Officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Police Anti-bomb Squad and Nigerian Port Health deployed to the Apapa Port Complex, now work in fear over alleged possible imminent collapse of their offices.
Some Police and Immigration officers spoken to by our correspondent said that they had been using planks to support falling parts of the buildings.
This has created panic among the officers who have we learnt had no choice of where to move to as alternative offices.
Our correspondent during a recent visit to the port, observed that a section of the ceilings of one of the affected buildings have fallen off, even as officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that they have employed the services of carpenters to brace the ceilings from falling down.
Specifically, the ceilings of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), and the Commissioner of Port Police Monitoring Unit departments, have already been abandoned by officers over fear for their dear lives.
It was further gathered that personal funds have been learnt by officials of these agencies in fixing some of the failed structures but that was not enough to stem the decay.
Our sources disclosed that series of letters had been written to both management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Port Authority Police Commissioner in charge of Western Ports, Hadiza Bala Usman and Mohammed Kura respectively, without any response.
The officer described the poor state of their officers as an eyesore, saying it cannot attract complimentary remark from the international community, considering the peculiar duties of the Immigration Service.
Our sources said: “The situation has lingered for a long time and that is why the moral of the officers is indeed very low.“We don’t have anything to say because already letters have been written to the NPA but it appears the Authority does not understand the gravity of what is at stake at the port.”
The Commissioner for Special Duties in Rivers State, Dr. John Bazia, has said that the seven-storey building which collapsed in Port Harcourt on November 23, 2018, was because of over 700 bags of cement stacked in the building.
Bazia disclosed this in Port Harcourt to a five-man commission of enquiry constituted by the state government to investigate the immediate and remote cause of the tragic collapse.
Bazia who appeared as a witness to the rescue operation during the incident, said it was discovered that about 700 bags of cement were kept on the second floor of the collapsed building. He stated that it was wrong for such load to be left on a building that is under construction, adding that the 700 bags of cement may be the cause of the incident.
He said: “I can assure you that all those that were alive were rescued. 31 persons were alive while 17 people died. It took us over two weeks to get to the basement of the building. “I was informed by one of the workers at the site that 700 bags of cement were kept on the second floor. This load may have caused it. It is not good to keep such load on a building that is still under construction.”
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning, Dr. Reason Onya, had explained that documents of the building were approved in 2014, stating that he only re-validated the documents.
Onya, who has since stepped aside after the incident for the sake of integrity, stated that at the point of re-validation of the building documents, the original files domiciled in the state ministry could not be found, adding that he relied on the approval number found in the office.
The rate of mortality resulting from building collapse in Nigeria has become increasingly alarming. Every now and then, there are reports of one building collapse or another. A report by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, showed that over fifty-four cases of collapsed buildings were recorded in 2017 across the country. In the years before that, there were some building collapses as well.
There were thirty-three building collapse in Lagos and twenty-two in Abuja in 2012; seventeen building collapses in Lagos and twenty in Abuja in 2013, thirteen building collapse in Lagos and two in Abuja in 2014.This year, 2018, isn’t any better in-terms of building collapse. Just a few weeks ago, an Abuja building collapsed which claimed one life and left several injured. Research has it that the most prominent reason for the collapse of buildings is the lack of quality control. Quality control involves strict compliance with established standards. It defines the type of measures and controls to be carried out to ensure proper construction.
It is a series of processes that must be ensured from the start of a project to the selection of materials, to the execution and completion of the project.Some experts have attributed building collapse to ignorance, negligence and greed. Ignorance is when incompetent personnel are in charge of a project; negligence comes into play when the specification written for a past project is adopted without crosschecking for a need for adjustment. Greed plays out when construction personnel fail to use required materials allocated for a project due to selfish interest. The benefits of quality control in the construction industry cannot be over emphasized. Quality control ensures a measure of excellence or a state of being free from defects, deficiencies and significant variations. This quality is brought about by strict and consistent adherence to measurable and verifiable standards to achieve uniformity of output that satisfies specific or user requirements.
Thus, quality control is putting a system in place that ensures a building guideline is strictly adhered to. With quality control in action, it is safe to conclude that collapse rate will drop significantly. Any project with good quality control results in minimal defects and is more likely to have a longer lifespan. It goes without saying that by failing to prepare, one prepares to fail. In this case, quality control is the preparation stage. The more effort and caution put into it, the better the construction result. Quality control serves as the guide or road map to the engineers; thus, leading to a stable and fit building. In addition, quality control helps construction engineers comply with building specification.
