Building experts urged to maintain professionalism


Following the recent building collapse in Lagos Island, an environmentalist, Mr Gafar Odubote has tasked building experts to adhere to standard building practice to avoid re-occurrences.

Odubote, an environmental advocate who said this on Thursday in Lagos, revealed that building collapses could be avoided.

The expert said that building collapses were not necessarily natural occurrences or disasters but indicators of structural failure and poor maintenance that could be avoided.

“Building collapse is a risk that can be prevented. Most building collapses are not from natural causes or disasters but as a result of structural failure and lack of proper maintenance.

“It is time professionals that are not adhering to the international best standard in building practices should not just pay penalty fines but be jailed and lose their licenses permanently.
“The environmental measures that can be taken by the government and constituted authorities are to identify buildings that do not meet up the standards and ensure they are brought down.

“With the recent building collapse in Lagos Island, it shows that a gradual depletion of the building has been going on over the years, which the constituted authorities failed to bring down even though they allegedly claimed that they marked it for demolition,” he said.

Odubote called on stakeholders in the building industry to advocate and sensitise local builders and Nigerians on the need to put up quality standard structures.

“The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE); Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG); Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIB); and other civil societies should unite in creating advocacy on raising awareness for people to carryout proper design of their buildings.

“Adequate subsoil tests should be carried out before designs are done and the engagement of certified professionals for the building construction should be engaged.

“The government should be effective in monitoring the building construction process – both before and after.

“The advocacy should also target the professionals not to compromise quality, supply sub-standard materials and also contractors engage untrained builders, and the Nigerian construction industry should be totally sanitised.

“People should learn the basics of concrete mixing for buildings and not to cut-corners or give contractors unrealistic timelines, when the foundation is wrong the building will definitely collapse,” Odubote said.

The expert also urged Nigerians to do a feasibility study on any building or apartment they choose to rent to avoid being victims of collapsed buildings.

“Before renting an apartment; request for the structural plan/design of the building and request for professionals to help in reviewing.

“The tenant should request for the report of any structural stability tests carried out by professionals in the building; which will show the state of such buildings.

“A tenant should look for any major structural cracks in the wall or gaps in the floors.

“He should understand the history of the area, the terrain and typography. A building does not suddenly collapse without any prior warning signs,” he said.