Bennett Oghifo

President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), QS. Obafemi Onashile, has attributed increased cases of collapse of buildings in the country to defective construction laws still in use.

Onashile stated this at the Southeast zonal two-day workshop, with the theme: “Construction Industry Health and Safety Management”, held at Newton Hotels, Owerri, Imo State, recently. The event was attended by the executives and professionals in the sector from the geo-political zone (Imo, Abia, Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi States).

One of such defective laws, Onishile explained is the Factories Act of 1974, as amended, which he noted cannot solve modern needs in the construction industry. “The issue of collapse building is because the construction industry and construction laws in our country, especially, the Factories Act of 1974 – 2004 are defective. That is why we are having collapse buildings.”

He said an additional way to end such incessant cases of building collapse, was for the National Assembly to expedite action and pass the bill on “Construction Industry Health and Safety” sent to the lawmakers by surveyors in the country, adding that the president should subsequently assent to it.

Onashile, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of necessity, establish Construction Industry Board (CIB), which will comprise experienced professionals in the building industry to ensure decisions and implementation of related issues are carried out.

“We have told President Buhari that we need to have Construction Industry Board. It will form part of the approach towards solving this problem. We have MoU with relevant ministries and departments. That is the last threshold of it. By the grace of God, that will come to pass very soon,” he said.

As a matter of seriousness, he cautioned that professionals in different aspects of the building and construction industry must be engaged by the employers and developers during construction activities.

He therefore, urged participants to make good use of the opportunity of the workshop to enhance their capacities and pro- activeness in the industry.

He blamed some building developers for not doing enough to halt the trend, insisting that the safety of workers must also be ensured by providing necessary facilities at any construction site in the country.

“The building developers are not carrying out proper roles that they are supposed to carry out in ensuring that competent professionals are engaged,” he insisted.

He said, “That is why the NIQS is calling for updating of the Health and Safety laws concerning construction industry. We have put this up as a bill to the National Assembly through the President as an Executive bill. If passed into law, the due roles of the professional contractors spelt out, and collapse buildings a thing of the past.”

He also said the message should be carried to all the states of the federation.