…How to detect a defective building – Building Collapse Prevention Guild
The President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Engr. Kashim Abdul Ali has recommended capital punishment for owners of collapsed buildings, saying it would go a long way to check the menace of incessant building collapse in the country.
Ali disclosed this on the heels of a building collapse in Lagos on Tuesday, July 25 which left no fewer than eight persons dead and 15 others injured as at Wednesday, July 26.
The News Agency of Nigeria quoted the South-West spokesman for NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, as saying that the building located at Tokunbo, off Odunfa Road, Carrena/Martins Street on Lagos was initially a bungalow before it was converted to a four-storey building with penthouse.
He said, “We have had these incidences over a long period of time, and each one that happens has been investigated (by the council).
“Even this one, as it happened, our people were on ground but each of the investigations pointed directly at the individuals who constructed these buildings being quacks.”
Ali, who spoke on ‘Fact File’, a breakfast programme on Raypower Network on Thursday, July 27 monitored by our reporter, said the building owners could be professionals in their own right but usually contract quacks for building construction.
“Our position has been clear: if you drive your car today and God forbid you have an accident and somebody loses his life, they (the authorities) will charge you for manslaughter because you drove the car.
“You didn’t manufacture the car; you didn’t ask the car to malfunction but they will hold you responsible.
“But this is a case where people will take their money to put up a structure using people who are not qualified.
“This is not even manslaughter; it is wilful killing of people.
“For me, such people should be killed because when you set out to kill people, you should be killed,” he stressed.
Ali said doing so would allow perpetrators of the act grasp the import of their actions.
Furthermore, the COREN President explained that many buildings fail mostly because structural engineers are not consulted.
Elaborating on the significance of structural engineers in the building process, he said, “When you have the foundations designed, you have to also have the structural elements designed because they are the ones holding the building.
“No matter how beautiful a building is, it has to be held by frames that are sometimes embedded in the walls. We call them beams; we call them columns.
“Sometimes, when you come to a beautiful house, you will not see them but they have to be there.
“It’s not everything you see that is a wall – in-between the walls there are frames that hold these structures together.
“They have to be designed by an engineer. When these are not designed by engineers, structural engineers, they are bound to fail.”
Ali, who reiterated that structural engineering failure is the leading cause of building collapse, noted that “building is a multi-disciplinary scheme but the one that (usually) leads to collapse is the work of the structural engineer.”
In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary, Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Arc Akinola George said building occupants should ensure they ask questions anytime they notice tell-tale signs of building distress.
Explaining the signs of building distress, he said, “There are so many tell-tale signs but one of them is a crack.
“When you notice a crack either under your slab, above your slab or on the walls, you have to start asking questions (because) this building is stressed and is likely to come down.”
He added, “A very soaked foundation or foundation walls, walls above the floor that are very wet, means problems are likely to happen.”
George further explained that “panting” buildings and buildings with visible improper alignment could also collapse, while urging people to steer clear of residing in such buildings to avoid disaster.
Safety Record Newspaper recalls that there has been a spike in number of recent cases of building collapse in the state, leading to loss of lives and property, and injuries.
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 on May 18, 2017. Nineteen victims were rescued alive from the rubble.
Similarly, two were feared dead and dozens trapped after a building collapsed on Monday May 29, 2017, at Apongbon area of Lagos Island.
Also, a two-storey building under construction collapsed in the densely-populated Ogbowankwo, Ajegunle area on June 22, 2017, leaving several persons injured.