By YINKA KOLAWOLE

Builders under the aegis of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) have called for a review of the building approval process to include provision of builders’ documents, noting that such will help curb the menace of building collapse in the country.

National President, NIOB, Mr. Chucks Omeife, said at the Institute’s 43rd annual general meeting, in Abuja, that the move is necessary in order to halt the loss of lives and property associated with collapsed structures across the nation. “NIOB’s position has been that the gap in the existing framework is some of the major reasons for building collapse and disconnect between Design and Construction.

It has become very necessary for the building approval process to be strengthened to cope with the various challenges in the built environment. The inclusion of Builders’ document as enshrined in the code being reviewed is a very practical way of solving the prevalent problem of building collapse across the country,” he said.

According to him, such builders’ documents required as a precondition for building plan approval include quality management plan, health and safety plan as well as construction programme of work.  “This document engenders efficient and quality delivery of building works.  This is why we stron
gly believe that the inclusion of this document as a pre-condition for granting approval will guarantee professional involvement of the builder who is responsible for building production and management of building works.

“The fact that some of the owners of the buildings that have collapsed so far obtained required government approval is an indication that prevailing respective building plan approval documentation regimes across the country is inadequate in ensuring qualitative delivery of building projects. The policy gap in the built environment and the disconnect between design and construction is an issue to be addressed. The builder remains the missing link between design and construction for the enthronement of quality delivery of the sector products.

“There is a good attempt to capture some of the fundamental omissions in the National Building Code but its non implementation due to lack of enforcement legislation has giving impetus to quacks who have taking over the industry. It is anticipated that if the legislation is put in place and the provisions of the National Building Code is fully implemented and enforced at all levels. This way the buildings waiting to collapse can be perverted and sanity can return to a large extent to the built environment,” he said.

Omeife asserted that locally driven solutions are required for any programme on sustainable housing provision to succeed in Nigeria. According to him, “whatever solution that is arrived at must be capable of being locally driven, the material content must be such that can easily be sought, processed and finished at the local level and the applicable technology must be locally adaptable”.

He further called for government intervention in the housing sector through financial lifeline as has been done in other sectors of the economy. “We are waiting and hopeful that government will intervene in the housing sector as they have done in other areas, especially through deliberate policy on local capacity building, local industry promotion, protection and empowerment. The building industry remains a veritable vehicle for national development and the largest potential employer of labour in Nigeria,” he said.

The NIOB president also noted that there is need for government patronage of indigenous professionals and local capacity building for craftsmen as well as artisans and building materials manufacturing sector.

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