- To investigate building materials
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has stated that the building materials used in the construction of the five storey building, which collapsed in Lekki will be thoroughly investigated, also warning that if the building materials used are found wanting, the suppliers will be severely dealt with by the law.
The Director, Inspectorate and Compliance, SON, Mr. Bede Obayi, explained that the building built on a reclaimed land and less than 50 metres away from the sea was built by non professionals, which he said did not take into consideration the necessary requirements before embarking on the structure.
According to him, “We have noticed that just behind the collapsed building, there are reclaiming efforts being made to reclaim lands from the sea which is not up to 50 metres away from the collapsed building and when you reclaim a structure from such a site, it has to undergo a lot of preparation before you put up structures, there must Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) on the site and the site also has to be possessed and retained for sometime before embarking on such construction.”
Obayi during an inspection exercise to gather relevant samples for testing to determine the remote cause of the collapse, also discovered buildings around the collapsed building filled with cracks showing that the buildings were not built by the right professionals.
”It is going to be a complete investigation of the kind of professionals that are handling this. Around the collapsed building are structures with cracks where the Lagos State government has marked it to be removed and sealed. If you want to build you should look for professionals and do not come here to sacrifice quality to make money. We have not condemned any product here as substandard, we will condemn any product when it had undergone conformity test,” he stressed
“Some people who are quacks in the profession, are here playing with innocent lives because these people who lost their lives here, we cannot get them back. The land on which the building was built was reclaimed from the sea, so we will be doing the analysis of the water, soil , sand, blocks and the steel bars and all these analysis will give the agency and other relevant regulatory agencies to step and decisions to take,” he added.
He recalled that SON had earlier issued a marching order to some steel companies, maintaining that with the latest development, the agency will step up its enforcement exercise to ensure compliance
“Our investigation continues and I have told you that the rods have identification marks. So anybody found guilty must be properly disciplined and penalised and SON will determine what type of measure we are going to take on discovery of the non compliance,” he said.
Furthermore, he said: “If you use the best building materials in the world to construct a building by a quack, you are not going to get a positive result. So we are saying wrong people were used in the construction of this building. The right things were not done and we have always said that professionals must be used to get the job done. What pains SON is that people are paying with their lives and that is the agony of what is happening here.”
He said efforts to sanitise the block industry through a coding system is a continuous process, calling on every block manufacturer to identify with relevant associations to help SON carry out self-regulation.
“SON has done so much in the building industry. Each of the rod is properly identified and we have taken the samples to continue with investigation which will lead us to the suppliers who produced the rods since they were produced locally and with the marks on them, we know how to carry our investigation. This is why we said that if you want to build a structure, you must use the right professionals, who will use the right material, carry out the right soil analysis to be able to advise you properly on what steps you need to take to build a structure in this kind of environment,” he stressed.