With the recent incidents of building collapse in Ebonyi state, it has become more imperative to look for permanent, lasting and practical solutions to this menace. Not only do these incidents affect the economy, it also leads to destruction of lives and properties.
Building collapse is avoidable disaster if property owners would allow continues supervision of their properties. This would go a long way in curbing the menace.
The case of Sunday Okereke’s Family in Ivo LGA cannot be forgotten in hurry, as this family lost three of their children to building collapse, leaving their mom and her only surviving child hospitalized. Aside from this, the state had witnessed a collapse of an hotel, which was sealed after to the incident. Fortunately, there was no occupant in that part of the hotel apartment at the time of its collapse.
Aside from Ebonyi, there has been a report of building collapse in other parts of the country which has claimed several lives.
This newspaper believes that all hands must be on deck to prevent the frequent occurrence of building collapse. Some of these incidents are totally avoidable. Ignorance, laziness, nonchalance on the part of property owners, name it, are responsible for these collapses.
Buildings do not on their own collapse without any cause. They do not happen without prior signs like cracks. If we can identify the causes, we can propose solutions. If we can propose solutions, we can take practical steps to tackle the frequent cases of building collapse in Nigeria.
It is a known fact that one of the causes of building collapse in Nigeria is poor Structural Design.
A building that has been very well designed by the engineer but whose implementation is poor is headed towards collapse. Imagine that substandard materials are used for a foundation, roofing, fencing, it is logical to prepare for building collapses.
Another cause is burdening the building other than what it was designed for, construction with sub-standard materials, and lack of sub-soil investigation.
This newspaper with its constitutional mandate to adequately inform, educate its readers, believes that in tackling frequent building collapse, government needs to take practical steps by putting in strict measures. It should put measures in place to curb the over burden of buildings. There are some cases a building foundation is designed in such a way that it can only carry a room or two rooms, but you will see some landlords adding two storey buildings on that same foundation years later. Sanctions should be rolled out for engineers, property owners and even artisans who refuse to adhere to standard practice. Building collapse is more serious than we appear to treat it in Nigeria. If one or two disciplinary measures are taken against defaulters, it will sound as a warning to intending defaulters
A committee should be set up to clampdown on the activities of inexperienced contractors who know nothing or little about building. There should be proper supervision of building projects and even after the completion of the projects, the building should be supervised continuously by both government and its owners, this will go a long way in checking cracks on the building, as well as other issues.
Most times to save costs, a lot of wrong things are done to the detriment of the contractor’s integrity. If building projects are well supervised, four bags of cement would not be used where five bags are needed.
Property owners on their own should take their time in supervising their building construction process as most times, Engineers and project supervisors can either be lazy or purposely want to make selfish profit thereby using substandard materials.
Also, government, COREN, NSE and other professional bodies should organize platforms to get the populace oriented about building collapse, causes and steps to avoiding them. It would shock you to know that a few property owners are ignorant of simple measures to be taken to avoid building collapse.
However, if we take proactive measures, we can drastically reduce the frequency of building collapse in Nigeria if not totally eradicate it. We only need to make simple changes and we will be on our way to having better and stronger buildings.

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