Saturday, 23rd September 2023

Building collapse: NIQS advocates stiffer penalties for professionals

By Bertram Nwannekanma
30 May 2022   |   4:06 am
Piqued by incessant construction failures, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), has called for stiffer penalties, including death sentence for erring professionals, who cause building collapse.

Piqued by incessant construction failures, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), has called for stiffer penalties, including death sentence for erring professionals, who cause building collapse.

NIQS President, Mr. Olayemi Shonubi, made the call at Quarterly Interactive Forum organised by Property and Environment Writers’ Association of Nigeria (PEWAN) in Lagos.

He said the inclusion of life imprisonment or death sentence to existing laws could make construction offences less attractive.

Shonubi lamented the rising spate of collapse of buildings under construction in recent times accompanied by loss of lives, property, investment and income/livelihood caused by corruption.

He advised the Federal and State governments to strengthen policies for obtaining planning approvals/building permits and enforcement of existing laws to ensure adequate monitoring of constructions.

He said: “Governments at all levels need to strengthen the laws that govern construction process and should include provisions for severe penalties, not only fines, for everyone involved in any collapsed building project from approval level to execution level.

“Endemic corruption at all levels has blinded most people from adherence to professionalism and ethics.

“We have reached a stage where professional blacklisting and punitive measures alone is not sufficient and no longer addresses the issue as erring professionals can always get something else to do to make a living.

“But when an erring professional is made to face life imprisonment or death sentence, I reckon that this will help to bring sanity, as well as curb these untoward developments.”

On the high costs of construction materials, he called for adoption of locally sourced materials and technology to bring down cost of building.

Shonubi urged the Federal Government to adopt policies that would encourage local production and tackle energy cost to aid manufacturing.

He commended the Federal Government for signing the Executive Order 11, which would create employment opportunities for artisans to be engaged in the maintenance of government assets nationwide.

On massive corruption in the execution of constituency projects in the country, Shonubi called for institution of specific Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) that would track and warehouse all constituency projects to curb leakages.

Citing several examples, he said several public procurement for constituency projects were marred with corruption and irregularities.

He said that projects awarded were conduit pipes, where funds were being siphoned as various projects are either non existent or cited far from approved sites.

“There should be a specific MDA where all these projects should be warehoused, that is the way we can get value,” he said.

He said reports from the project tracking exercises organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in conjunction with NIQS and some Civil society Organisations (CSOs), showed that funded projects are still enmeshed in corruption.”

“In a situation where MDAs undertake projects outside their areas of operation leaves room for a lot of underhand deals aside from further increasing administrative costs, “ he said.

“The private sectors’ situation, where no law binds the award and execution of contracts other than the basic corporate governance code, is more abysmal,” he added.

Contributing, the Vice President and former chairman of Lagos state chapter of the institute, Mr. Bamidele Mafimiduro, attributed construction failures to high cost of construction materials.

Earlier, PEWAN Chairperson, Mrs. Okwy Ireagbu-Chikezie, enumerated the benefits of the Executive Order 11 recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari for the maintenance of national public buildings.

Ireagbu-Chikezie reeled out the efforts of government, but stressed the need for more expertise to achieve the desired results in implementation of the laudable policy.

“This meeting was consummated to sensitise property and environment writers on critical issues plaguing the real estate sector,” she said.