By Kingsley Adegboye
Against the backdrop of earthquakes sweeping across the world, the Building Collapse and Prevention Guild, BCPG has called on the in-coming Buhari-led administration to take proactive measures to stem the rising occurrence of building collapse in Nigeria. President of the Guild, Kunle Awobodu, a builder past chairman of Lagos state chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Building, NIOB, posited that “all efforts must be geared towards saving the nation from enormous calamity in the event of earthquake in future”.
“ Construction of bungalows should be encouraged at places where standard in higher structures could not be guaranteed. Design and construction of earthquake resistant buildings that possess adequate lateral load resisting systems should be promoted,” Awobodu said in a press statement issued in Lagos. .
“A reliable mechanism for construction inspection should be instituted, if possible by outsourcing. Developers should be made to employ adequate number of qualified building professionals. Being proactive today is cheaper and saves huge losses in the future.
Let the government invest in prevention by demolishing defective buildings for regeneration and ensure quality control of materials and labour force on sites, guided by prompt implementation of the National Building Code,” he said.
Awobodu debunked the belief that Nigeria is safe from the seismic zone. He premised his view on the available data. According to him, the nation experienced earth tremors in 1933, 1939, 1964, 1984, 1990, 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2009. “Since geophysical and geological studies have discovered that a fault zone that connects with the Atlantic fracture system exists along Ifewara – Zungeru in northern Nigeria, it becomes obvious that Nigeria, especially South-West is susceptible to earthquake occurrence,” he said.
He noted that in the area of construction, Nigeria is hardly different from Nepal and Haiti. He explained that the prevalence of substandard construction works in Nigeria has been a source of worry to professionals in the nation’s built environment. Quackery has dominated the construction sector while due process is of lip service.
“The situation has been made worse by the collapse of stock market, causing the diversion of investment into the real estate by developers, whose major focus is on profit rather than quality. Moreover, since such houses would not be occupied by them, the developers with a business mindset make innocent occupiers become the inheritors of potential danger.
“When government has failed in its primary responsibility of safe guarding its citizenry against sharp practices that could endanger their lives, concerned construction professionals could no longer continue to make recommendations that would not be implemented”, the BCPG boss said
“Those that monitor construction sites should be properly counselled, take Hippocratic Oath and be well motivated in order to protect them against temptations and immediate pecuniary gains. They should uphold professional ethics for the sake of safety in the nation’s built environment. Political office holders also should not compromise on enforcement,” the group said.