Builders remember Ita-Faji victims, want building collapse offenders jailed

One year after the collapse of a three-story building in the Ita-Faaji area of Lagos, builders in the country have called for collaboration among relevant stakeholders to end quackery in building construction.

The builders said the high rate of building collapse in the country, especially Lagos State, was a result of non-compliance with the appropriate building construction process.

The President, Nigerian Institute of Building, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, said all those involved in buildings that collapsed should be prosecuted and jailed.

He said poor workmanship had long been identified as a major cause of substandard construction or building collapse in the country.

He explained that during construction, the relevant professionals should always be on-site to oversee activities.

According to him, there is no mechanism for monitoring activities on construction sites, saying that the wrong people have long been allowed to supervise construction sites, leading to the crisis of building collapse.

“I think this is a pathetic situation created by poor implementation of the building law. The day those that have been constructing buildings that collapse are prosecuted and jailed would mark the end of impunity that encourages quackery in building production management in Nigeria,” he said.

He stated that for any law to be effective in any society, the citizens must be made to understand the importance of its consequences.

“Once an individual breaks the law, no matter how highly placed that person is, they must face the consequences. Once there are scapegoats, deterrent has obviously been put in place. Every stakeholder in building projects will become cautious,” he said.

Figures obtained from the Building Collapse Prevention Guild, an advocacy group of built environment professionals, early this year, had shown that the country recorded 43 cases of building collapse in 2019.

Worried by the development, the National Assembly in January, wrote to the NIOB, expressing its concern over the spate of building collapse in the country.

The lawmakers stated that the causes of frequent building collapse were largely due to negligence, the use of substandard materials and lack of professionalism in the supervision of construction projects and called for a collaborative effort from stakeholders to end the menace.

The Lagos Chapter Chairman of the BCPG, Mr. Adeyinka Ogunseye, recently stated that the Lagos State Government, being the state with the highest rate, needed to be proactive and develop a zero-tolerance approach towards building collapse which he noted had become almost a regular occurrence in the state.

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