By Grace Alegba
Lagos – Mr Kunle Awobodu, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), on Wednesday called for stricter regulation of the building industry nationwide to curb collapse.
Awobodu, who made the call during a news conference in Lagos, expressed concern about increasing spate of building collapse.
He said that there was increased collapse of buildings under construction and queried the monitoring mechanism apparatus of both Federal and State Governments.
He noted that the figure was on the increase with 43 incidents in 2019 alone.
The NIOB boss said that it was regrettable that Lagos topped the chart maintaining the lead and accounted for 17 out of the 43 buildings that collapsed in 2019.
“Out of the 17 buildings that collapsed in Lagos in 2019, 59 per cent were existing buildings while 41 per cent were under construction.
“In Anambra State, out of the five buildings that collapsed, four were under construction.
“Plateau had three, Delta also recorded three incidents while 59 lives were lost in the various incidents and 74 persons injured,’’ Awobodu said.
He said that the government needed to increase efforts in monitoring building construction as well as engagement of qualified professionals to handle the tasks.
“If what happened in 2019 is higher than what we had before, one will ask the fundamental question: are we making progress or suffering retrogression?
“With this analysis, we can go back to the drawing table and look at the way forward. Why we are having such a high percentage of building collapse,” he said.
The NIOB boss called for an effective mechanism for monitoring the incidents and policy review to tackle the menace.
He also called on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to use his expertise to nip the problem in the bud.
He recalled that the governor was a former vice chairman of a committee set up by the state government to reform physical planning and urban development laws.
Awobodu called for urgent action to save lives and protect the image of the state and Nigeria globally.
According to him, the formal sector is well regulated but the informal sector needs stiffer regulations as some people engaged in various corrupt practices alongside quackery, causing increased building collapse.
The NIOB boss said that the institute would hold a sensitisation programme on May 13, to enlighten the public on the importance of standard construction to curb the menace.
“Builders all over the country including, stakeholders in the built environment will come out en masse for road shows, rallies, seminars and lectures in tertiary institutions having Building Departments.
“Also, students of Building are expected to participate and we will reach out to government officials to make representation on the incessant collapse of buildings and way forward.
“Building artisan leaders will be there; the block builders and every professional that has anything to do with building will be involved.
“This is because, the record we had in 2019 is a challenge to what we have been doing in the past,” he said.
Awobodu said that several collapsed buildings were not brought to public notice because the owners evaded sanctions.
He called for prosecution of offenders to serve as deterrent to those who might want to cut corners to compromise construction standard.
He added that building construction should not be an all-comers affair and building production management should not be left for artisans but professionals to ensure strict adherence to standards.