12 Jan 2017


We are living in a country where the news of building collapse is no longer seen as breaking news. It is happening across the nooks and cranny of Nigeria .As soon as it happens the accusing fingers of the general public go to the Engineers.

It is a well-known fact that the building industry comprises The Client,Architects,Engineers [Structural,Electrical,Mechanical Geotechnical and Environmental], Builders and Craftsmen. All these groups play major roles in ensuring that the building projects stand the test of time.
Collapse in Buildings could be total or partial failure of one or more components of a building leading to the inability of the building to perform its principal function of safety and stability


It is alarming to hear that between January 2013 and September 2014, no fewer than 27 cases of building collapse were recorded in different parts of the country with about 173 innocent Nigerians confirmed dead and 427 others injured [Daily Trust Research.)Colossal sums of money have been lost as a result of this various cases of collapsed buildings.

A survey of building collapse within the period under review shows that 17 buildings involved are residential buildings, 6 were churches while the rest are plazas and uncompleted buildings. THE Southwest zone of the country had the highest figure; the south east had only 6 incidents while 4 cases were recorded in south south.

Only 13 cases were recorded in Northern zoneof the country. It is disheartening that despite the existence of the Development Controls of various States, nobody has been tried and jailed.by competent court. Only the Synagogue case is being handled at the law court now.The consequence is more cases of collapsed buildings as those found culpable are escaping with their nefarious activities.

Before I go ahead to discuss some of the root causes of collapsed buildings in Nigeria,may I take you down the memory lane of some latest cases in Nigeria.

The Synagogue Church buildingcollapse in Lagos .On September 12 2014, the guest house of the Synagogue Church located at Ikotun Lagos State collapsed killing about 115 people of various countries, and wounding about 131 others. On 21st October 2015, a 3-storey building located at Swamp Street Odunfa Lagos Island collapsed trapping the occupants. Plateau State has also witnessed few cases of collapsed buildingsin recent past. About three cases recorded earlier had no human casualty; however On Sunday 13th September 2015 an Islamic School Building –Abu-Naib School building collapsed killing 10 pupils and injuring many. TheL shaped on-storey building collapsed after heavy down pour while lessons were in progress without any ample warning to the occupants.

This problem of building collapse is not peculiar to Nigeria, however our case has become so frequent that all stake holders in the built environment need to come together to proffer lasting solution to curb this ugly cankerworm that is gradually eating deep into the fabrics of our society and giving us the professionals bad image in the comity of nations.

Listed below are some of the basic causes of Structural Failure of buildings
· Dominance of quacks in the construction industry
· Government legislation
· Design Error
· Poor Construction Supervision
· Conversion of Residential Buildings to Commercial and Religious purposes.
· Renovation of Burnt Houses/Abandoned Structures
· Civil Commotion, Religious Disturbances/terrorism
· Natural Disasters.
· Geotechnical Investigation
· Code of practice
· Effect of high temperature
· Devel


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