Since the Lekki building collapse that killed 30 persons in March 2016, complete or partial building collapses appear to have spiked in Lagos, with no fewer than six major cases recorded between April and June 2017, leading to more than a dozen deaths.
Recent cases of building collapse
On April 27, 2017, an uncompleted building collapsed at NICON Town Estate, off Admiralty Way, Lekki, killing two construction workers.
Barely three weeks later, four people were confirmed dead and many more injured after a three-storey building collapsed at 2/4, Richard Abimbola Street, Ilasamaja, Isolo, Lagos on May 18, 2017. 19 victims were rescued alive from the rubble.
Safety Record Newspaper gathered that some other people around the building when it collapsed sustained various degrees of injuries.
Similarly, two were feared dead and dozens trapped after a building collapsed on Monday May 29, 2017, at Apongbon area of Lagos Island, Lagos State. According to reports, the cause of the collapse could not be immediately ascertained.
Also, a two-storey building under construction collapsed in the densely-populated Ogbowankwo, Ajegunle area of Lagos on June 22, 2017, leaving several persons injured.
However, despite continuous calls by victims, experts and many other Nigerians, there seem to be no stemming the end to the collapses.
While detailed investigations are sometimes needed to unravel the causes of these building collapses, a cursory look at most of the cases point to neglect of safety rules and regulations.
All over the world, the leading causes of building collapse have been identified as bad design, faulty construction, incorrect materials, foundation failure, and fire problem, etc.
In a report title “Tackling Causes of Frequent Building Collapse in Nigeria” by Professor Samuel Oloyede the reasons adduced by building professionals on the immediate causes of building collapses collapse include soil type, poor building design and planning, use of low quality building materials, use of incompetent craftsmen leading to poor workmanship, weak supervision and natural disaster.
Oloyede explained that going by the reasons adduced, the use of low quality building materials ranked first coupled with the employment of incompetent craftsmen and artisans under very weak supervision on site.
He restated that buildings do not just collapse but there are always warning signs.
Outlining some warning sign to observe before a building collapse, experts maintained that major cracks in the wall, gaps between floors, deteriorating support structure, deformed siding, creaking and popping sounds.
They further explained that a building does not suddenly collapse in one night without any warning sign. The signs are usually there to be seen. One of the biggest problems with these signs is that if neglected, they make the collapse of the building inevitable. In essence, early warning signs should not be handled with levity.
However, the Lagos State Government says it is not resting on its oars and has been sealing off buildings deemed uninhabitable due to risk of collapse.
According to the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Sola Adeigbe, a total of 1,104 buildings were sealed from between June and October 2016 across Lagos State as a result of defective or illegal construction.