right atmosphere, the right circumstances and by the right personnel.

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