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NIA call for domestication of Building Code

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By Usman Oladimeji

Each state urged to establish a Public Assets Maintenance Agency.

The Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) has advocated for the swift domestication of the National Building Code to protect the safety and well-being of the general public. In a statement, NIA President Arc. Enyi Ben-Eboh voiced his displeasure over the tragic and sudden demise of Dr. Diasco Vwaere, who was involved in an elevator accident at the General Hospital in Odan, Lagos Island, Lagos state. Ben-Eboh emphasized the importance of concluding the building code’s reviews to enable President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to sign it into law.

Furthermore, the group indicated that the 36 State Governments of the Federation should get to work on domesticating the National Building Code promptly. They also advocated that each state should establish a State Public Assets Maintenance Agency to manage the upkeep of state-owned public buildings across the Federation, in keeping with the intent and objective of Executive Order 11. NIA noted that these agencies must possess the authority to monitor and mandate the maintenance of publicly owned buildings by private entities.

More complex structures necessitate increased regulatory control.

They remarked that not only would the group create and construct structures of greater heights, but would also employ innovative technologies in its operation and management. According to them, streamlined maintenance plans based on a risk-based accountability matrix would aid in management of the nation’s buildings, with more complex structures necessitating increased regulatory control and more frequent inspections. NIA and related professionals in the built environment possess the necessary skills and experience, and are also willing to work with governments at all levels to launch and run these bodies effectively.

It is of paramount importance that a collaborative, competence-driven, transparent, and accountable integrated systems-driven strategy is executed. The Architects group called attention to the dismal condition of public buildings around the country. Large, multi-story buildings in the country are complex systems made up of interconnected subsystems layers designed to keep occupants safe, comfortable, and productive. Some examples of these subsystems include the building’s envelope and framework, vertical transport systems, HVAC systems and its electrical infrastructure which includes its lighting, power, communications and security systems among other things.

Executive Order 11 focuses on public buildings maintenance.

In all buildings, particularly as in the current case, should considered a close working relationship between the Client/Owner, the Architects, the Engineers, and the Contractor in terms of taking responsibility for and mitigating any and all risks that may arise during the course of the project, from its inception to its delivery and beyond post-construction/occupancy. Many catastrophic incidents, including wildfires, post-construction building collapses, failed vertical transportation systems, and failed heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, among others, have occurred due to a lack of risk ownership.

To address the deplorable state of the nation’s maintenance culture, former President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR signed Executive Order 11 into law on April 5, 2022. This order focuses on the maintenance of our national public buildings and led to the establishment of the Federal Public Assets Maintenance Department (FPAMD). While these efforts are laudable, the country needs to move away from a fragmented approach to policy making and instead adopt one that is comprehensive, straightforward, and cooperative at all levels of government and society.

Adopting the code would also ensure the quality of work.

Experts posit that the government’s adoption of the building code is crucial in establishing order in the built environment and the process of delivering projects. It will run a significant check on developers’ tendency to take cheap measures. They argued that adopting the code would also ensure quality work delivery that would keep experts on track, drastically reduce the rate of quackery, and cut the expenses of unforeseen disasters like flooding, building collapse, and fire breakouts. Above all, developers’ obligations and duties would be crystal clear.

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