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Lagos has 50% of collapses in Nigeria

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By Mercy Kelani

550 people have died from 272 building collapses in Lagos, Nigeria.

According to statements drawn from the Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Lagos State has the highest building collapse fatalities in the construction business sector. In this state alone, over 272 buildings have collapsed in the last one decade, representing 50 percent of the 541 recorded cases from 1974 to 2022. Records show that approximately 550 people died in the 272 collapses. This recurrent issue of collapses have jeopardized many businesses and caused loss of many lives.

Experts have proffered that projects should be carried out by professionals with the license to build. A high number of the recorded cases of collapses in the country is linked to use of substandard materials and inexperienced builders that lack the required technical knowledge for strict adherence to codes and standards. Non-enforcement of stage certification by regulators in the industry is significantly recognized as a cause of these occurrences within the country. This has made non-professionals take charge in the construction space without the knowledge or competence.

Licensed professionals should execute builds.

Commenting on the issue, former Redan auditor and managing director of Roccio Carrillo, Mr. Emmanuel Oyelowo, defined the problem of the sector as systemic failure which makes it possible for people to build structures without abiding by the control regulations of building. In his statement, the construction stage should be executed by people with licensed degrees to construct facilities and have related experience to complete the work needed. When this happens, professional builders are liable for whatsoever goes wrong after construction.

Director of JJ&J property management company Limited, Mr. Ezekiel Oke, also reacting to the issue, highlighted some factors that are likely to cause structures to crumble in the construction sector. They include bad designs, soil liquification, refusal to perform strength tests, extraordinary load, foundation failure, incompetence and others. According to the treasurer of Nigeria Institute of Building, Philips Ayotunde, a certificate of completion is a must, and this must be obtained before anyone is permitted to move into any new build.

Crumbling structures directly proportional to weak enforcement.

Additionally, the immediate past president of the Nigerian Institute of Building(NIOB), Kunle Awobodu, said that theoretically, the lifespan of a property is assumed to be 60 years. As a result, it is anomalous when there is frequent collapse of new builds and old structures are still intact after many years of construction. An expert in the industry, Hon. Olatunji Odunlami, noted the role of building material merchant. They sell substandard materials to ignorant end users.

Therefore, the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) is advised to disallow entry of such products into the country for sale. Various records revealed that many states in Nigeria have experienced at least one collapse. The records show that there is a direct proportion of crumbling structures to weak enforcement. Causative factors in his statement include natural factors like hurricanes and tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, landslides, fire, and weakness of property due to many years of construction.

Public engagement is needed to put an end to these collapses.

Hon. Odunlami stressed that professionals in the sector should work according to the ethics of the profession with probity. Professional and regulatory bodies are urged to man up to their responsibilities of ensuring professional integrity and firmness in investigation and punishment of professional misconduct. Public engagement is also emphasized to assist enforcement agencies with identification of illegal developments and suspicious sites undergoing construction. Acting as whistleblowers will foster a stop to the likely dangerous projects at the infant stage, thereby preventing these incidents.

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