Surveyors, FIABCI move to curb building collapse, unfold blueprint
Four major professional groups in the building sector have made recommendations, if followed holistically may end the incidents of building collapse in the country. The groups – the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos branch; Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Nigeria; Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) Lagos branch and International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Nigeria chapter in their independent submissions are seeking the certification of building surveyors.
Specifically, NIESV, Lagos branch, blamed the situation on poor design and specifications at the planning stage due to reliance on uncertified architectural technicians, non-adherence to construction standards and corrupt practices among building enforcement officers. The branch Chairman, Rogba Orimalade called for aggressive public enlightenment by the federal and state governments, so that the public can appreciate the essence of adherence to the law.He said: “ Construction education should be repackaged to make it more regulated, practical and certified. Artisans should be trained regularly and incentives should be built into the training to encourage compliance.
“The relevant government agencies should be well equipped and properly funded by government while cost of obtaining building approvals should be reduced to encourage compliance. Many property owners do not seek approval due to offical cost and the extortionate behaviour of the officials incharge.”On its part, RICS Nigeria is advocating the certification of building surveyors to forestall future collapses.Building survey is the inspection and investigation of the construction and services of a property in sufficient depth to enable a surveyor to advise what impact the condition of that property will have upon a client/owner.
The Chairman, RICS Nigeria, Gbenga Ismail, said: “The extent of the survey must be sufficient to enable the surveyor to advise upon any future problems that may occur with the various components of the building. The surveyor must also be in a position to advise the client/owner of where the property does not meet the requirements of modern legislation and of any alterations that must be carried out in order to comply with those requirements. “It is important to bear in mind that the building survey is the consideration of what is found applied to the particular needs of each client. It is important that serious consideration is giving to the process of building construction; there is clear evidence of irresponsibility and immense documentation irregularities.
NIS called for a new construction policy that will ensure voluntary compliance of the building code. Chairman of the branch, Adesina Adeleke, noted that unlike developed nations, voluntary compliance in Lagos State is a challenge as majority of the populace will rather cut corners or patronise quacks due to the lapses in enforcement by relevant stakeholders.He advocated the use of Building and Construction Regulatory System, which will promote synergy and coordinate professionals in the built environment.
Lamenting lack of adequate policies to forestall building collapse, he said there is also notable lapses in the regulatory apparatus. This include, lack of will to enforce on the part of government, which the institution said, has led to cases whereby owners and developers of previous buildings collapse not receiving appropriate penalty. There is therefore the need to increase strict compliance and enforcement of existing building regulations.
“To achieve this, government must cooperate and collaborate with the broadest range of relevant stakeholders including the communities”, he said
Adeleke also stressed that the branch believes that functional and effective building and construction systems are reliant upon inter-sectorial collaboration and community participation.He advised property owners, developers and the general public to always contact a surveyor before or after purchase of land for necessary advice on the possible use and the standards and types of survey required, he said the Institution is in touch with relevant professional bodies in the built environment for consultation and suggestions on the way forward on technical issues that arise.
FIABCI Nigeria chapter in a joint statement signed by its President, Adeniji Adele and Secretary-General Ayodeji Odeleye, expressed concern on the continuous and unending occurrence, as well as the fact that city administrators seem to be unwilling to take necessary corrective measure. Rising from its first quarterly General Meeting, FIABCI urged the government to make public, previous reports by panels on collapsed buildings, as the findings could guide future building policies, as well as aid research into building construction, development and management.
Also, they said: “Whereas the planning officers are armed with building codes and regulations, citizens and most especially politicians use the judicial system as a cog in the wheel of any enforcement of a demolition notice. “It is therefore posited that the judicial system should come up with either a tribunal or a special court that sits specifically on housing matters in all their ramifications. Till date, we are yet to read about anyone having been sanctioned over a building collapse.
“When people are held responsible and made accountable for their negligence, building collapse will be minimised to a bear minimum.” “It should be further noted that the enforcement of building codes and regulations has not lived up to its expectations. There is a need to take heed from how buildings are being massively developed in Nigeria. There is no effective measure of building construction standards thereby permitting anyone called a mason (bricklayer) to build a house. “Government, in addition to the formal education on building construction in some tertiary institutions and vocational centre needs to educate the general public through massive print and electronic media engagements on the best practices and standards of building construction.”
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