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National Assembly writes NIOB on spate of building collapse

The National Assembly has written to the Nigeria Institute of Building, expressing its concern over the spate of building collapse in the country.

The House of Representatives had late last year deliberated on the matter and described the collapse of a two-story building in Surulere, Lagos State on October 25, 2019, as one too many.

The letter, addressed to the President of NIOB, was dated January 20, 2020, and signed by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani- Omolori.

The lawmakers stated that the causes of frequent building collapse were largely negligence, use of substandard materials and lack of professionalism in the supervision of construction projects.

They noted that non-adherence to building ethics and the lack of effectiveness of government agencies responsible for monitoring building projects were also major problems.

The National Assembly said it had resolved to urge the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to implement the National Building Code in order to regulate construction in the country and safeguard the lives and properties of citizens.

It equally mandated the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to sanitize the building materials sector to get rid of sub-standard goods in the markets.

It also asked the NIOB and the Nigerian Society of Engineers to ensure proper supervision of workmen and carry out sensitization campaigns to enlighten the public on the need to use quality materials and professionals in the construction of buildings.

Among other recommendations, the lawmakers asked the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to liaise with the Building Collapse Prevention Guild to carry out an assessment of buildings prone to collapse in order to alert residents and avert impending loss of lives and properties.

The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria and other professional bodies were also asked by the assembly to investigate and penalize their members involved in cases of building collapse.

“The purpose of this letter is to convey the resolutions of the House to you for further necessary action,” the letter read in part.

The BCPG had last month reported that states across the country recorded 43 building collapse cases in 2019.

According to the report, Lagos had the highest figure with 17 cases, accounting for 39.53 percent of the total number of collapsed buildings

Anambra State had the second-highest number with six collapsed buildings while Plateau and Delta states recorded three each.

Oyo, Enugu, Ondo, and Osun states recorded two collapsed buildings each in 2019 while Imo, Kwara Abia, Adamawa, and Katsina states each had one building collapse incident.

The President of BCPG, Mr. Akinola George, said the fight against building collapse had been tough as most buildings were not constructed by the people trained to do so.

According to him, construction professionals are often sidelined and reduced to onlookers on the building construction and procurement scene.

The President of NIOB, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, said professionals had been wondering if the country was making progress or retrogressing in the fight against building collapse.

“The higher number looks like an indictment on building control agencies. Either there is no mechanism for monitoring or the policies have some shortcomings,” he said.

He said the report was a major setback for all stakeholders fighting against the menace of building collapse.

source: Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

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