Building Collapse: Stakeholders want SON to create specialized dept for building materials

*Call for urgent action to stem causes of building collapse

By Kingsley Adegboye

THE Building CollapsePrevention Guild BCGP, a non-governmental advocacy body championing prevention of building collapse in the country has urged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON, to create a specialised department for building. He also raised the alarm that more incidents of building collapse are imminent in the country except urgent necessary actions are taken to arrest factors responsible for that.

Speaking at the BCGP forum in Ikorodu, Lagos, organised by Ikorodu Cell of BCPG for stakeholders in construction industry at the weekend, the guest speaker, Victor Oyenuga, an engineer, said that the steel quality in terms of strength and sizes should not be compromised as steel remains one of the major causes of building collapse in Nigeria.

Oyenuga, who is the Managing Director of Vasons Concept Consultants Ltd, spoke on  “The Importance of Quality Flat Sheets and Steel Reinforcement Materials in the Construction Industry”. He said “SON should create a specialised department for building materials.

According to him: “Steel manufacturers must accompany every consignment leaving the mills with a certificate specifying the steel strength, diameters and length. COREN and CORBON must intensify their monitoring role for both engineering and building projects. The regulatory bodies can enforce that steel materials found on site be tested and appropriate action taken.

“Faulty designs and construction arise from defective architectural and engineering drawings owing to lack of feasibility studies, soil and site investigations, poor design details, errors, omissions and inaccurate data coupled with contractors failing to carry out construction in accordance with specifications.”

The President of the Guild, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, a builder, and vice president, Nigerian Institute of Building NIOB, blamed the recurrent incidents of building collapse in the country on substandard steel reinforcement materials used by those engaged in construction of buildings across Nigeria, pointing out that  standards of building projects need to be controlled right from production rather than relying on taking samples to laboratory for testing.

According to him: “Rising cost of production due to Naira depreciation has turned metal scraps to the major component of steel production instead of imported billets. Ratio 70 percent of ore to 30 percent of scrap is permitted in steel production. But the use of 100 percent scrap for steel production is worrisome, especially when certain scraps are not ideal for the production of construction steel bars.

“For instance, the quality of a rebar tensile test that shows a lab result of 500 N/mm2 and 12 percent in elongation is considered to be adequate.”

Awobodu expressed gratitude to the leader of Ikorodu Cell of BCPG  for organising the stakeholders’ forum and said there is the need for government to provide basic amenities as a way of supporting manufacturing companies in the country. He also disclosed that Ikorodu has the highest concentration of steal rolling mills in Nigeria, pointing out that out of the 41 rolling mills in Nigeria, about 34 are working to production capacity of which 15 are in Ikorodu area.

“But here in Ikorodu, they have infrastructure challenges such as road, security, power for  production, among others,” the BCPG boss stated.

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