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NIOB tasks Lagos govt on building control laws

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Faced with growing cases of building collapse and the negative impact on professional practice, the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) has jump-started a new process to tame the menace.

The new move followed reports indicating that 43 buildings collapsed last year with 17 buildings, affected in Lagos State, while Anambra State recorded four cases with three in Plateau and Delta States respectively.

Out of the number, 59 per cent of the reported cases were existing buildings, while 41 per cent were buildings under construction.

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Also, 59 deaths were recorded in the incidents, while 74 people were injured.

With the recent collapse of two buildings in Lagos and the likelihood of more occurrences, president of the NIOB, Kunle Awobodu, said there is a need to ignite a new vigour against the menace.

According to him, that buildings under construction are collapsing is an indictment to building control agencies.

He stressed that builders would not fold their hands but should double their efforts because the recurring incidence of building collapse is not good for the image of Nigerians and professionals in the built environment.

“The record of collapse building is a challenge for what we have been doing in the past and for future planning because many of the cases are often not reported to avoid the confiscation of lands in line with regulations in Abuja and Lagos

Awobodu stressed the need to encourage the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was the vice-chairman of the Technical Committee set up by former Governor Babatunde Fashola to reform the State’s Physical Planning and Urban Development Law.

According to him, with such backgrounds, the governor is in a better position to attend to the issues of the perennial building collapse.

He said that NIOB has decided to declared May 13 as Builders’ Day to remember the unfortunate five-story building that collapsed at No 63, Massey Street Itaa-faji on Lagos Island, killing over 20 people, who were mostly school children.

“Builders all over the country and stakeholders in the built environment from Borno to Badagry, Calabar to Sokoto, will on that day carry out roadshows, rallies and lectures to sensitise the public on the importance of standard construction”, he said.

The NIOB president stressed that building collapse is caused by human errors, he regretted that people are not often held responsible for construction works on site and called for the retention of resident builders on-site to prevent the use of substandard construction of the building.

“Under the Builders Act also known as Decree 45 of 1989, builders are statutorily assigned to manage building production.

Similarly, NIOB has urged the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA) to effectively implement the revised Lagos State Building Control law as a means of taming the increasing rate of building failures in the state.

Chairman, Lagos chapter of the body, Sunday Wusu gave the charge when he led members of the institute on a visit to the General Manager of LASBCA, Mrs. Abiola Kosegbe in Lagos.

Wusu said implementation of the Revised regulation to the letter would make the law effective and address the menace of collapse building in Lagos state.

He said the institute was ready to collaborate with LASBCA on how to effectively implement the Revised Lagos State Building Control Agency Regulations 2019, emphasising that the role of builders is to partner with other professionals as enunciated in the law to ensure quality project delivery and zero tolerance for project failure and building collapse.

He stated that project failure and collapse has become a case of shared responsibility and liability for professionals in the built sector.

The Immediate Past Chairman of NIOB, Lagos State Chapter, Adelaja Adekanmbi said there is a need to study the regulation assiduously for effective implementation, adding that the law makes provision for the registered builder to manage the production process.

“There is the need for enforcement of the regulations, which among others states the demand for builders document before the commencement of building construction as stated in the regulations. LASBCA should demand builders’ document before the commencement of construction”, he said.

On his part, a professor at the Building Department, University of Lagos, Martins Dada cautioned that there’s a need for professionals in the built environment to work together to achieve the same goal.

According to him, professionals should be allowed to function in their respective field as stated in the regulations. He said buildings should not collapse except for natural disaster, hence professionals in the industry should move from building collapse to sustainable building.

In her remarks, the General Manager of LASBCA, Abiola Kosegbe, an engineer, assured NIOB that the agency was ready to collaborate with builders to fully implement the revised LASBCA regulation.

Kosegbe lamented the limitation of the agency in terms of staff strength, which is about 464 personnel out of which a little over 200 personnel operate as field officers. This she stated is grossly inadequate to effectively cover the 57 Local Government/ Local Council Development Areas in the State. She, therefore, called for collaboration among all the professionals in the built environment to work alongside LASBCA for effective implementation of the Regulation.

She declared that the Agency is already working on training the staff and would appreciate if NIOB can introduce training that will be beneficial to the staff while builders could also send facilitators to LASBCA in-house training.

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Kunle AwoboduLagosNIOB
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