Relevant professionals have attributed frequent building collapse in Nigeria to involvement of quacks, use of substandard materials, non- implementation of building codes and ineffective monitoring of building approvals by government agents.
The professionals, including engineers, town planners and surveyors, explained the reasons for frequent building collapse in the country in a survey conducted in the South-South geopolitical zone of the country.
The respondents also suggested ways of curbing the menace which has led to the loss of many lives and huge material resources across the federation in recent years.
One of them, Engr. Pius Okpa, who spoke in Calabar recently, said most buildings were collapsing due to wrong and poor designs from some quack engineers operating without licences.
Okpa, former Chairman of Nigeria Society of Engineers in Cross River, said that most people had a way of transferring building plans seen elsewhere to other locations, without taking into cognisance specifications, such as depth of foundation.
“A building that was properly designed in Lagos and transferred to another location can still fall because the person transferring the building may not know that the foundation should not be the same in the new location.
“Another reason is the knowledge of the contractor because most people cannot interpret building designs and this may lead to collapse of buildings,” he said.
He advised those planning to build to always hire the services of professionals and avoid patronising unqualified builders to prevent their buildings from collapsing.
Okpa advocated that every building that was to be erected must be approved by the different professional bodies and relevant government authorities.
Also, Assistant Secretary, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Cross River branch, Engr. Kalita Aruku, corroborated Okpa’s view.
Aruku said most
most buildings collapsed largely because of the failure of some building engineers to carry out good tests on the soil texture and do geological surveys.
On his part, a building engineer, Chris Dibia, attributed incessant building collapse in the country to hiring of fake engineers by building owners and use of substandard materials.
“Government and building clients should give attention to safety factors in building. Soil tests should be conducted and they should also ensure that the right materials are used for building,” Dibia said.
He said the government should begin to punish those who engage quack engineers to build houses for them in order to cut costs.
Also speaking, the Federal Controller of Housing in Delta, Mr Victor Uduokhai, said the government enforcing building laws and prosecuting violators would curb the menace of building collapse in Nigeria.
Uduokhai, who spoke in Asaba said people would do the right thing if they knew that the government would punish them should their building collapse.
He also noted that buildings frequently collapsed in the country because most people engaged quacks instead of professionals in building construction in order to cut corners.
A builder in Yenagoa, Engr. Festus Menidin, on his part said: “two things should be considered when you are forming building foundations – the solidity of the soil and the heaviness of the building with its contents.”
He urged owners of buildings to always use qualified professionals in construction and avoid cutting costs.
Meanwhile, an official of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Benin Area Office, Mr Stanley Abohi, said the Edo government had set up a team in collaboration with the council, to monitor building construction in the state.