By YINKA KOLAWOLE
Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is ready to work with manufacturers of building materials, professionals, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders in the housing sector to tackle the recurring incidence of building collapse in the country.
Director-General, SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, who was represented by an official of the organisation, Mr. Adeoye Onipede, at an event in Lagos, said collaborative efforts of all relevant stakeholders are required to curb the menace. He also said there is a need for massive education and enlightenment campaigns on the dangers of building collapse and the need to adhere strictly to good ethical and professional practices.
“It is a well-known fact that the strength of reinforced concrete depends on the proportion of cement, sand, stone and iron rod in it. Here, the professional bodies also have critical roles to play. The Standards Organisation of Nigeria will continue to work with experts and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the benefits of standardisation are actualised and ensure a structurally safe environment to all Nigerians,” he stated.
The SON boss said his organisation has stepped up enforcement actions, noting that most of its state offices have been equipped with mobile block testing machines to monitor the quality of sancrete blocks across the country. “Modern pieces of equipment are being installed in our laboratories as effective and efficient testing facilities,” he said.
Odumodu said standardisation and quality assurance play very important roles in putting up an enduring building that will not collapse. According to him, building collapse usually occur due to factors or combination of factors including the use of low quality building materials; employment of incompetent contractors; non- enforcement of existing laws; poor work ethics of Nigerians; and lack of adequate enforcement of relevant regulations by town planning authorities.
Others are cost-cutting tactics by building owners; unethical practices perpetuated by the professionals involved in the construction process; and poor supervision at the construction stage.
He said the alarming rate of building collapse in recent times in various parts of the country is worrisome to the public at large as well as to professionals in the building and construction industry government, and particularly put a burden on SON for checks and balances.
“Over the years, SON has set the pace towards facilitating industrial development through standardisation by focusing on improving product quality and promoting enforcement of quality regulations, and enhancing competitiveness against imports at the domestic market. SON is prepared to sustain this fight with the support of all professionals and other government agencies that have been collaborating with us until the objective is achieved. These, of course, include the fight against substandard building materials,” he stated.