Time bomb on building collapse

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It is absurd that we continue to build without thinking or taking cognisance of nature and artificial development imposed on the soil.

We need to carryout comprehensive condition survey analysis on the commercial hub of Nigeria called Lagos State in order to avert serious economic and environmental hazards that we will be experiencing in the next 10 years due to denudation of quackeries in the construction sector of the economy which is always resulting to loss of lives and properties that will not make up to our housing deficit of 20 million housing; instead it will create more menace. The recent Lekki building collapse is a very serious disaster that federal government, state governments and professional bodies like CORBON, COREN, ARCON, SURCON, TOPREC, QSRBN AND ESVARBON and other NGOS should rise up against, and deem it as an act of professional terrorism lingering in Nigerian Construction Industry. If a registered professional is responsible for it, he should face the wrath of law without any delay. Also the arrangement of the site has shown unhealthy arrangement.

The Minister of Housing should create emergency committees of sound professionals in the building environment to do a feasibility study on infrastructural development on high rise buildings in Nigeria nationwide within the 90 to 120 days; and advise the government on any structure that does not meet minimum requirement for integrity and other structural analysis of a fit building for human habitation in Nigeria. All the tall buildings in Marina, Lagos are deficient in one way or the other due to lack of maintenance culture and safety facility in them. In the Bank of Industry case in Marina, the debris was left for over a year before it could be removed. We need to empower our professionals in terms of advanced technology if we have to compete with international best practices. Places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Malaysia and South Africa have more high rise structures but very rarely do we hear of building collapse.

Ways out of incessant building collapse in Nigeria
• Passage of National Building Code to become law of the federation.
• Creation of construction board like other advanced nations.
•Adequate enforcement and monitoring by regulatory councils and their institutes.
•Technology transfer initiatives by federal, states, local  governments and professional institutes.
•National database for all practising and non-practising building environment professionals by federal government and states. Local government should also have theirs.
•Registration of all skilled and unskilled artisans in national database, which helps the government or National Planning or National Bureau of Statistics in planning analysis and it, can be done by Industrial Training Fund (ITF).
• Creation of National Laboratory for Building Materials Testing centre in the six Geo-political zones to prevent importation of inferior building materials into the country, and
• Stringent Laws must be made against any professional engaging in quackery; building/construction in Nigeria is a most uncontrolled sector.

In conclusion, if these items are implemented, the issue of building collapse will be completely eliminated except on natural circumstances, which the Nigeria environment is not known for. Lastly, urgent strategies need to be in place for now to avert any similar occurrences nationwide.

• Onabekun is MNIOB, MCIOB

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