The National President, Nigerian Institute of Building, Kunle Awobodu, has said that investigations into incidences of building collapse in the country reveal inappropriate management of building production process on sites as a major cause of building collapse.
He spoke at an event organised to remember school children that died in a collapsed building at Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island in 2019 and victims of other building collapses in Nigeria.
At the event on Saturday, he recalled that on March 13, 2019, a five-storey building collapsed at No 63, Massey Street, Ita-Faaji, Lagos Island, killing about 20 occupants, including many pupils.
Awobodu said, “The outcome of many investigations on collapsed buildings has identified inappropriate management of the building production process on sites as the major problem.
“The interwoven complex activities of building construction require expertise in their management.
“The expert to handle this delicate process is the trained and certified builder, who has been licensed by the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria.”
Following the collapse of the five-storey building, he said the loophole in the law and development process that had been severally exploited to promote quackery on building sites, in Lagos State in particular and Nigeria in general, was again identified by the panel of investigation.
He said the Lagos State House of Assembly took steps to decisively block the loophole through a stakeholders’ public hearing on its physical planning and building control regulations which regulations were eventually signed by the commissioner responsible for Physical Planning and Urban Development.
These steps birthed the 2019 physical planning and building control regulations of Lagos State, he said.
He said, “One of the key parts of the regulations is the correct and unambiguous provision of Section 4, Subsection 2 of the 2019 Lagos State Building Control Regulations which states:
“The site execution of every building under construction shall be managed by a registered builder.”
Explaining, he said, the historical context and relevance of March 13 came through the building collapse of that day, where innocent, helpless but promising school children lost their lives (due to system failure of older Nigerians) and reactions from within and outside Nigeria coupled with other events that took place after that day.
“March 13 is thus symbolically chosen to remember Ita-Faaji building collapse victims and all other victims of building collapse in various parts of the country,” he said.
He attributed the main cause of the Ita Faaji calamity to quackery, which also remained the major cause of several building collapses in Nigeria.
Closely and generally associated with this fundamental cause was negligence with respect to appropriate building regulations and their enforcement on the part of the government, he said.
Awobodu said the third factor in the series of building collapse was lack of accountability and failure to bring culprits to book.
Also, the National President, the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Olutoyin Ayinde, said the collapse of the building in Ita Faji was a reminder of things that were left undone, actions that were supposed to have been taken and lives that were supposed to have been preserved.
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