It has become the norm to find buildings collapse in Lagos. Unfortunately, not all these buildings are old or abandoned, there are increasing cases of relatively new and uncompleted buildings collapsing. On Friday last week, a two-storey building collapsed around Agarawu area of Lagos Island, while an uncompleted three-storey building collapsed at 12 Alasepe Street, off Community Road, Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos. Several lives and properties have been lost as a result of these incidents and the rate at which buildings collapse in the last few years have become alarming and worrisome.
To prevent these unplesant happenings, it would be important to look at some factors to consider when constructing a structure.
Experts have revealed that one of the major causes of building collapse is the failure and lack luster effort of building contractors to pay strict adherence to quality building materials. A research by the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) indicates that poor building materials are major causes of building collapse in Nigeria. The research pointed directly at cement because most cement used in construction do not hold other particles strongly.
Another factor to prevent building collapse is the employment of the right human resource to any building and construction project. Sometimes, in order to cut cost, contractors engage the services of non–professionals who do not have any experience in building projects. Experts have blamed incompetent artisans and weak supervision of workmen as one of the major reasons of building collapse. It is generally said that the best way to manage a crisis is to avoid it, it is advisable that the best way to manage crisis resulting from building collapse is to prevent it by avoiding the use of quacks and non building professionals in any major building projects.
It is also important to engage in training and retraining of building practitioners. All relevant building regulating bodies should ensure constant continuous education and professional development of its members that will help them update their skills and knowledge.
Having the right design structure is a guaranteed solution to building collapse. Building contractors should ensure that their designs are reviewed and approved by appropriate authorities before construction begins. Most designs in Nigeria are copied from other countries without considering the conditions that led to such design.
Bad design does not only mean poor architectural design, but it involves some other professional design inputs. To get the right design structure, it is advisable that the contractor engages the services of a building designer.
It has also been found that good maintenance culture prevents structures from collapsing. Buildings that are properly designed need constant maintenance to be durable. No building can exist throughout its lifespan without the need for one form of maintenance or the other.
Experts say that maintenance work commences on the day the contractor lives the site.