It ensures that projects are carried out in agreement with specified designs and standards thus delivering a phenomenal structure. Furthermore, quality control save clients from excessive spending. If the engineers when constructing buildings for their clients take necessary measures, clients are sure to have a building with little or no defects. Defects are errors in the building’s design, workmanship, and materials used on projects that may result in the failure part of a building or the entire structure and may lead to fatalities inflicting huge litigation and financial costs to the client. Thus, quality control can help to reduce construction costs by lowering the level of waste and rework, and improving production efficiency. Quality control improves safety on the construction site. A report by The Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) indicates that the leading causes of private sector worker deaths (excluding the highway collisions) in the construction industry were falls, followed by strike by objects, electrocution, and caught-in/between.
These “fatal four” were responsible for more than half (63.7%) the construction worker deaths in 2016. BLS. A good quality control will make the construction workers enjoy a state of tranquil even in the vulnerability of the environment. Nigeria has potential to grow its construction industry, especially considering that it is one of the biggest economies of the world. However, there will continue to be a lull in growth if poor quality control remains the norm. This is the sentiment expressed by Engr. Emmanuel Adeyemi, Quality Assurance and Quality Control Manager at ITB Nigeria Ltd. According to Adeyemi, quality control is one aspect of the business that must never be overlooked as it can make or mar a project. It is only the best quality that can withstand the test of natural elements and indeed the test of time. “At ITB, quality is at the center of all our activities.
There is a Quality Management System (QMS) in place to provide superior service to clients. Through the adoption of the QMS, continuous quality, improvement and sustainable development is ensured. Nigeria has competent engineers we just need to pay attention to quality” Clearly, quality control is the measure required to ensure that building collapse is minimized, that construction site accidents are curtailed and that structures stand the test of time
Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike has directed the state Attorney-General to set up a Commission of Inquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the collapse of a seven-storey building at Woji road, New GRA in Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike described the building collapse as a sad development which has led to the painful loss of lives.
“I feel so pained that we have to face this kind of calamity at this time. I commiserate with the families that have lost their loved ones, who came to seek their daily bread. The government will do all it can to give them the necessary support,” the governor said.
“I have directed the Attorney-General of Rivers State to ensure that all legal steps are taken to do what is right within the ambit of the law.”
The governor ordered the immediate arrest of the owner of the collapsed building, saying that the state government will bring all culprits to book.
“Whoever that approved this structure and those involved in the construction will face the law. The government will take every necessary step to ensure that culprits are brought to justice.
“Whoever is involved, from the owner or the contractor or the officials of the state, they will face the full weight of the law,” he said.
Speaking when he led top government officials to visit the site of the collapsed building, Governor Wike noted that all officials of the Rivers State Government who defaulted in their duties would be sanctioned.
The governor was accompanied by his wife, Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike and top government officials.
“Government will take steps to acquire this property. We cannot allow this illegality. If you look at the master plan of this area, a seven-storey building is not allowed here.”
Governor Wike commended the construction giants, security agencies and non-governmental organisations for working with the state government to carry out rescue operations at the site of the building collapse.
It will be recalled that the seven-storey building at Woji road collapsed on Friday, with the state government mobilising emergency services to rescue trapped persons.
As at yesterday, there have been conflicting figures of persons rescued. While the government stated that 38 persons were rescued, some security personnel at the scene claimed the 28 persons have so far been rescued.
Meanwhile, the seven persons have been confirmed dead by those carrying out the rescue operation.
The governor directed that rescue operations should continue and at the time of filing this report 6:05 pm, intensive work was ongoing at the site.
Governor Nyesom Wike says he is deeply pained by the disaster of the crashed seven-storey building in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital, and has vowed to ensure that appropriate sanctions are taken.
The Governor who just arrived from a foreign trip which was cut short in the wake of building collapse explained that he is surprised that approvals were given for the building of a seven-story building on this sort of topography with a promise to get to the bottom of it.
Wike’s who was reacting two days after the tragic incident that left at least five dead also regretted the loss of lives. Meanwhile, rescue work is on-going as one more dead was recovered in the early hours of the morning. The site is still besieged by many who are hopeful that their loved ones will be rescued.
The collapse of a 7 storey building in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Friday, 23rd November 2018, has apparently brought the disturbing trend of building collapse to the fore once again. The nation’s multi-storey structures are increasingly looking like disasters waiting to happen and an end seem not to be in sight to the menace.
