Speaking at the conference on Sustainable Building by BusinessDay, which was centred around the theme “Addressing the Challenges of Building Collapse in Nigeria”, the General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Gbolahan Owodunni Oki, revealed that there are fewer than 4,000 architects working in Nigeria. At the conference, Oki, who is an architect with more than 30 years of experience, voiced his concern over the situation of professional bodies in the sector.
Oki said that these are the registered architects but that there are other 60,000 who have yet to be registered. He emphasised the need for experts in the construction industry to take action to curb the alarming trend of building collapses. He explained that the architect designs and plans for the construction of the project is the first step in the process. The Structural Engineers’ job is to make sure the buildings can take the stress they undergo and other factors against them without collapsing.
The lack of a maintenance culture contributes significantly.
Building contractors, Mechanical Engineers, and Electrical Engineers were all mentioned, and their roles in the construction process were explained in detail. Oki argues that behavioural issues and a lack of a maintenance culture contribute significantly to the widespread problem of building collapse in Nigeria. He complained bitterly that many professionals in that field lacked the necessary requirements. He emphasised the significance of regular upkeep and careful monitoring, saying that how people handle others’ property is a good indicator of how they’ll handle their own.
Furthermore, he advocated for an increase in both vigilance and community participation in the campaign against building collapses. He pointed out the “see something, say something” initiative that was created by the Lagos State Building Control to combat land encroachment. This endeavour is aimed at preventing land from being invaded. Oki also advocated for the utilisation of suitable building materials and emphasised the requirement of comprehensive documentation of all personnel engaged in the construction process.
A lasting solution needs to be provided across the sector.
When speaking on the necessity for collective action, Oki emphasised how important it was for the various professional bodies as well as stakeholders to work together. He called for one plan of action to assure the safety and stability of constructions all across the nation. According to him, in order to put an end to the occurrence of building collapses in Nigeria, professional buildings need to start issuing certificates to only certified and recognised professionals.
Moreover, he deduced that in order to combat this threat, each and every person involved will need to contribute. They need to propose a solution that is effective over the long term; participation from all members of society, including the government, stakeholders, professionals, and workers, is also required. The recurring fatalities caused by building collapses in Nigeria prompted the call for stronger control and collaboration among professionals to ensure the safety and stability of structures throughout the country.
Affluent communities also experience building collapse issues.
In a separate report, concerns were also raised by the architects working under the supervision of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Lagos Chapter; they stated that the story’s focus has switched from run-down or rural neighbourhoods to more affluent communities. The chairman of the branch, David Majekodunmi, who made these remarks at a news conference he gave together with other Exco members in preparation for the Lagos Architect Forum (LAF), lamented that the collapse of buildings persisted in occurring despite everything that had been done.