It is no longer news that the Lagos State Government has detected over 150 distressed buildings in the metropolis while a few of the structures have either collapsed naturally with casualties or pulled down byteam of taskforce from the authority.
What is news is that more buildings are deteriorating due to neglect of maintenance by owners to the extent that their walls are developing cracks, while the roofs are leaking.
To some buildings, they are overwhelmed by leaking plumbing pipes, damping foundation, leaking sewage pipes, leaking toilets, and corrosion of doors hinges, among others.
Worried by this development, experts in the built environment have also attributed lack of maintenance culture to building collapse incidents .
Some of the major causes of building collapse include faulty foundation , non engagement of professionals, shoddy jobs, use of sub-standard materials,corruption, building against approved plans and poor workmanship among others.
According to Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIME), Lagos Chapter, Mr. Segun Fadeyi, absence of maintenance on any building could result in its decay and degradation.
He noted that most building collapse cases in Nigeria are man-made, pointing out that poor maintenance culture was a major factor that could lead to building collapse.
The truth is that even the best constructed buildings need constant attention and if this is delayed, it could turn to disaster.
Fadeyi urged building owners to adopt the ‘ predict and prevent approach’ rather than ‘ fail and fix’ approach.
He emphasised that lack of maintenance could reduced performance and affect health of building, while threatening the safety of users, occupants and others in the vicinity.
Speaking on “Builing maintenance: A Proactive Model Approach to Preventing Building Collapse; Fadeyi defined building maintenance as a process of ensuring that buildings and other assets retain a good appearance and operate at optimum efficiency.
No matter how attractive and competitive a building is, the chairman pointed out that as its facilities aged, the systems would deteriorate and affect it’s structural integrity.
The chairman of NIME stated that building maintenance was aimed at preventing the process of decay and degradation; maintain structural stability and safety; prevent unnecessary damage from weather,; optimise performance; help inform plans for renovation, retrofitting; and determine causes of defects in the building to prevent re-occurrence.
He said it was to ensure continued compliance with statutory requirements, prevent building collapse and its resultant effects.
Coordinator of Ikotun/Igando cell of BCPG, Mrs Oluranti Okusaga, called on government to be responsible and act in order to curtail menace of building collapse, noting that many people have developed the habit of engaging quacks during construction.
“Before you build, consult professionals. Your safety is important and not cost, “she said, adding that more building are still going to collapse in the metropolis.
Another professional, Olaniyan olajide, from Badagry cell, said that buildings would not collapse on paper, noting that influx of urban slums has contributed to the menace.
He urged government, professionals and people in the private sector to join hands in the crusade against structural failures.
He also made case for law that would compel adoption of building manual as part of document required for facilities management of structures.
Chairman, Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Lagos State chapter, Mr. Solomon Ogunseye, decried the spate of building collapse in Nigerian cities, especially Lagos, calling on government to ensure that professionals are involved inbuilding project.
According to him, time has come to allow professionals to monitor building construction sites to ensure that contractors adhere to building drawings/designs as approved.
This, he said would help to reduce collapse of buildings drastically.
On building manual, he noted that most of the government’s projects have the document that specified how to repair or replace any facility in the building in case it broke down or malfunctioned.
If all homeowners could adopt the document,Ogunseye said it would give room for proper maintenance of buildings and prevent collapse.
His Vice, Colonel Jide Olayinka, stated that lack of implementation of policies by government was a major factor responsible for building collapse.
He noted that professional bodies were handicapped without government’s backing.
According to him, reports of recommendation abound on how to eradicate building collapse, but government has refused to act.
On building manual, Olayinka said that all professionals should come together to share experience on the document and look for a way to adopt this as part of requirements for building.
He wants government to enforce law promulgated to control building collapse.