•Say measure will prevent building collapse
By Kingsley Adegboye & Fredrick Okopie
CONSIDERING the importance of block moulders in Nigeria’s building industry, stakeholders in the sector have called on the federal and state governments to put in place a body empowered by legislation, to monitor quality of blocks being produced in the country. This, according to them, is the way to go to prevent cases of collapsed buildings in Nigeria, a menace that has ravaged the nation’s building industry like a wild fire, resulting in huge losses of lives and property.
The stakeholders made the call last week at a one-day workshop organised by the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) Igando-Ikotun Cell, held in Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), Ikotun, Lagos.
In her welcome address, the BCPG Cell Coordinator, Mrs. Adekemi Okusaga, a quantity surveyor, said the theme of the workshop “Economic Recession and Inflation: Sustainable Quality in The Production of Sandcrete Blocks And Allied Products” was carefully selected to address one of the main challenges in the built environment.
Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Wasiu Akewusola, a quantity surveyor, who hailed BCPG for the event urged all stakeholders to close ranks and work towards forestalling collapse building in the country.
Akewusola who is the General Manager, New Towns Development Authority, Lagos and Chairman, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Lagos State Chapter, said it was wrong for anybody to wait for disaster to occur before rising up to the challenge. He urged all stakeholders to be proactive in their efforts to having a better country and safer building industry.
In his keynote address, president BCPG, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, who noted that in the past, quality of blocks used for construction was not in doubt, however, said the story is not the same today and this has become a source of concern for construction professionals, who would not want their reputation dented, and for the overall safety in the Nigerian built environment.
Awobodu, a builder, who lamented absence of a regulatory body for blocks’ production said the time had come for the governments to rise the occasion
“Lack of regulation in the production of blocks has been the major source of this problem. Block making business has become an all-comers affair. The machine for manufacturing blocks is easily fabricated in all nooks and crannies without strict specifications and standard. There is no monitoring system for the quality of sand and water being used for block production.”
BCPG head assured that his team would not relent in its efforts towards having a safer building industry in Nigeria.
On his part, president, National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON), Alhaji Rasheed Adebowale, said apart from the issue of regulation, some so called professionals are also the bane of block moulders, as some of them are in the habit of looking for cheaper blocks, which in turn leads to inferior block production.
Inferior block production
Former president, Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers, Dr. Victor Oyenuga, who specified in details processes for production of blocks, submitted that block production is an engineering business.
“From the foregoing, block making is not an all comers affairs, it is a serious engineering business and must be taken as such. It becomes imperative when the building is to be a load bearing form of construction which is the most widely used method here for bungalows and two storey buildings”, Oyenuga said.
He added that all efforts should be made to meet the standard requirements of the Code in the production of sandcrete blocks.
Head of Department of Building, University of Lagos, Prof. Godwin Idoro in his lecture identified four main groups including government-related causes, design-related causes, construction-related causes and material-related causes affecting block making in Nigeria.
Citing a study by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Don said it is worrisome to know that the five percent of Nigerian blocks are produced (moulded) to specifications. According to him, this assertion implies that 95 percent of the sandcrete blocks in circulation or that are used for construction are substandard.
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