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Grappling with building collapse challenge

It was reported that the six-storey building suddenly caved in, burying hundreds of persons in the rubble.Building collapse over the years has become a major…

It was reported that the six-storey building suddenly caved in, burying hundreds of persons in the rubble.
Building collapse over the years has become a major concern in the country. Many reasons have been given for it.
Despite efforts by professional bodies to curb it through seminars, sensitization and frequent site inspections, lives and property are lost in a situation  that can be prevented if proper building ethics are adhered to.
Director -General of Nigerian, Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), Professor Slim Mutawal said building collapse is  cause by the use of low quality building materials, incompetent artisans, weak supervision, non-compliance with specifications/standards, poor design, poor maintenance and weak foundations of buildings.
Corruption amongst government officials who are tasked with building regulation and control has also been identified as a major reason for rampant cases of building collapse in the country. Also cited as a cause is the change of design and specifications by developers who add new floors to the one(s) initially approved by government officials.
Recently, a one-storey building that collapsed in Jikwoyi, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was said to have no building plan. Worse still, a new floor was being imposed on an existing one-storey.
Many professional bodies such as the Council for the Regulations of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) and Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON)  amongst others have come up with investigation committees to unravel the actual cause of the synagogue building collapse.
Chairman of CORBON Professor Kabir Bala said it is high time “we rose up as a nation to stop the avoidable loss of lives and national embarrassment due to failure of our infrastructure, by doing the right thing in the right way and at the right time.
“We should not continue to repeat the same cycle of mistakes and alibi when buildings collapse.
“The collapse of the six-storey building in the Synagogue Church in Lagos is yet another issue in the litany of woes that Nigeria has been witnessing. While collapses can be due to so many factors ranging from human to natural, some immediate questions Nigerians need to ask are: Were there any approved designs for the building? How and by whom were the designs done and approved?  How and by whom was the construction done? What departures exist from the approved designs?  All these questions beg for answers.”
Buldr  Alao Abdul Razaq of the Nigerian Institute of Builders called for severe punishment for those involved in any building that collapses, saying it will go a long way in reducing the menace.
He said that the rampant cases of building collapse are due to the fact that previous culprits were not punished.
 Registrar of COREN Engr. Wopa Kamila Malik said that the council can punish only engineers that are engaged in any building that collapses.
Same applies to other regulatory bodies, hence the call for the quick passage of National Building Code which will set the standard for anyone who engages in building construction in the country.

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