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Guild seeks improved advocacy, law enforcement to halt structural failures

By Victor Gbonegun
23 January 2023   |   3:15 am
The Building Collapse and Prevention Guild (BCPG) has reiterated the need for professionals and otherstakeholders to commit more resources towards advocacy and enlightenment of the public on the threat posed by structural failures.

Deputy President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Margaret Oguntala (left); President, Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyenma and President-elect of World Federation of Engineering Organisation, Mustapha Shehu at visit to the minister in Abuja.

The Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) has reiterated the need for professionals and other stakeholders to commit more resources towards advocacy and enlightenment of the public on the threat posed by structural failures.

The professional group said constant engagement with relevant stakeholders and synergy among public and private sectors will prevent building collapse.

They also said curbing corruption, compromise by officials and strict enforcement of existing laws, will reduce structural failures in all forms and prevent loss of life and property.

The Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Lagos chapter, Lucky lsename, led the call at a meeting in Lagos. He said professionals in the industry must synergise and speak with one voice against compromise and unprofessional conducts that can trigger structural failures in society.

Isename expressed concern that building collapse has become a social menace, hence, it requires concerted efforts, especially in Lagos, which account for the highest number of construction sites in the country.

Former Chairman, Lagos Branch of the Nigerian lnstitution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Offiong Samuel Ukpong, said the inability to prevent structural failures would lead to wastes in the society, particularly waste of human lives, money, materials, assets, time and other resources.

He urged BCPG to develop more innovative steps on how to prevent such wastes in the construction industry.
Ukpong also appealed to the Federal Government to strengthen the economy and currency for money to have value and for people to shun sharp practices while trying to maximise profit.

He urged state governments to simplify the process of getting building approvals and reduce the cost to make the industry less prone to illegal practices.

A fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers United Kingdom, Elias Olawale Agbabiaka, lamented that there are no adequate punishment to serve as deterrent for those who compromise standard in the building sector. He said activities of quacks in the design and actual construction phases of building, substandard materials, faulty designs are factors responsibile for buildings collapse.

He said: “Government should make examples of a few of those illegal operators. What we know is that there are no enough punishment to serve as deterrent. So, what we expect is that when we start punishing quacks, people won’t just come into the sector any how.”

BCPG past president, Kunle Awobodu, said the association’s intervention was necessary in view of recent crashes in the stock market, which is linked to new investors in the construction sector who engage quacks in building projects.

Awobodu, who is also the immediate past president of Nigerian lnstitute of Building said: ” Professionals in the industry have reactivated efforts to tackle structural failures. Once those in government collaborate with us, the frequency of building collapse will become a thing of the past.”

The Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of BCPG, Mrs. Adekemi Okusaga, urged government to enforce necessary sanctions to bring sanity in the industry.

Okusaga said if there are no sanctions, the menace may continue to effect the construction industry.

Also contributing, the Olu of Ilado-Akoko, Ondo State, Oba Rotimi Kubaigbe, an engineer, said government has a significant role to play in preventing mishaps in the building industry.

“ln building construction, we are talking about human lives. People are involved in large numbers and you can’t afford to compromise standard. The lives that are been lost in the industry are avoidable and we have re-emphasised it that buildings don’t have to collapse. ”

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