This issue has become a cause for concern, the question to ask here is, are the building owners and/or their building professionals cutting corners in construction and putting up sub-standard buildings? Are unqualified people being employed to do the jobs? Or are they circumventing building regulations (with the connivance of the staff of the Building Authorities)? Or could it be that the liability for these mishaps may lie with the Building Authorities, who may have approved less than adequate building plans?
Whatever the case, legally, if a building collapses and it is proven that it was sub-standard, then someone or people will have to be held accountable. In Nigeria, the main cause of building collapse has been found to be mainly structural failure, followed by poor workmanship and faulty designs respectively. In these circumstances, investigations usually reveal that specifications for the required building materials and safety procedures are sacrificed on the altar of profit and time, that is, to complete construction in record time.
To curb this ugly trend, builders and their clients, must ensure that all engineers on the construction project are COREN approved.
As a matter of urgency, there should be a review of the laws relating to construction, like the Urban and Regional Planning Law and the National Building Code, to ensure that all the bases have been covered. New legislation to fill any compliance gaps, which may have resulted in frequent building collapses, must be promulgated.
The steps to obtaining building plan approvals seem to be quite clear and robust. However, ensuring compliance to and enforceability of the laws, during the construction project, seems to be more of a challenge. Building Authorities must ensure strict compliance to the existing laws, by those involved in construction projects.
Frequent inspections of construction sites by the Building Authorities, must be carried out for instance, while constructing a building with approval for 3 floors, the owner may decide to increase the number of floors to 5. However, an additional building plan approval for the extra 2 floors, must be sought and obtained, before the extra floors are added.
The onus is on the Structural Engineer to do the calculations to ensure that the existing structure can carry the additional load. However, in practice, staff of the Building Authorities that look the other way, permit these additions to be implemented, while assessments, regularisation and obtaining the approval for the additions are done later.
This practice must be curtailed, as it has resulted in several building collapses. Property owners should be careful of who they give out their projects to. To avoid building collapse, due diligence should be done. It is better to employ contractors based on referrals and their credibility. Contractors also popularly known for quality can be approached in cases where personal investigation cannot be conducted.
In conclusion, if we take proactive measures, we can drastically reduce the frequency of building collapses in Nigeria if not totally eradicate it. We only need to make simple changes and we will be on our way to having better buildings.
Affa Dickson Acho
Buildings collapse due to wide range of reasons. These include natural disasters such as cyclones, hurricanes and the like. However, these causes are not usually related to the African experience. The causes of building collapse are mostly man made, and so, we can say to a large extent, that man is the architect of his own undoing.
- Weak Foundation
One cannot build a house on a shaky foundation.
There are two things to consider in building foundations. The first is the solidity of the soil. The solidity of the soil determines the strength of the foundation, and great care has to be taken in building on weaker soil to avoid building collapse. For instance, the specifications of foundation in a swampy area would be stronger than a region where the soil is hard.
Thus, construction professionals should take this point into consideration to ensure the foundation is properly done in order to ensure long lasting structures and preserve lives and property.
The second point to consider is the heaviness of the building. For instance, a building such as a multi-level car park would require a stronger foundation than a simple two bedroom flat designed to accommodate two people, because the weight the building is designed to carry has to be taken into consideration when erecting the foundation.
- Design Inadequacies
Another reason buildings fall is as a result of the failure to follow structural designs. Before a building is erected, there are structural plans and designs set up to serve as a guide for building among other reasons. When the plan is not properly followed, it could lead to structural lapses which may ultimately lead to collapse. It is important to follow the structural designs, and make proper adjustments where necessary on paper and when erecting the building.
- Poor Workmanship
Construction is more often than not left in the hands of unskilled and incompetent construction personnel. Unskilled labourers are bound to make mistakes in the building process, especially in mixing ratios. These mistakes caused by unskilled workers may lead to a host of problems that may lead to collapse. Invest in trained professionals to give you a long lasting structure, so pay now and reap later.
- Wrong Building Use
There are instances the building is used for purposes beyond the original intention. For instance, if the local shopping complex in the scenario above was originally designed to be a three bedroom family bungalow, and subsequently changed to a three story commercial building housing various businesses such as beauty salons, hardware stores and a nightclub, collapse was bound to happen, as the building was carrying a load beyond its original capacity.
