Finding lasting solution to building collapse in the FCT

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The site of a three-storey building that collapsed at Dape, in Life Camp, Abuja on July 3.

Although no life was lost, nine persons were rescued due to the prompt response of emergency rescue operatives.

Stakeholders say the building collapse in the nation’s capital is unacceptable and urge regulatory agencies and professional bodies to rise up to their responsibilities.

The Director, Development Control Department, FCT Administration, Mr Mukhtar Galadima, said that the authority was doing all that it can to curb the ugly trend.

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Galadima blamed the recent building collapse on lack of adherence to precautionary advice on the part of the developer.

He explained that the site, Plot 965 in Dape, was allocated to one Nazia Building and Civil Engineering Company Ltd.

He said that the plot was allocated for a mix-use development in 2019 namely for commercial and residential facilities on a three suspended floor.

He added that the developer was asked to stop the project, following some observations, particularly when it was discovered that the topography was not reflected in the initial design.

“We also noticed that the site was sloppy and swampy so we asked the developer to submit his design for reassessment.

“In the course of the development, there was an alteration, and the developer was asked to stop work on the site until the modifications are integrated in the design.

“Also, the building failed our integrity test, indicating that it will collapse. Regrettably, the developer mobilised workers to site on Monday, and the building collapsed,” he said in a media report.

Galadima said the Title Right of the developer for the land has been revoked in line with Federal Capital Territory Adminstration (FCTA) policy whenever a building collapses.

The Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority, Shehu Ahmed: Director, Development Control Department, FCT Administration, Mr Mukhtar Galadima; Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola; and the Director-General, FCT Emergency Management Agency, Dr Idriss Abass, during the assessment visit to the site of the collapsed building at Dape in Life Camp, Abuja

Search and rescue operation is critical in saving lives during emergency situations and the management of FCT Emergency Management Agency said that it leaves no stone unturned to ensure prompt response to distress calls such as in the even to building collapse.

On the day the Dape building collapsed, the Director-General FCT Federal Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Abass Idriss, said that the agency received a distress call about the incident at about 3:30 p.m.

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Idris said that FEMA immediately mobilised stakeholders to the site, adding that in the process nine people were rescued.

To determine the immediate and remote causes of the Dape incident, the FCTA has set up a committee, to be under the chairmanship of the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority, Mr Shehu Hadi.

The Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, who announced the decision, added that the committee would also establish culpability, whether from officials of the administration or external persons.

Adesola said that the FCTA would invoke all penalties and sanctions in line with the operations of engineering profession when the committee’s investigation was concluded.

“I want to assure the public that all factors are considered when a property is duly authorised by development control, but in this case, there were some variables that were not taken into consideration.

“The development control directed that all work should be stopped to enable the FCTA advised appropriately, but the developer ignored the directive and continued work on the site,” a recent media report quoted him as saying.

While the FCTA and its agencies have taken steps to find a lasting solution to building collapse in the FCT, what are the roles of regulatory and professional bodies? Can they be exonerated or partially be held culpable?  Some residents asked.

Responding, Mr Emeka Ozioko, Chief Inspector, Engineering Regulation Monitoring, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), said that the council would investigate the causes of the collapse.

According to Ozioko, any engineer found guilty of professional misconduct will lose his license and face other penalties.

“The problem in this country is that nobody is punished for doing wrong. The moment a person is sent to jail, to suffer for causing the lives of citizens then others will sit up.

“Let us all deal with the rules and whoever has violated the rules let him suffer the consequences,” he said.

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He said that builders and engineers need to be disciplined and follow the rules, adding the high incidence of building collapse in the country will not stop until stakeholders did the needful.

“What we need to do is to be very religious to what the engineers have designed and follow it judiciously.

Officials of the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute taking samples for testing to determine the quality materials and possible causes of the building collapse 

Similarly, the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, Prof. Samson Duna, said that the institute has collected samples from the site with a view to investigating the causes of the collapse and make recommendations.

Duna said that most of the building collapse were caused by human error, therefore avoidable.

He identified some of the factors that lead to building collapse to include unprofessional practices, lack of proper assessment of soil properties, use of substandard materials, and non-adherence to professional procedure.

According to him, building collapse persisted because somebody somewhere is not doing the right thing.

“We have taken samples of the soil, the concrete, the steel, and other elements to determine the standard adherence to procedure.

“Beyond the quality of materials, if the procedure is faulty, you should expect building collapse”, he said at the Dape collapsed building site.

Mr Kenedy Aimiuwu, Chairman, Practice Committee of the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, also attributed some of the building collapse to unprofessional practices.

Aimiuwu said most of the builders in construction sites were not professional builders, and as such, lacked requisite knowledge of the dangers of unwholesome practices.

“If you check, most of the builders involved with the collapsed buildings are artisans and not certified builders”, he said.

Stakeholders insist that to forestall building collapse in the country, government and regulatory bodies must ensure strict adherence to the use of quality building materials.

The regulatory agencies and professional bodies must also ensure the use of the right personnnel, the right design structure, and proper maintenance culture, including the strict adherence to building code and professionalism.

They say close attention should be paid to developers and their collaborators in his places whom after being compromised look the other way while building code are being violated and innocent lives exposed to danger. (NANFeayures)

**If used please credit the writer and News Agency of Nigeria

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