By Grace Alegba and Rukayat Adeyemi
Lagos – The President, Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), Mr Kunle Awobodu, on Thursday called for increased awareness campaigns and enforcement of laws to stem the rising spate of building collapses in Nigeria.
Awobodu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that lack of regulation of actual construction posed danger, urging government officials to liaise with professional bodies to achieve positive results.
“There is a collective challenge that we have not paid attention to.
“Building collapse every now and then is questioning our sincerity at achieving the goal of Zero Tolerance for building collapse,’’ he said.
Awobodu explained that ignorance and lack of sufficient funds usually makes clients to patronise quacks and later record huge losses in the event of building collapse.
He called on the Lagos State and Federal Government to enact laws to ensure that only professionals undertake building construction and as well strengthen and enforce existing laws.
“Government has done so much to protect the design aspect, that, if you want to build a house you must submit your drawing, both architectural and structural drawings for verification and approval.
“The essence is that somebody could be held responsible for the design, but when it comes to construction aspect, government has not really done much to make somebody to be held responsible.
“So, it becomes anybody’s trade to build despite the fact that there is a law which has recognised the person who should handle that construction aspect, which is a builder.
“Qualified certified building experts have requisite training and competence to handle that process of construction which we call building production management, that is coordinating the site, workers, materials and designs based on versatile knowledge.
“But people are looking at the side of benefits rather than the risk involved in playing that role,’’ he said.
Awobodu said it is “suicidal ” to leave construction in the hands of artisans.
He called on Lagos State Building Control Agency to monitor construction sites at intervals to ensure that professionals handled construction projects.
The institute president called for collaboration of Federal and Lagos State Governments with the private sector in the area of regulations to achieve efficiency.
Awobodu also advised state government to engage private firms in the regulation of new settlements to prevent haphazard development, which would later result in building collapses.
He said that generally, several buildings constructed in Lagos without required approvals were disasters waiting to happen, adding some buildings in the city centre were also at risk.
“Basically, we need to improve on building control; we need to examine strategically the modus operandi and then marry it with the existing parameters.
“Everywhere has its own peculiarities, attitudes, cultures, among others,” he said.
Citing Bariga as an example of places where houses were constructed without lintels, he appealed to the state government not to allow substandard construction in places under government acquisition.
“Government abenitio should not allow developments under lands that are under acquisition for future developments or future needs,” he said.