Experts say,only government can end building collapse

Except the government makes a commitment to go tough on enforcement of relevant laws , the scourge of building collapse may not end soon , experts in the built environment have said .

They noted that the cause of the recent collapse on Lagos Island which claimed no fewer than 20 lives was not different from the causes of previous ones in the same area and other parts of the state as well as the entire country.

Some of the building construction experts , who spoke with The PUNCH, lamented that the menace of building collapse had remained because the regulatory bodies lacked the will to enforce laws .

They explained that while the issues had been overflogged and the causes known to almost everyone in the society , only the government had the power to go tough on errant developers, landlords , traditional rulers , thugs or anyone found contravening planning laws or engaging in activities that could lead to the collapse of a building.

“ I have visited several sites of collapsed buildings on Lagos Island, these buildings have similar causes and the major reason is that the buildings were not properly constructed.

When you talk of quality , many of them were lacking in the area of workmanship and material .

Lagos Island also , especially this Ita Faaji area , used to be a swampy area which should not take five -storey buildings , ” the 1 st Vice -President of the Nigerian Institute of Building , Mr Kunle Awobodu , said .

Awobodu , a former President of Building Collapse Prevention Guild, described the problem of building construction on Lagos Island as huge, adding that those in the government knew the unfortunate situation.

“ So how could a serious government official allow some kind of development in that area , I believe it is either as a result of compromise or they have some other issues we don’ t know about .

When you talk about regulations , I think there has been so much negligence .

The government has tolerated illegal development . Regulation failed or became too tolerant to have encouraged shoddy development , ” he said .

He stated that as a matter of urgency , the Lagos State Government should suspend construction of any kind of building, especially residential on Lagos Island to forestall more disasters.

The President, Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers , Mr Eddy Atumonyogo , said there had been a lot of actions and inactions on the part of the government and other stakeholders that had promoted collapse of buildings .

“ If faulty designs are approved for construction , there will be a collapse .

If design standards are not enforced during construction , there will be a collapse .

If fake materials are not detected and are used in construction , it will lead to a collapse , ” he explained.

On March 13 , a four – storey building on Massey Street, Ita -Faaji, Lagos Island , collapsed in the early hours of the day , killing at least 20 pupils and other tenants, with many others injured.

The incident was one of several cases in the area and in Lagos as a state as well as other parts of the country .

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