BY IKENNA ASOMBA
Worried by the rising wave of building collapse across the country, pressure group – Building Collapse Prevention Guild, BCPG, has adopted a grass root measure to check the increasing occurrence of buildings collapse in the country.
Last week in Lagos, the Yaba Cell of the pressure group in collaboration with the Yaba Local Council Development Area LCDA, toured the Sabo-Yaba environ for over five hours, in a first-of-its-kind sensitisation walk, to enlighten residents of safety measures while constructing their houses.
Tagged Building Collapse Prevention Awareness Walk 2014, the sensitisation campaign which took-off from the council secretariat, saw the Yaba LCDA Chairman, Mr. Jide Jimoh leading the team to tour streets such as Adebiyi, Hughes, Queens, McEwen, Industrial Avenue, Commercial Avenue, Herbert Macaulay Way, Faneye and Old Yaba Road.
Aside the council’s cabinet members, other group that participated in the awareness walk were the Police, Neighbourhood Watch, Yaba LCDA Ambulance Service and Fire Service units. Others include Environmental Defenders, traditional leaders, members and leaders Community Development Associations,CDAs and members and leaders of the BCPG at both the national and zonal levels.
Speaking to Vanguard Homes & Property, the LCDA chairman gave reasons for the sensitisation walk. “Our determination to ensure we create the needed consciousness and awareness for our people against illegal, unsolid, unpermitted constructions and quackery in order to save lives, made us to partner with the Building Collapse Prevention Guild.
We are grateful to God that sensitisation programmes through seminars, workshops and now this first-of-its-kind walk in the entire country, is actually creating the needed consciousness among our people.
“ During our walk, we were able to discover about three houses that are under construction but with no project specification as stipulated by the Lagos State government.
The specification states that for any building to be constructed, there must be approval and the details of the structural designer, quantity surveyor, engineer, address and phone numbers among others.
That means they are building illegally. So, for those who we have found wanting, we will report appropriately to the relevant government agencies, because the lives of our people are paramount to us as a government,” Jimoh said.
On his part, the National President, BCPG, Mr.Kunle Awobodu, a builder, explained that the awareness walk was basically to sensitise the community and the general public on the importance of patronising professionals and trained artisans, in this age where quackery is prevalent.
He said: “Our zeal is anchored on the fact that over the years, we have realised that our approach in curtailing the incidents of building collapse has been elitist.
It has been elitist based on the fact that we have only been talking through seminars, workshops and conferences. But now, we have moved down to the grassroot through this first-of-its-kind awareness walk against building collapse. So, it is a sign of many good things to come”.
Stating that the approach will continue unabated until the desired change is effected in the building sector, Awobodu blamed factors such as quackery, use of substandard materials, lack of sub-soil investigation, poor workmanship, lack of enabling environment, ignorance of home owners or prospective home owners among others, as the major causes of building collapse in the country.
Acoording to him; “Government has limitation in staff strength for their presence to cover the entire state in enforcing the prevention of building collapse, that is the major reason we are out to augment this limitation.
We are thus collaborating with relevant government agencies such as the Lagos State Building Control Agency and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON, to promote standard construction and to see how we can best check the rising cases of building collapse in the state.”
The BCPG coordinator in Yaba cell, Mr. Friday Chukwu posited that Yaba residents have been fully sensitised about measures to prevent building collapse.
“Since 2012 when the guild was established in the area, we have been able to get in our membership practitioners from the seven built-professions such as engineering, architecture, quantity surveying, estate surveying, building engineering, land surveying and artisans such as plumbers, bricklayers, iron benders, carpenters, tillers, block moulders, concrete artisans and community development association,”he said.