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Planners want FG to declare state of emergency in construction sector

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Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP)


Professional planners under the aegis of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) last week, called for a state of emergency in the construction sector.
 
Meeting the House committee on Urban Development and Regional Planning at the Federal House of Representative, Abuja, the planners said the declaration would create a sense of urgency that has long been needed to address infrastructure decay and substandard infrastructure development across the country.

It will also be relevant in development of new and expansion of existing infrastructure; mobilising both human and material resources to support the declaration; reviewing the national infrastructure master plan and treating the issue of building collapse as a national embarrassment and focusing on putting an end to the menace.

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NITP President, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, who met with the House members, said: “Without a state of emergency in its construction sector, the menace of building collapse would tend to continue as business as usual. The problem must be tackled headlong and decidedly, and this starts with a declaration of emergency.

“The industrial development of nations like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India and China, among others, reveal the critical role that the sector has had to play in driving economic development and the general wellbeing of these countries. This has been possible because these countries engage the sector as a critical national importance to their survival and economic growth.”

According to Ayinde, there is need for strong institutions as they are vital to drive the process of building quality infrastructure as well as, regulating the construction sector to curb the menace of building collapse in the country.

“The institutions are not only expected to drive the process of developing standards, but must be effective to enforce the existing laws to arrest the spate of building collapse and substandard infrastructure development. At the heart of this is the issue of inadequate manpower, creating the enabling environment for high productivity by providing appropriate working tools, motivation, training and retraining of workforce,” he said.

The institute traced the issue of substandard infrastructure development and building collapse to unethical conduct and sharp practices by professionals and their collaborators.

He said: “There is need for the National Orientation Agency to be involved in orientation programmes aimed at building integrity and honesty. Religious institutions, non-governmental organisations, community based groups, among others, should be involved in the crusade.

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“Indeed, a responsible, honest and disciplined workforce is the pathway to eradicating building collapses. Until, we have raised men and women who have self-control, we will be unable to control building collapse.”

NITP sought for synergy between the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in the regulation of materials used in building and infrastructure, adding that seismic effect reports must be incorporated in building designs.

“There is need for professional regulatory bodies to be more proactive in disciplining members involved in unethical conduct. The Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria (TOPREC), Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), among others, need to be up and doing in disciplining erring members.”

While urging the passage of the National Building Code into an Act, the body also wants special structural tests on reclaimed lands and increasing public awareness to make reporting of suspicious construction possible.

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NITPOlutoyin Ayinde
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