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Experts seek domestication of national building code

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Building plan. Photo; PIXABAY


Experts in the built environment are worried that the national building code is yet to be domesticated in many states.

They are calling for the review of obsolete laws in the building and construction industry as well as adoption of the code across the country.

The experts spoke at the Lagos chapter of the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA) Continuous Professional Development Programme held virtually on “Understanding the National Building Code Lecture Series”.

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Leading the call, Prof. Olaniyi Okedele, an architect, lamented that apart from Lagos and few others, many states are yet to domesticate the code.

According to him, the building code is the minimum standard of rules, which tells people how they can handle building construction.

Okedele noted that non- domestication of the code has led to uncoordinated plans in cities, building collapse, use of non professionals, lack of maintenance culture, urban slums and uncoordinated interactions among the seven professionals in the built environment.

Speaking on the topic “General Concept and Enforcement Process of National building code”, Prof Okedele, said enforcement has remained an issue and must be in consonance with the building code.

This , he said, requires registered and relevant professionals at each stage of the process, namely, pre-design, construction and post-construction stages.

Prof. Okedele also stressed the need to curb professional conflicts by re-examining Acts that established all professional bodies as well as ensuring enforcement by trained professionals. According to him, violators should be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.

On his part, former chairman, Lagos State Physical Planning Committee, Ayodele Adediran, a town planner, said the building code is needed to ensure orderliness and safety in building construction sites.

While tracing the evolution of the building code, he said, building control involves imposition of construction requirements on the owner and occupiers of building.

Adediran said that it was intended to protect public health, safety and general welfare as it relates to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures .

He lamented the loss of human lives and property due to non-compliance with regulatory authority as seen in the Ita – Faaji building collapse in 2019.

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He said the code can only become law when formally enacted by the National Assembly
Also , the General Manager of Lagos State Building Control Agency ( LABSCA), Gbolahan Owodunni Oki, emphasised the need for collaboration among professionals in the enforcement of building regulations

On his part, NIA’s first Vice President, Mr. Enyi Ben – Eboh, extolled the branch for coming out with such programme and pledged his cooperation as well as ensuring architects contribute in the proposed review of the national building code.

Also, the NIA General Secretary, Mrs. Moradeke Okunrinboye, said the document should be harmonised to reflect architects’ position in the review..

She expressed hope that other states will copy the Lagos module to domesticate the code. On his part, NIA former president, Tonye Braide, blamed the non-domestication and failure to accommodate cultural differences across the federation for the collapse and other infractions in the built environment.

Earlier, the Chairman, Lagos State chapter, David Majekodunm, said the event was aimed at creating awareness among the professionals in the allied construction industry about the building code.

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