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ATOPCON seeks law for construction safety


ATOPCON President, Olaide Adeyemi Afolabi

As an urgent step toward quality and safety in buildings, the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) has canvassed for the enactment of construction laws in each state of the federation.
The association identified building collapse as one of the serious challenges facing professionals in the built environment and that building does not collapse on “paper” rather collapse of structures occur as a result of poor design, inappropriate use of building materials, unregulated structural stability and lack of enforceable building/construction law and regulations.
It therefore, called on governments at all levels to formulate appropriate legal and institutional frameworks to address the issue of building collapse particularly in states.
The association made the call in a communiqué presented at the end of its 14th professional development workshop on “Contractual obligations and public perception of town planning practitioners” which was held in Enugu. About 57 participants from member firms of the association attended the two-day workshop.

Accordingly, it urged lawmakers to distinguish construction law from planning law to properly situate and enforce quality and safety in design and in construction process. “Planning projects are multi dimensional in nature, therefore remuneration of Planning Practitioners should be based on the nature of service to be rendered. The practitioners in the built environment should collaborate to produce effective building code and or building regulations and standards for enforcement. Services of planning practitioners are based on contractual obligations which are enforceable in law, therefore practitioners and clients should always ensure execution of enforceable contracts”. 
On enforcement of contractual obligations in planning projects, it expressed dismay that such enforcement is usually at the disadvantage of planning practitioners due to poor documentation and contract execution. “Remuneration of planning practitioners for professional services is not always adequate because of the poor presentation of the professional scale of fees when compared with other professionals in the built environment. Methods of determining the professional fees of Planners vary with the nature of service being rendered as the relationship between planning practitioners and their clients are based on contractual obligations and rights of the parties in the planning projects”.
The communiqué signed by its president; Idris Salako highlighted the need for planning practitioners to execute enforceable contract as a measure to curb unnecessary breaches and loss in practice.

President, Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria (TOPREC), Layi Egunjobi promised to work with the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) and ATOPCON to improving urban planning practice in the country.Papers presented at the workshop include; the obligations of Town Planning Practitioners in Building Collapse, principles undergirding remuneration for professional services in physical planning projects and contractual obligations in planning project execution.

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