In light of the Ita-Faji building collapse incident, Eaton, a power management company, has emphasised that the only way to address the threat of building collapse is to put in place proper preemptive safety management in the construction of buildings.

Eaton’s Product Manager for Light and Safety Division, Mr Dean Gopal disclosed that due to rising costs, standard equipment and safety systems were not being used in construction.

Gopal said, “We also see that fire, voice and evacuation systems are left out or not serviced correctly, which contribute to the large number of fatalities we hear about in the media.

“If these are done and specified in the planning phase of construction, they come at a lower cost compared to having changes made during and after the construction is complete.

“Over the past few years, we have seen several cases reported about buildings collapsing due to fire.

“It is extremely important that fire risk assessments be carried out safely, and evacuation procedures put in place and monitored by the relevant building authorities to ensure the safety of people and buildings.

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“Recent trends reveal increased construction of larger commercial buildings that are less traditional and more like multi-functional hotels in order to offer a high level of service and comfort.

“These multi-functional buildings, which include residential and commercial premises, restaurants and shops, are far more vulnerable to hazards such as fire that could lead to a mass evacuation.

“This underscores the need for having a robust evacuation strategy in place.

“With recent innovation and technological advancements, today’s building owners have the choice of a plethora of new products that comply with the latest industry codes and standards, offering flexibility to choose the required level of safety.”

He said that building owners, engineers, and the regulatory authority have a critical role to play and must collaborate to work towards constructing sustainable communities.

Gopal said, “Importantly, Nigeria’s safety regulations must begin to reference regulations that are now seen as standard in other developed countries.

“For instance, UK regulations enforce incorporation of evacuation procedures into business continuity and disaster response plans.

“Preventive safety management is the most sustainable and long-term solution to avoid tragedy, save on costs and ensure that our cities are aligned with globally-recognised standards.”

He further said that by having the proper materials and resources installed in buildings from the conceptual stage of construction up to installation, fire safety can be attained.

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