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95% of building construction without soil test in Lagos, say experts

By Victor Gbonegun
02 May 2022   |   4:00 am
Amid concern over incessant collapse of structures across the country, built environment professionals have recommended mandatory soil test at every construction sites.

Soil tests. PHOTO: SUTTLESTOCK

Amid concern over incessant collapse of structures across the country, built environment professionals have recommended mandatory soil test at every construction sites.

They said the test will determine suitability of the soil for the building site. They also called for integration of construction programme and the bill of quantities (BoQ) with construction methodology.

The Director, Centre for Applied Research and Technology Innovations (ARTI), Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Dr. Akinsola Olufemi, led the charge at a Building Business Workshop (BBW) entitled: ‘Effective building production management services: Integration of construction programme of works and building construction methodology in building project delivery in Lagos State’ organised by the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB).

Olufemi, who works at the building department, said almost 95 per cent of building construction in Lagos are without soil test.

He attributed the development to the peculiarity of Nigerian environment, where most of the individual developers don’t have project consultants and never carry out soil test for their building construction.

He said: “It is only high profile buildings that soil tests are carried out and not even all of them. Some of them obtain information from nearby projects, forgetting that the structure of the soil is not the same everywhere.

Olufemi, who is also the President, Nigerian Academy of Facility Management, advised the government to develop strong ‘political will’, which will make it soil test compulsory at on every construction site.

“This is best approach for the government to enforce standards. The practice of construction in Nigeria has changed over time. We did some studies in the last four years in NIOB and we find out that all over the country, most of the pre-1960 buildings and churches were still strong because the material used were imported from England and as at that time, they were still using lime, a by-product of limestone. They mix it with sharp sand and cement to solidify structures.”

The Chairman, NIOB Lagos chapter, Mr. Lucky Isaname, said the training became relevant to get members ready for the jobs, ensure end to building collapse and give value to clients.

Isaname said: “ Lagos State has reviewed its building regulation and we need professionals equipped to prepare documents on sites.

“The documents are project for management, health and safety plan, construction methodology and construction planning to aid construction process.

“This is a refresher course for some professionals, while it is a new thing to others. It will equip them with detailed knowledge for application on construction site and enhance productivity.”

“There are many quacks in the sector who just believe that the same way they carry out construction in Lekki will be the same also for construction in Lagos Mainland. They forgot that the two locations are different terrains that require different construction methodology in terms of soil test and building foundation.”

On her part, Special Adviser on Housing to Lagos State governor, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka represented by Mr. Saheed Omotosho, said government will continue to collaborate with professionals by assisting them in their agitations for affordable housing and enforcing standards in the sector.