- Substandard and Counterfeit Building Materials
Substandard and counterfeit materials are the bane of any structure’s existence. The market is full of building materials of different levels of quality, and sometimes it may take a trained eye to spot the difference between original and counterfeit products (See note #3). However, many choose to purchase substandard materials in order to shave building costs, and that saved cost today may lead to a collapsed building in the future. Be wise and buy high quality building materials.
- Failure to Enforce Building Regulations
A major problem in the construction sector is that the lack of proper regulation. Some builders erect substandard buildings without proper approval, and where approval is obtained, deviate from the previously approved plan.
Government bodies, stakeholders, building and construction professionals have a huge responsibility to regulate the industry by enforcing building codes and regulations, conducting building and soil strength tests, sealing off buildings that are not built according to plan, and cracking down on unqualified construction professionals. This step will improve and regulate the building and construction sector, and lower the rate of building collapses.
Building a house takes time, money, effort. However, failure to do things the right way may lead to the misfortune of any builder- cleaning up the ruins of a house he has taken time, treasure and talent to build. In the light of this, it is important to take the above steps into consideration in order to build structures that are long lasting and do not pose risks to the things and people sheltered within them.
The House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology has urged the Nigeria Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), to end incessant building collapses and grow the country through research innovations.
The Committee speaking through its Chairman, Beni Lar, during an oversight function visit to NBRRI on Wednesday, in Ota, Ogun State, said the efforts of the Institute in that direction will be appreciated.
The committee noted that NBRRI was well positioned to provide the nation with technological researches/innovations on buildings to end the incidence of building collapses in the country.
According to Lar, the Committee was in the Institute to find out information about; general implementation Level of 2018 Appropriation for the NBRRI; expenditure warrant for Personnel, overhead and capital, and total amount cash backed for the said subheads and period; percentage implementation of all projects.
Other things it wants to find include; internal revenue generation of the agency, if any; any on-going projects and level of implementation; and the personnel emolument payroll.
She said the visit provides opportunity for the committee to interact and cross-fertilise ideas with the agency regarding its challenges and constraints with a view to charting a sustainable road map for the development of the institute.
“The intention is to use the opportunity to oversight activities of the institute in respect of the 2018 budget implementation as it concerns recurrent and capital releases/implementation thereto.
“Judging from the 2017 oversight visit to your agency, the committee commended the giant strides achieved by the institute in the area of converting waste to wealth as epitomised by the development of Pozzolana Pilot Cement Plant products.
“The economic landscape of the world is undergoing remarkable changes, which is creating considerable opportunities and new challenges through science and technology. As a nation, we have all it takes to enter into the arena of the global community dominated by a deluge of innovations in science and technology.
“Considering the rich human and material resources of the nation, what we need to keep at par with the international community is to set our priority right, by recognising the place of science and technology and its integration in our national life,” she said.
Lar reiterated the commitment of the committee to continue collaborating with the professionals in the built environment, urging NBRRI to enhance its activities and productivity.
Earlier, Prof. Danladi Matawal, the Director-General of NBRRI, appealed for the review and speed passage of the NBRRI Act before the National Assembly, saying that it was the only flagship project initiated by the Institute.
Matawal stressed the need for the committee to approve the 2019 Research Institute Game programme. He assured the Committee of the agency’s commitment towards development of research innovations that would enhance development of the building industry and economic growth of the country.
Source: Maduka Nweke
No fewer than 11 persons were trapped under a three-storey building which collapsed in Nnewi, Anambra in the early hours of Thursday.
The building was located in Okpuno, Otolo, in Nnewi North Local Government Area of the state.
Mohammed Haruna, the police spokesperson who confirmed the incident, said the building belonged to one Collins Avoyi.
Mr Haruna said nine of the trapped persons have been rescued and taken to hospital while effort was on to get the remaining two out of the rubbles.
He said the trapped workers included foreign masons from the Republic of Togo.
“A three storey building belonging to one Mr Avoyi Collins collapsed at Okpuno Otolo in Nnewi North LGA of Anambra.
“Police Patrol rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area to prevent looters from taking advantage of the situation to steal.
“So far, nine of them were rescued alive from the collapsed building while efforts are ongoing to rescue two others who are still trapped inside the debris.
“Meanwhile, the rescued victims were rushed to the Community Health Center, Okpuno for medical attention and investigation is ongoing to ascertain circumstances surrounding the incident,” he said.
Source: Premium Times