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Lagos govt tasks FG, states’ MDAs on building plan approval

By Victor Gbonegun and Eniola Daniel
14 March 2022   |   4:07 am
For sanity in the built environment, the Lagos State government has asked Federal and States’ Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to obtain necessary physical planning approvals before embarking on building construction.

• Advocates building energy efficiency code
• To establish new materials’ testing labs

For sanity in the built environment, the Lagos State government has asked Federal and States’ Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to obtain necessary physical planning approvals before embarking on building construction.

Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, gave the charge when he received the state’s Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Olusegun Ogungbemide, who was on a fact-finding mission on the proposal to construct building extensions at the Command headquarters in Ojodu-Berger.

He explained that the command was on the right track as no organisation or individual had the right to erect buildings in the state without planning permit and supervision by the building control agency at every stage of the construction process.

Salako urged MDAs in the state to take a cue from the FRSC and always do the needful by making recourse to the ministry and its respective agencies for planning information and site selection services, as well as planning permits and layout approvals.

The commissioner said: “Ministries, departments and agencies, be it state or federal, are the images of government and as such they are the standard bearers that should always be above board in their activities.”

Earlier, Ogungbemide pleaded for support of the ministry to fast- track the planning approval process.

MEANWHILE, the state government has sensitised professionals, academia, developers and construction managers on the need to embrace Building Energy Efficiency Code (BEEC).

Salako, who welcomed participants to the virtual awareness workshop held in conjunction with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), said the state government had subscribed to the code as a panacea for all forms of environment-unfriendly and physical developments.

Salako advised stakeholders in the sector to embrace the concept and develop their own technical expertise, not only because of its global trend, but the socio-economic vision and its contributions toward a cleaner, healthier built environment for all.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Abiola Kosegbe, lauded the programme for its worthy partnership, which she hoped would continue till the ongoing reforms in the regulation of the built environment of the state.

IN a related development, the state’s Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL) plans to establish more testing laboratories and deploy whistleblowers across the state.

LSMTL General Manager, Olufunsho Elulade, who made the disclosure told The Guardian that the agency last year completed Non-Destructive Test (NDT) on 281 school buildings as part of measures to ensure safety of pupils.

Elulade said the new laboratory in Okokomaiko, will be functional in the second quarter of 2022. He said the agency was committed to establishing more laboratories in other parts of the state to ensure sanity in the built sector. He said the agency would ensure effective enforcement, monitoring and compliance, adding that the agency will clampdown on sharp practices.

“The next laboratory will be established in Lekki axis within the year to cater for Lekki and Epe axis.

“Under normal circumstance, enforcement should not be an issue. It’s a law that a builder must test material from the inception of a construction to completion,” Elulade said.

He said the agency, which has been reorganised for optimum performance was unable to carry out NDT tests on 672 school buildings last year due to logistics challenge.

The GM further explained that the agency has established synergy with state’s building control, physical planning permit and the safety agencies to discourage impersonating government officials as well as end illegalities.

“Builders are aware that it is a criminal offence to break a government seal, but there are builders doing so. We are also testing the Ijora, Eko and Marine Bridges and we have 14 days to carry out the test on those bridges. Part of the reasons we are testing the bridges, was to see if fire outbreaks has weaken the bridges and from the results, we will make recommendations to the contractors,” he said.