Synagogue: Defective foundation not responsible for guest house collapse, witness insists

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IKEJA – A Geo-technical engineer, Mr Joseph Folayan, on Wednesday asserted that the collapse of the Synagogue of All Nations’ guest house was not caused by a defective foundation.

Folayan, the principal partner of Progress Engineering Company, made the assertion while testifying before a coroner’s inquest investigating the cause of the collapse of the six-storey building.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inquest was set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the Sept.12, 2014 building collapse which 116 people, mainly South Africans.

The Lagos State Material Testing Agency had claimed in its Structural Integrity Test on the building that it collapsed as a result of a defective foundation.

However, Folayan, who was being cross-examined by Mr Akingbolahan Adeniran, counsel to the Lagos State Government, on Wednesday stood by his earlier testimony before the court.

The former of the defunct Nigerian Geo-technical Association maintained that the 2.2 metres by 2.2 metres used for the foundation base was adequate for the structure.

According to him, the 2.5 Ton Machine used by the government agency for the soil test is outdated and is no longer recommended under geo-technical engineering best practices.

Folayan said: “The collapse of the building of the Synagogue Church did not occur as a result of foundation failure.

“There could not have been overloading because the strength of the soil, based on the exhibits before the court, can carry that load.”

Also testifying, Mr Oreoluwa Fadayomi from the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), a voluntary association of engineers, eliminated weak foundation as the cause of the collapse.

Fadayomi, however, told the inquest presided by Mr Oyetade Komolafe that the collapse was caused by a combination of design and detailing errors on the part of engineers who handled the project.

“All the ingredients for a sudden collapse were present in this structure before the collapse,” he said.

According to him, from the investigations carried out by the BCPG, the columns and beams used for construction of the structure were very weak.
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He noted that though the Synagogue Church provided the best materials for the construction, they might not have carried out due diligence on the competence of the building engineers.

Fadayomi also called for the establishment of a structure to preserve evidence at building collapse sites to make investigations easier.

NAN reports that the matter was adjourned till April 23 for further hearing. (NAN)
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