How to prevent building collapse – The Nation Newspaper

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In the last three months, many buildings have collapsed around the country, the latest being the collapse suffered in  Ezenwa Street Onitsha, where a four-storey building collapsed, killing six people.

The incidence of March 13, 2019 remains fresh in the memory of Lagosians and Nigerians in general, where 20 people died and 45 people suffered series of injuries.

Research reveals that there have been 175 building collapses across the country, from 1971 to 2016, resulting in 1,455 deaths.

And of the 175 building collapse, 83 occurred in Lagos. Of the 1,455 recorded deaths from building collapse nationwide, 702 were in Lagos.

These tragedies have been partly caused by the bad works done by unqualified building contractors and the use of sub-standard materials for construction. Solutions are however provided on how these tragedies can be avoided.

Read Also: Six trapped, two rescued in Onitsha building collapse

The use of quality building materials is one major way to prevent a building collapse.

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Experts say that one of the major causes of building collapse is the failure and lack lustre effort of building contractors to pay strict adherence to quality building materials.

A research by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria show that poor quality building materials, especially the cements, are major causes of building collapse in Nigeria.

To therefore ensure the avoidance of building collapse, builders should always ensure that the right materials and cement specification is used for the appropriate construction types.

Many people build without hiring the services of a competent building contractor. The engagement of a competent contractor is very important for building construction.

In using local builders, they must be able to do the job. A good way to discover this is to check their previous work, speak with their previous clients, and check their staff strength including number of skilled and unskilled workers.

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Poor maintenance culture is another reason buildings collapse. Even the best constructed buildings need constant attention and if the attention is delayed, what starts as something very minor can turn quickly into an expensive man-made disaster.

It should be noted that all buildings deteriorate and so maintenance is necessary. Experts believe that maintenance work commences on the day the contractor lives the site.

Soil testing is very important before a building is erected. It enables the builders to determine soil strata, foundation type and where to lay the foundation for the building proper.

Places like Lagos have swampy grounds and many estates are built on recovered grounds. This means that the foundation of such buildings needs to be strong and carried out after a proper soil test.

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It is also important to have the right design structure for a building. These designs must be reviewed and approved by appropriate authorities before construction begins.

There are many designs in Nigeria that are copied from other countries without considering the conditions that led to such design.

The national building code must be implemented to the fullest. It is a document expected to regulate the conduct and operations of professionals and stakeholders in the construction industry.

It is believed that the absence of a National Building Code has been largely responsible for the incessant incidence of collapsed buildings being witnessed across the country and that passing the national building code into law will regulate the use of non-professionals in the building and ensure the compliance by contractors to stop the use of untested products and materials to prevent structural downfalls later on.

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