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Building Collapses in Lagos State: A Call For Subsidence Monitoring & Deformation Study of High Rise Structures

The Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) Lagos State Branch is greatly saddened by the unfortunate death of scores of people at the construction site on Gerrard Road

People walk to rescue workers from the rubble of a 21-storey building under construction that collapsed at Ikoyi district of Lagos, on November 1, 2021. – Several people have been trapped while unspecified number of people mostly construction workers were feared dead as a 21-storey building suddenly collapsed in the Ikoyi district of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

The Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) Lagos State Branch is greatly saddened by the unfortunate death of scores of people at the construction site on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi on the 1st of November 2021. We condone with the Government and the people of Lagos State the irreplaceable loss of souls.
This has become rather prevalent going by the spate of building collapses in Lagos State in recent times. For a proposed smart city of over 20 million people, this is unacceptable.

It is an embarrassment that despite the availability of an expansive crop of Professionals in the Built environment and a well thought out National Building Code, we continue to be confronted by incessant building collapses. 
The crux of the matter is that the inputs and advice of Professionals are always jettisoned on the altar of ignorance, cost management, and time-saving.  Whereas in actual fact, no other consideration should supersede the sanctity of human life.
The NIS Lagos state is hereby calling on the Lagos State Government to swiftly enact a law that requires Periodic Subsidence Monitoring and Deformation Study of all buildings that are above two floors and specifically high rise structures in Lagos. This will ensure not only the safety of life and property but also restore investors’ confidence in the real estate sector. The real estate sector contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state.
If we are committed to housing the teeming population of this state, we cannot run away from building high-rise structures as it ensures the management of available land space.
The timely identification of deformation associated with geologic hazards or ground settlement can save lives, avert large financial liabilities, and avoid severe environmental damage. Nowadays, smart cities must consider the importance of the GPS technology as an important player for monitoring tall buildings still under normal behaviour. The advantage of using GPS technology is that it can detect if the structure has drifted even for a few centimetres. Besides that, GPS provides cost-effective and 3D information that will be useful for structural engineers. High-precision 3D Laser scanning imagery systems can also be used to monitor high rise structures for any kind of deformation.
This system is currently deployed in advanced climes to monitor the future behaviour of high rise structures to changes in the geological characteristics of soil and its bearing capacity that may even arise from earthquakes, tremors and other tectonic processes that are of natural causes.

Professionals at all stages in the construction industry must also work hand in hand, alongside regulatory bodies and take a holistic approach to the issue of building collapse.
The NIS, Lagos State Branch sincerely hopes that this would be the last of such building collapse in our dear Lagos and it can be if the law proposed is enacted and other suggestions above implemented. Once again, we condone with all families who have lost loved ones.
Surv. Adeleke Adesina fnis, Chairman                                    
Surv. Folakemi Odunewu mnis, Publicity Secretary
Chairman Publicity Secretary