Investigation of previous incidents and punishment of those responsible would help Abia State overcome the challenges of incessant building collapse, Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and Architect Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) have said.

The Abia State chapters of the NIA and ARCON said this in Aba on Saturday, during a fact-finding to sites of recent collapsed buildings in the state.

The State Chairman of NIA, Mr Ikechi Ochulo said that the state would continue to witness incidents of building collapse until concerted effort is made to arrest the trend.

Ochulo said that the team had visited the Town Planning Authorities of Aba South, Aba North and Osisioma Local Government Areas in order to ascertain the authenticity or otherwise of the architects that designed the collapsed buildings.

He said that the visit became necessary in view of several incidents of building collapse that had claimed several lives in Aba.

Ochulo lamented the activities of quacks who pretend to be qualified professionals in the state.

He said it was disturbing that such persons could get their drawings approved by Town Planning Authorities despite lacking licence and seal of approval as stipulated by the law governing the profession.

The NIA Chairman said, “We have a situation of when collapses happen in this state, no panel, no investigation takes place.

“On the part of government, no panel of investigation is set up for culprits to be brought to book so that others will learn.

“That’s why we plead with the government not to sweep these recent incidents under the carpet like the previous ones. Things must be done properly to help everyone.

“We have procedures for checkmating this evil. ARCON has made provisions that before Town Planners approve any drawing, they must see the seal of a registered and licenced architect.

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“There’s a security stamp we put on the drawing of every true professional architect.”

He disclosed that the team did not find any of these things in the drawings of the collapsed buildings sighted at the Town Planning Office.

He added, “This tells you where the problems are coming from. These are part of the things we are seeing that make us call for serious synergy between us and the Town Planning Authorities.

“The presence of these quacks is a great problem to our profession and the society and when there is a problem like this and we continue with it, we stand the chance of a greater loss.”

The ARCON representative, Chief Dan Nwankwo appealed to Abians and Nigerians in general to stop engaging quacks to do a professional’s job.

He said, “So, we are urging the people of this state to form the habit of using professional architects and engineers in their projects.

“If they do that, there will be no collapse. Over and above that, they should also accept the advice of these professionals during construction so that the building will stand the test of time.”

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