SON Sets up Adhoc Committee to Address Building Collapse

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Jonathan Eze

Piqued by the spate of building collapse in the country, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has set up an adhoc committee to address the menace.

The agency noted that the construction industry is dynamic, pointing out the need to set up a committee that would be equipped of latest technology and innovation used in the sector.

The Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, during the inauguration of the standardisation and quality assurance technical committee for the construction industry, yesterday in Lagos, said the committee was set up to fine-tune the standards and international best practices in building and civil works to address building collapse in Nigeria.

In his words: “The committee is going to be a kind of standing committee to be abreast with the frequent collapse in public and civil works complaints in this area of our society. It is going to be a combination of all stakeholders from the electrical department, civil, mechanical and other relevant agencies of government where they will sit down to address the issue of building collapse in the country. This committee will find solutions as it relates to standardisation to save the lives and property of Nigerians.”

He however noted that there is misinterpretation of roles of some professionals in the management of construction projects in Nigeria that had resulted to design and structural failure in service.

According to him, when professionals themselves argue on procedure, approach or method of project execution, or are bedevilled with unhealthy competition or rivalry, or have issues with basic things like who does what and the limit of what x, y or z can do on any project, there is the danger of lack of coordination and the possibility of shoddy or poor quality jobs.

Aboloma added that overdesigning, inappropriate specifications and poor workmanship and unqualified personnel may also have contributed to the breaking up and reconstruction of building and civil works.

He therefore stressed: “It is expected that professionals in the building and construction industry play necessary roles in ensuring that the public interest is best served during project design and construction”

Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the committee, Engineer Joseph Ojigure-a member of the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN)- said the main assignment of the committee is to look at existing standards in the industry and find ways of mitigating the incessant building collapse in the nation.

According to him, the biggest issue bothering around building collapse is the non-professionals involved in the building industry and the regulatory laws governing buildings and other infrastructural developments in Nigeria.

“The whole essence of this committee and standardisation is not just the issue of producing a book, but enforcement and monitoring of players in the industry. We need standards to be able to enforce. Regulation and the enabling environment are very important and this is the whole essence of this committee to enforce the law we have on ground and give everybody the opportunity and the instrument to address the address gaps we have in the industry,” he said.

The Head of Department, Standards Development, SON, Chinyere Egwuonwu, said the adhoc committee would handle the issue of building collapse, identify the causes of building collapse and at the end of the day find a sustainable solution that would curb building collapse in the country.

“This committee has a four- year working tenure and we believe that in the next four years, this committee will be able to come out with sustainable solutions to addressing building collapse in Nigeria,” she added.