The spates of building collapse in Nigeria in the past years have assumed a very worrisome dimension as many lives are lost and huge investments wasted. A building, once properly constructed is expected to be in use for a very long time. Although every society has its own problems and Nigeria is not an exception yet the very recent challenges of buildings collapsing in various locations have been giving the various arms of government and the people of Nigeria sleepless nights in view of the enormous loss of huge investments in housing.
In Recent times, Nigeria has witnessed issues of building collapse resulting in death of hundreds of its citizens. Most prominent of these include the Jabi Building Collapse of August 17th, The Synagogue Church of all nation guest house collapse of September 2014 and the Reigners Bible Church building collapse at Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria amongst many others with a combined death of over 300.
Below are some underlining and avoidable causes of these saddening occurrences which if properly taken into consideration can bring about a stop to this menace.
1. Structural Design Handled by quacks
Building designs are usually handled by qualified structural engineers who are normally trained and certified by relevant professional bodies like NISE and COREN. This is a fundamental aspect of every building and construction process. Absence of these means a lot can go wrong from the very beginning and cause structural damages that can lead to loss of life and other un-intended consequences.
2. Absence of Soil Test
The importance of soil test in any building and construction activity cannot be over emphasized. Soil test enables the builders to determine soil strata, foundation type and where to lay the foundation for the building proper.
Places like Lagos has swampy grounds and many estates are built on recovered grounds. These means that the foundation of such buildings needs to be strong and carried out after a proper soil test. Absence of this has led to many avoidable building collapses that we have witnessed in this part of the world in recent times.
3. Lack of adherence to building specification by personnel
Every building and construction project has sets of design specifications that professionals ought to adhere to. Some of these design specifications includes Architectural Design, Mechanical and Engineering Design, Structural Design and the Survey plan. Adhering to the specifications contained within these documents will ensure that the building comes out exactly the way it should and is not subjected to abuse by future builders.
4. The use of sub-standard building materials
This is a very important factor which is all about actual implementation of all that is contained within the building and construction design documents. The lure of shortcuts and greed to make quick gains, has lead to the rise in the use of sub-standard building materials by building contractors which has contributed to a great extent, in re-occurrence of building collapses in recent times. This can be checkmated through the implementation of proper quality control by project site supervisors.
5. Professional Negligence
By professionals we refer to the builders, the town planers, the estate surveyors, the architect, the engineers, the quantity surveyors and all who are trained and directly involved in the entire construction process. Professional negligence hinders work progress, causes improper documentation, non-compliance to all necessary requirement and ultimately compromises standards.
A scenario where the design and materials needed for the projects are all in place but the workers find’s themselves making one mistake to the other due to absent of trained /skilled professionals and lack of synergy between all involved in carrying out the building process depicts a good example of professional negligence.
Synergy between building professionals is very vital as it will bring to reality the ideas of the client. It will also ensure proper checks and balances required to carry out proper work and that workers in the lower end of the construction process use the right materials and in the right ways.
6. Bad Construction practices
All that we have listed above so far, amounts to bad construction practices it now left for Building professionals to adhere to the standards of the industry and for the industry regulators to do their job, in ensuring that every building and construction projects in this part of world, follows all the rules within its book. Doing this will not only ensure we all live in safety, but save the nation of needless and preventable lost of life’s that we witness on a daily basis in this part of the world.