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Building collapse: Experts seek involvement, collaboration of all sectoral professionals

Experts in the nation’s building construction industry on Tuesday called for the collaboration of all professionals in the sector and related government agencies, to guard against the increasing spate of building collapse in Lagos state.

The professionals spoke in Alausa, Ikeja, at a public hearing on the collapsed building at 63, Massey Street, Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island, organised by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.

The Ita Faji building collapse yesterday

They also called for strict application of building regulations by the state government and the prosecution of developers, owners and builders who fail to adhere to the regulations prescribed by law.

The  body of professionals include the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP).

Others are the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), and the Nigerian Institute of Surveyors (NIS).

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They all agree that most of the collapsed buildings were developed by quacks, using sub-standard materials.

According to them, quacks use substandard materials, without the involvement of relevant government building agencies.

The stakeholders therefore called for synergy between all the professionals in the industry and the relevant government agencies, as well as owners and developers.

They said this would ensure that the right things were done before, during and even after building, to end the menace of collapsed buildings.

The Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), in its presentation, identified among others: lack of comprehensive subsoil investigation before designs were done; non-adherence to designs and failure to seek professional advice during construction.

The guild also identified lack of effectiveness of the government agencies charged with monitoring of the building procurement and production process; quackery at both pre-and post-contract stages, and the use of substandard materials, as well as poor workmanship.

It also identified unrealistic construction timelines, unrealistic desires of clients, nocturnal concrete work, improper, illegal or unprocessed and unapproved change in land use, as well as lack of proper supervision during construction by relevant qualified professionals, and corruption by government monitoring officials, among others.

Proffering solutions, it called for the involvement of architects, civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, builders and land surveyors in all building construction work in the state.

The General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Mr Tiamiyu Adeshina, said government would henceforth begin to take in displaced persons from collapsed and marked buildings at its resettlement centre in the Igando area of the state.

Tiamiyu, however, called for a law to empower the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) to demolish marked buildings within five months, instead of leaving them for their owners who might not be willing to bring down the structure until their collapse.

Speaking on behalf of the Lagos Anti-demolition Movement, Mr Ayo Ademiluyi, Co-convener of the movement, called for, among other things, a Coroner’s inquest into the Ita-Faaji building collapse, to determine the appropriate number of the dead and injured.

He said government officials who were found negligent in their duty as regards timely demolition of such buildings should be prosecuted and that there should be investigation into the quality of building materials used by developers and the prosecution of such developers.

Ademiluyi also called for application of urban renewal strategies to the crisis of dilapidated buildings in Lagos Island, as well as compensation for the families of the deceased and wounded pupils.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the ad-hoc committee on the Ita-Faaji building collapse, Mr Wasiu Olokunola, told the stakeholders that the committee would look into their submissions and the reports of all previous committees on building collapse in the state.

He said the committee would also come up with a recommendation to government to tackle the menace, so as to save lives and property.

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