By Favour Nnabugwu
Determined to stem the rising occurrence of collapse buildings in the country and at the same time rid the built environment of quack engineers, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, has began the collation of data of all registered engineers and the building projects they supervise at any point in time.
The Council is collating the data with the collaboration of the Department of Development Control to have full statistics of all building projects being supervised by COREN registered engineers. COREN Registrar, Mr. Felix Atume, an engineer, stated that for effective supervision, such projects should not exceed three at a time.
Atume who visited the Director Development Control, Mallam Yahaya Yusuf, stated that the collation will help to curtail the excesses of registered members and also enable the Council to fish out quacks from the sector
The data base Atume explained became imperative in the light of the increasing number of building collapse across the country and the fact that accusing fingers are often pointed at COREN and its members.
He said the body has also put in place what he called, Engineering Regulation Monitoring, ERM programme to eliminate quackery in the profession and reduce the collapse of buildings.
He revealed that the Council had carried out investigations on collapse buildings and uncovered that the problem lies at implementation stage after all approvals had been granted. According to him, property owners or developers often change the approved designs and this in the long run affects the structure.
His words: “We have discovered during the course of our investigations in the past that most of the approved designs by the Development Control Office have satisfied the normal professional requirements. However, the implementation of those approved designs always ran contrary to the approval, either in terms of the specifications or the construction procedures.
From all our investigations, the designs are correct but the developers at the point of implementation, instead of ensuring that they maintain the approved design, they do the opposite and also engage quacks to do the job for them. So, it is at the point of implementation that there is a problem”
He also noted that some residential buildings which were converted to commercial buildings also cave in because of the change made in the structure which most times over load the building and thus weaken them.
Responding, the Director, Department of Development Control, Mallam Yahaya Yusuf admitted that the control department does not have sufficient manpower to monitor on going building projects in all the nooks and crannies of Abuja.
“We do not have the capacity to monitor on a day to day basis structures that people are putting up during weekends, holidays,” he said
Yusuf informed that the control office had on occasions received letters of withdrawals from engineers on site that they could not long vouch for the building due to deviation from the approved designs or cheap materials by developers even as the department at also lodged complaints with COREN against some engineers who were found wanting in the course of building projects supervision.