Since the 12th of September 2014 when a six-story building located in Ikotun Lagos collapsed and 115 people were demised, there has been a record of many more collapses across Nigeria. According to reports, the approved plan for the Ikotun property was a two-story building, but the owners decided to expand it and make the building four stories higher.
In December of 2021, we also witnessed the Ikoyi building collapse which killed 42 people. These occurrences have brought up a lot of questions as to the causative factors. There have been different reports on the reasons for these collapses, some confirmed and others not. However this is viewed, this trend is taking lives, burning money and resources, and quite frankly needs to be curbed.
In this article, we will be sharing Five Steps than can help forestall the collapse of buildings in Nigeria adding to the knowledge out there already.
1. The Right Human Resources
Experts have blamed incompetent artisans and the feeble oversight of builders as one of the significant reasons for collapsed buildings in Nigeria. Some contractors reduce the expenses of the project and sometimes hire the skills of non–experts who are not authorized to take part in any building projects.
One of the guarantees of quality assurance in the process of building constructions is ensuring the appropriate skill and manpower to deliver through industry best practices and well-tested policies and procedures. Contractors are encouraged to spare no expense in sourcing best-in-class skills and competencies for construction projects.
2. Subscribe to the appropriate Structural Design Process
As we all agree, project planning is one of the most important steps in project management. For construction, the design phase is the part of planning that determines all other aspects of the project. In designing a building, more Important than the aesthetics and fancy spot are the integrity of structural design and the corresponding Bill of material (BoM) and Bill of Quantity (BoQ).
In building construction, project leadership should subscribe to building design standards that help to verify and certify the integrity of the plans. Structural/project workers also ought to guarantee that their plans are investigated and supported by suitable specialists before the building kicks off. This is essential to make sure that every building plan is made with unique design considerations like weather conditions, topography e.t.c.
3. Stick to Quality Building Materials
Specialists have uncovered that one of the significant reasons why some buildings collapse is the failure of adherence to quality building materials, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) also substantiates this. The research pointed at how concrete is mixed and used, most concrete used in the building does have all properties and particles properly bound together.
According to structural experts, there are three concrete types now being used around the world, which are; 32.5mpa, 42.5mpa, and 52.5mpa. The 32.5mpa can only be used for plastering and block making, the 42.5mpa is for multipurpose usage such as block molding, concreting, slabs, and high-rise buildings but it can’t be used for plastering, the 52.5mpa can be used for high density works such as bridges, embankments, dams and retainer walls.
4. Imbibe Sustainable Maintenance Culture
Bad maintenance culture can impact the structural integrity of a building and cause structures to collapse. The best-developed structures need consistent attention and if the attention is postponed, what can begin as being something exceptionally minor is at risk of transforming rapidly into a costly man-made disaster. No structure can exist all through its life expectancy without proper maintenance. Even if a building is structurally impacted, the right remedial actions by expert structural engineers can help to restore the building. Experts recommend that building maintenance begins on the day the builders leave the site. Hence, the need for the maintenance of structures is very important.
5. Obtaining and adhering to the National Building Code of Nigeria
The National Building Code of Nigeria is the body that is relied upon to manage and regulate all operations in the construction industry in the country. Experts have said that the failure of builders to obtain a pass from the National Building Code has been to a great extent the reason why the country has experienced several collapsed buildings over time. They believe that the National Building Code if enforced and strictly followed, will; control and stop non-experts and quacks from participating in any building projects in the country, guarantee consistent compliance by builders to stop the use of substandard materials for any building project and guarantee that builders and property owners maintain a good maintenance culture consistently.
In conclusion, the trend of collapsing buildings can be reversed in Nigeria if we follow the requirements of building construction.