Towards eradicating structural failures, a university teacher, Prof. Michael Adebamowo, has said that intensive monitoring of construction works through the use of technology should be institutionalised.
He also recommended that the issuance of certificates of quality work at each stages of development should serve as a precursor to progress on other construction stages.
Adebamowo, who is the Executive Director, University of Lagos Business School stated this in a lecture tagged: ‘The Political and Socio-cultural Dimensions of Building Collapse in Nigeria: Sustainable Pathways for Eradication’ at the 2023 yearly general meeting of Building Collapse Prevention Guild in Lagos.
He also said government agencies should audit buildings and physical developments, including bridges to detect distress and avert collapse, adding that such audits should be made public for updates and comments.
The professor of architecture said state governments must fund agencies in charge of building, ensure that capable and qualified professionals are employed for implementation of building code regulations, ensure enforcement with approved design after due inspection, while testing of soil and building materials should not be compromised by corrupt officials.
“The Federal Government has approved the National Building Code for use. Unfortunately, the state governments are yet to formally inaugurate the enforcement officers in states as stated in the National Building Code. Punishment that could serve as deterrent should be meted out to any professionals or property owners, who contravene building control regulations or engage in unethical practices that could lead to collapse of buildings. There should be fines, forfeiture of professional license or property and jail terms,” he said.
He noted that sustainable solutions to building collapse should include innovative prefab building systems, use of advanced digital Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology systems, green smart systems, efficient coordination of structural integrity tests, enhanced public monitoring system, and innovative partnership between the government and professionals in the building sector.
Adebamowo said corruption has been identified as factor that has caused high cost of building materials and reduction in standard of construction works in developing economy, adding that it might at different stages, namely, at contract award, planning and design, while construction stage and when the building is completed.
For sustainable building, he said Community Development Associations (CDAs) that operate at the grassroot must play active role in stemming building collapses. This, he said will be by identifying buildings within their communities that show signs of physical and structural defects, and promptly reporting such to the Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Authority.
The President, Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Eddy Atumonyogo, an engineer, represented by Vice President, Mr. Sulaimon Yusuf, said the guild still has a lot of work to do in persuading governments to collaborate with BCPG in monitoring construction activities to ensure best practices.
He said despite efforts in year 2022, there were a total of 62 collapses of buildings, either partially or fully. He added that a critical look shows that 23 states had incidences of partial or full collapse of buildings, with Lagos State topping the chart with 20 incidents.
MEANWHILE, BCPG has elected new officials for its national body and Lagos branch. Mr. Sulaimon Yusuf emerged as president, Ime Udo as Vice president, Mrs. Adenike Ayanda as General Secretary, Offiong Samuel Ukpong as Treasurer, Mrs. Fatimoh Osho as Financial Secretary, John Bawa as publicity secretary, Gbenga Alaro as research and development secretary and Eddy Atumonyogo as immediate past president.
For Lagos branch, Mr. Joseph Akande is the new chairman; Dr. Isaac Akiije emerged as vice chairman, Mubarak Gbajabiamila as secretary and Faith Ezeugoh as treasurer.
Others are: Abiodun Adegoke as financial secretary, Bola Arilesere as publicity secretary; Allen Oseghale emerged for research and development secretary and Mrs. Adekemi Okusaga as immediate past chairman.
In his acceptance speech, Yusuf said the guild will focus more on prevention of building and infrastructural collapse rather than pursuing collapsed buildings in the society. He said the national executive would ensure establishment of new BCPG chapters in states, collaborate with government in ensuring domestication of the National Building Codes and its enforcement.
“We will promoting acceptable building standards through public awareness campaign on best practices in building and construction of structures, promote and institute neighbourhood alerts on poor construction works and buildings showing signs of structural failures, establishing youth wing of BCPG in secondary schools to promote awareness and interest in building right and preventing collapse of buildings, training and re-training of artisans in modern ways of construction and improve the skills of the artisans.”