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Building collapse: Expert urges Nigerians to be cautious when seeking for homes

An Architect, Mr Amos Alao, has advised Nigerians to be cautious when considering buying or renting an apartment as there are indices for recognising a faulty building.

Collapsed building
Rescue at Faji building collapse

Alao, the National Secretary, Society of Landscape Architects of Nigeria (SLAN), spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday against the backdrop of recent building collapses in Lagos and Ibadan.

The expert said that it was necessary to inspect a building thoroughly before considering renting it.

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“For instance, if you want to rent a bungalow, you need to inspect it to ensure there is no crack in the building. Cracks from the foundation to the roof of the building are quite dangerous.

“Bottom-up cracks are structural cracks; meaning that there is a problem with the foundation of the building, and it means the foundation has not settled.

“Also when you slam a door in the building and the house vibrates, this also implies that there is a problem with the building.

“If during the rainy season, a key touch a doorknob, burglary proof or any metal and it shocks you, it means there is static electricity in the building. It also implies the building has no lighting conductor,’’ the expert said.

Alao said that it was better to search for an apartment during the rainy season so as to enable the occupants to know the state of the building.

“There are different indices to look out for when water comes out from the building during the rainy season.

“When water seeps from the floor, it means the drainage to the house was not properly done. It also means the foundation of the building is faulty.

“A seeping floor could also mean there was no Down Proof Covering (DPC). After the construction of the floor, nylon is usually placed to prevent water from coming up.

“When the DPC is not properly done or completely absent, then water will seep through the building floor and in the long run weakens the foundation of such building.

“Peradventure you pay for an apartment and then you pound yams and the tiles are cracking, it means there is a problem with the building,’’ Alao said.

The architect also disclosed signs to look out for considering a duplex or storey building for patronage and to ensure the safety of the occupants.

“In the case of duplex or storey buildings, when it rains and the building sways or moves, there is a problem with the building.

“If you can hear the noise from the flat above you distinctly, the building has a problem. It means that the decking over you has a porous cavity.

“Frequent plumbing issues are also another index for knowing a faulty building.

“When you see patches of spirogyra due to plumbing issues or the water from the flat above you leaks into your apartment, the building also has some problems you have to be wary about,’’ the architect said.

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