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April 24, 2024

Guild seeks urgent measures as Nigeria records collapse of 62 buildings

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By Grace Alegba

The Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) on Tuesday expressed sadness that in spite of its efforts, Nigeria recorded collapse of 62 buildings in 2022, with Lagos State leading with 20.

At the guild’s combined virtual and physical Annual General Meeting (AGM), it consequently called for urgent measures to address the issue.

Mr Eddy Atumonyogo, who led the guild until election of his successor at the AGM, said that the guild made efforts, including introduction of  whistle blowing mechanism, to curb the trend.

Atumonyogo was represented by his deputy, Mr Sulaimon Yusuf.

He said that the guild  would need to do more toward arresting the situation.

Atumonyogo listed challenges of the guild to include funding constraints and COVID-19 pandemic which slowed down its activities.

He said that the guild, however, did its best to tackle the challenges.

Atumonyogo said that the guild partnered with governments of Lagos, Ogun and some other states toward effective regulation, monitoring, capacity building and improvements for best practices in construction activities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that statistics provided by Atumonyogo showed that Kano had seven incidents of building collapse in 2022 while Anambra followed closely with five, and Delta and Jigawa recorded four each.

“The guild still has a lot of work to do in persuading the various governments to collaborate with it in monitoring construction activities to ensure best practices as well as enlighten the investing public on the need to engage competent hands.

“Despite all the efforts in year 2022, there were still a total of 62 collapse of buildings, either partially or fully.

“Twenty-three states had incidents of partial or full collapse of buildings, with Lagos State topping the chart with 20 incidents,” he said.

Atumonyogo thanked members of the guild for their sacrifices, and urged the new president and executive council to put in their best.

The guest speaker, Prof. Mike Adebamowo, called for deployment of technology for monitoring of construction sites to tame quackery and other root causes of building collapse.

The guest speaker, who is an architect, said that most buildings that  collapsed in recent years, including the 21-storey  building that collapsed in Ikoyi, Lagos State, on Nov. 2021,  did not have experts on site.

The guest speaker,  who is the Executive Director of University of Lagos Business School, spoke on the theme: “Investigating the Political, Socio-Cultural Dimensions of Building Collapse in Nigeria: The Sustainable Pathways for Eradication’’.

He called for restoration of traditional role of architects as the prime consultants, who should work in synergy with the other built environment experts for quality assurance.

According to him,   if anything is wrong at the design stage of any project, everything built will be on a faulty foundation and can  collapse.

He said that tackling collapse of buildings would require commitment from building  experts, governments, communities and individuals.

 

“If we don’t go back to basics, we will not be able to address the root cause of the problem,” he said.

He expressed dissatisfaction that made-made factors were responsible for  nearly all the collapse of buildings that occurred in Nigeria.

He said that greed and corruption among property owners, building professionals, artisans and governments must be dealt with in Nigeria for sanity to be sustained  in the construction industry.

“Punishment that should serve as deterrent should be meted out to any professionals or property owners who contravene building control regulations or engage in unethical practices that can lead to building collapse,” he said.

He listed heavy fines, forfeiture of professional licence, forfeiture of property and jail terms among the punishments.

He urged governments to adequately fund its regulatory agencies and build its staff’s capacities.

He urged the regulators to enforce building codes and implement strategies for stemming  collapse of buildings.

He also urged relevant agencies to continuously audit buildings and bridges to detect distress early and avert collapse.

The newly-elected President of the guild, Mr Sulaiman Yusuf,  praised his predecessor for  foresight and good leadership.

Yusuf, a town planner, promised that his administration would uphold professionalism and quality assurance.

“During our time (2023 – 2024), we will focus more on the prevention of building and infrastructure collapse” rather than pursuing collapsed buildings in our society,’’ he said.

Yusuf said that his administration would do much to boost quality infrastructure delivery across the nation.

He thanked the guild’s affiliates for their support.

Mr Mubarak Gbajabiamila, the General Secretary of the outgoing administration in the Lagos Chapter of BCPG, gave a report of activities of the  administration.

NAN reports that BCPG is made up of  the seven built environment professionals which are estate surveyors and valuers, architects, town planners, builders, quantity surveyors, engineers and surveyors. (NAN)

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Edited by Ijeoma Popoola

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