By Grace Alegba
Professor Martin Dada, Department of Building, University of Lagos (UNILAG) on Tuesday advised federal and state governments to enforce building material standards from production to marketing points to tame collapsing buildings.
Dada said at the inaugural stakeholder conference organized by the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory labeled “Construction, material quality control and assurance in Lagos State” that the collapse of buildings had become a national embarrassment.
He cited examples of buildings and roads that had lasted over 1000 years in some countries while discussing the topic “the importance of material testing during construction, standard materials and the risks involved”.
He highlighted the differences between quality control, quality assurance and quality management, which he said were prerequisites for maintaining standards in building construction.
“Materials have various characteristics and obey physical laws and principles, including mechanics.
“The performance of a building throughout its lifetime therefore depends, among other things, on the type of material incorporated,” he said.
The donation challenged federal and state governments “to begin the quest for quality as soon as the materials are manufactured and subsequently marketed.”
“The market, which is an environment outside the site, must be cleaned up. It’s a macro perspective to address quality during construction, ”he said.
He nevertheless stressed the importance of testing and inspecting materials such as steel rods, concrete cubes, water and other building materials on site.
According to Dada, incorporating substandard materials into construction work results in a loss of money and other resources as well as loss of reputation.
He said that in addition to using appropriate materials, these materials should be properly incorporated during the construction process under the supervision of qualified professionals.
Dada praised the program but urged the Lagos State government to keep more stakeholder commitments to adhere to the vision of using appropriate materials for construction.
Professor Gabriel Adeyemi of the University of Ibadan, while delivering his lecture, said that the load-bearing capacities of the soil must be respected during construction to prevent the collapse of the building.
Adeyemi, represented by Dr Ibrahim Oyediran, while giving various graphic presentations of how the soil could be overloaded, required proper soil testing before construction.
Revealing the statistics, he noted that Lagos state was responsible for most of the building collapses in the country due to the fact that the soil test was ignored during construction.
Speaking on the topic “Importance of geophysical and geotechnical surveys for sustainable buildings,” Adeyemi advised built environment stakeholders to change the discourse by paying more attention to soil analyzes.
Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers National Vice President Omolola Adetona has warned that some built environment professionals working beyond their area of expertise are contributing to quackery.
Speaking on “Defining quackery, its consequences, how to eliminate it,” Adetona called for more private material testing in Lagos and regular meetings of professionals and government with developers.
She advised the state government to bring in engineers and other building professionals to increase surveillance statewide so that no construction goes unnoticed anywhere without regulation and oversight.
She cited an example of land grabbers popularly known as “Omo Oniles” who showed up in the most remote areas of the state because they had informants.
She added that engineers lived all over the state and had the ability to control quackery through proper collaboration with the government.
“Quackery is a big problem in the Nigerian construction industry, but we can minimize it,” she says.
Dr Sony Ali, director of the International Center for Environmental Sustainability (ICES), described Lagos State as “the world’s dumping ground for collapsed buildings”.
Ali said the revenue lost to the state due to the building collapse since 1960 could almost match his 2021 budget, adding that the creation of LSMTL was timely to turn the tide.
He said the planning, assurance and quality control of building materials are essential for sustainable construction.
Other speakers in the program called on the government to regulate other areas such as electrical installations and wiring to ensure quality delivery.
They also called on the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and other regulatory bodies to control the influx of substandard foreign building materials.
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