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Building collapse

APPEAL TO DEVELOPERS By BUILDING COLLAPSE PREVENTION GUILD ( BCPG)

The collapse of the 7-storey building at Banana Island in Lagos, Nigeria on April 12th, 2023 not only caused destruction to property and claimed lives but also desecrated the holy month of Lent/Easter and Ramadan/Eid-El-Fitri. It is evident that there is a need to intensify the evangelism against building collapses and stir the conscience of those who currently dominate the Nigerian Housing Sector.

Following the collapse of the stock exchange and manufacturing in Nigeria, real estate and housing development have become an alternative booming business for investors. Unfortunately, many of these investors possess no training in building construction and have flooded the nation’s construction sphere with little regard for professionalism and due process. This has led to the absence of eligibility criteria, requirements, or qualifications that restrict admission into a sensitive and critical sector, endangering lives and property.

To address this abnormal situation, Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) was formed in 2011. The coalition comprises Town Planners, (Land) Surveyors, Architects, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Builders, and Estate Surveyors & Valuers, spread across different localities and reticulated into various cell formations. The BCPG network has been effective in informing relevant government staff of substandard building construction works and distressed buildings.

BCPG members are passionate about their cause, and their voluntary service has resulted in remarkable performance. Building collapses damage the reputation of Nigerian built environment professionals, making them appear inferior in the eyes of foreign counterparts. To restore the image of the Nigerian construction industry, the menace of building collapse needs to be addressed urgently.

The size of developers has become enormous, overwhelming the government monitoring apparatus. Most developers, approximately 90%, do not belong to the association, and quite a number of them are very influential. Inducement culture promoted by many developers has encouraged compromise within government officials’ circles.

Thus, we appeal to developers to abide by building regulations and engage the appropriate professionals in the pre-construction, construction, and post-construction stages of building. The risks involved in building construction should be considered more than the gains, and multi-storey buildings should not be constructed using direct labour methods. Reputable construction companies’ services should be engaged instead, as it is a clever way of mortgaging risk. Saving costs at the expense of human life could result in huge financial losses, chorusing the foolhardiness of penny wise pound foolish.

The government should lessen the burden on developers by reducing high development fees and taxation. Expensive preliminary costs incurred in building plan approval tempt developers to cut corners/cheat. Greed is the major weakness of most developers, which we pray that God helps them overcome.

Investment in the housing sector provides appreciable returns, but investment in buildings that will not stand the test of time endangers occupants’ lives, rendering it an investment in futility. Every developer should aim to construct a building with the intention of occupying it themselves.

Developers who are unsure of the stability or quality of buildings they have already constructed should reach out to BCPG for remedy. Keeping quiet may spell imponderable disaster for many.

It is essential to remind those handling building projects for their relations and friends in the diaspora to bear in mind that God rewards sincere people who do not engage in the diversion of project funds to the detriment of building production quality. Morality and ethics can help raise the bar for the entire building industry. Wise developers invest rightly, and we hope that developers in Nigeria become wise to lessen the fears of incessant building collapse.

May the Almighty God double your blessings as you build conscientiously.

Signed,

Tpl. Sulaimon Yusuf,
National President
Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG)

QS. Adenike Ayanda,
Honorary General Secretary
Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG)

April 23, 2023.

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