How Ogun Controls Building Collapse

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In the recent past, the media has been flooded with news of collapsed buildings across the country. The devastation caused by these relentless collapses is not limited to material and financial losses, but even to the ultimate loss of human life, which must be avoided at all costs. If a single life was lost in a building collapse, that’s one too many. Unfortunately, more often than not, many lives are lost due to these preventable disasters.

What are the main causes of building collapse? Professionals have identified poor construction methodology, substandard/poor quality construction inputs, and poor execution as the top three causes, showing that barring natural disasters, the bulk of the responsibility for the he structural integrity of any building is the responsibility of the humans involved in its handling and the decisions they make before, during and after construction.

In Nigeria, many people assume that once you have purchased a piece of land, all that is required is to employ the services of artisans to begin construction. The results show that a part of the population disdains the need for professional involvement or quality assurance and/or quality control mechanisms in the construction of their buildings, either out of ignorance or assuming that they can design and supervise their own projects. No wonder the high number of anarchic developments with no regard for functionality, security or aesthetics, which litter many communities.

It is estimated that human beings spend around 90% of their existence in buildings, be it homes, offices, places of worship or even recreation centers. As such, the quality of buildings should not be compromised by a government that holds the protection of the lives and property of its people in high regard.

This must be the rationale for the accreditation and registration exercise undertaken by the Ministry of Land Use Planning and Urban Development for state materials testing laboratories. The laboratories, designed to offer quality assessment and control to the construction industry, are responsible for carrying out pre-testing, continuous testing and post-testing for buildings and roads, all within the aim to ensure that the materials used in all construction work meet international standards of best construction practice. Through the Ogun State Buildings Production Management Authority, one of the three agencies of the ministry, three materials testing laboratories have been accredited and registered in the state so far. ‘State. They are Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta; Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, and Ogun State Materials Testing Laboratory in Abeokuta.

There is a series of pre-tests before construction of any building begins. Soil analysis, for example, checks the different depths of the ground to determine the best combination of materials (water, concrete and sand) necessary for the foundation work. This test is essential to determine the bearing capacity of the land, i.e. whether the land can support the load of the proposed building, so the combination of materials for erecting a building in a marsh is different from that required for a rocky location. The test also takes into consideration that a building structure settles every ten years and ensures that the technical aspects involved in construction are designed to accommodate this from the outset.

In addition, it is essential that the manufacturing process of the building materials meets the standards, which is why tests are also carried out during the construction period. The water used to mix the concrete should be tested to determine its pH for optimum concrete adhesion; while the ratio of cement to sand (fine and coarse aggregate) to water mixture is also essential to achieve the workability of concrete for building. Physical and chemical tests on cement are performed to determine setting time, strength and suitability, while tensile strength on reinforcing steel bars determines yield strength, optimum stress and the percentage elongation.

It is also important to note the possibility of testing buildings already constructed using a non-invasive technique. The results of these tests are often reactive rather than preventive, but even at that, such tests can mean the difference between collapse and longevity.

Why is it essential for Nigerians to take seriously the issue of regulation and quality control in the construction industry? Compliance with testing and regulatory stipulations in the sector will not only serve as a preventative measure to reduce the incidences of building collapse, but will also provide the government with adequate information on structures, old and new. This information will create an essential database for the planning and implementation of development policies, programs and actions, relevant during and/or beyond periods of crises or natural disasters.

By going through the process from pre-testing to final testing, building owners can also be confident that their structures will stand the test of time and not deteriorate after a few years of construction. Moreover, going through the process will serve to educate owners on how to maintain their buildings to get the most out of them, as the propensity for job creation in this sector remains high if and when Nigerians begin to appreciate and to become fully involved. laboratory services.

On the other hand, is the issue of manufacturing. In many cases, artisans without any form of training beyond years of informal learning and experience are given the sacred responsibility of holding people’s lives in their hands. How? You might ask. A large percentage of artisans in the informal sector do not have the basic knowledge to know why certain measures must be respected or why certain rules must be followed. They often rely on their discretion, intuition, estimation, and intuition to make decisions that should have been made from a position of scientific and technical precision. Such decisions, in the long run, can be a problem if they lead to building distress, or even worse, loss of life and property through building collapse.

However, many find it cheaper to patronize informal artisans as they prove to be more approachable than their formal colleagues. For years, our society has operated in this way, and the result is the particularly high rate of building collapses recorded in recent years.

To address the manpower challenge, regular training and sensitization activities have been introduced by the Ogun state government with the sole aim of enhancing the capabilities of these important members of the construction. From block moulders to masons, from carpenters to welders, all professional cadres involved in the erection of a given structure must receive constant training to keep abreast of trends, realities and developments in the sector. Through the Ogun State Building Production Management Authority, the government continues to explore this path to creating and maintaining sustainable cities and communities.

Although these services may not be offered free of charge, the determinants of the charges depend on variables such as the type/use of the building, ie private, residential, commercial or industrial; number of floors; and the size of the structure, among others. Yet paying a stipend to prevent the potential for future losses is an investment that many smart people and corporations are willing to pay for sustainability and citizen protection.

What else? There seems to be an opportunity for private companies to establish materials testing labs in the various local government areas of the state, so that services can have wider coverage and better accessibility. This will of course require accreditation and registration with the Department of Land Use Planning and Urban Development, but the availability of these services will ensure that future developments adhere to strict building regulations, that developments are located in rural or urban areas.

Creating a functional, sustainable and aesthetic society is not the sole responsibility of government. Individuals, organizations and business entities also have their own role to play in ensuring that our society becomes one in which all its inhabitants can be safe and of which they can be proud.

Indeed, the developed countries we like to cite as benchmarks all ensure strict regulation of their built sector even in places labeled as general population housing units, and many Nigerians visit these places and adhere to their rules. It is only right that we do not resist the change necessary for growth and development in our own country.

Taiwo is Information Officer for Ogun State Ministry of Land and Urban Development; [email protected].

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