In the past 10 years, hardly a year passes by without cases of collapsed buildings in Lagos State, says the publicity secretary, Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Architect Bola Arilesere, even as he advocated for collective action to prevent building collapse in the state and Nigeria at large.
For instance, a Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Specialist, from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, Olasunkanmi Habeeb Okunola, disclosed that highest number of cases of building collapse in Lagos were reported in 2011, 2012 and 2019, when 19, 14, and 17 buildings respectively collapsed.
“Out of 152 buildings that collapsed in Lagos between 2005 and 2020, 76.6 per cent were residential, 13 per cent were commercial and 9.4 per cent were institutional. Most of the buildings that collapsed are typically multi-storey buildings,” he said.
Arilesere tells me the reason for the collapse is not about the buildings/structures being old. “About 45,000 buildings are under construction or renovation in Lagos alone, and not less than 10 may collapse,” he revealed.
The architect said each particular building collapse, whether complete collapse or partial collapse, has its own peculiarities.
For instance, Arilesere said the Bank of Industry (BOI) building that collapsed partially, during Mr. Babatunde Fashola’s tenure, was due to the overloading of water. Meanwhile, some of the recent building collapses was due to poor choice of building materials, adding that in some cases, it was due to quackery.
The publicity secretary said the guild recently created awareness on building collapse. “As professionals, we are tired of building collapse in Nigeria. we want to eradicate it and we are convinced that the only way to eliminate it is by prevention,” he added.
Arilesere says we can prevent this disaster by working together. “Everybody must do their part to ensure that we win the war. The government must do their own part by approving only what should be approved. They should approve building plans that have passed all the criteria for approval. “The government should do its own part by monitoring to ensure that what is approved is what is built and implement the building code that has been in the parliament for many years. The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) must ensure building materials are not in circulation, except they meet the minimum standard.”
“The owners of the buildings should engage only competent, registered, and responsible professionals and must ensure that they use quality building materials for building. On the other hand, professionals should do their part ensuring all boxes are checked while designing and building. As professionals, you must warn owners on implications of cutting corners.
“Nigerians must do their part to blow the whistle once they see any building that may likely collapse. If the whistle is blown early enough, the building can be salvaged. All bodies, including Nigerians, must play their role for us to win the war against building collapse.”