Quacks Operate as Professionals at Construction Sites in Lagos, Says LASBCA GM

Abiola Kosegbe

Fadekemi Ajakaiye

The General Manager of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, Mrs. Abiola Kosegbe, an engineer, has called for the cooperation of professional bodies in the built environment to rid the state of quackery in its building projects.

Kosegbe made the call at the recently concluded first virtual national workshop of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB). She told the large virtual audience that a challenge and aberration encountered on visits to some building construction sites in the state was quackery. Sometimes, they would encounter masons and iron benders calling themselves builders and engineers respectively.

In his reaction, Kunle Awobodu, a builder and the President of the NIOB corroborated the assertion and views of Mrs. Kosegbe on quackery on construction sites. According to him, “It is unfortunate that those who lack training and certification in the science of building production are engaged to handle the delicate construction process of buildings. He proposed solutions to the problem of quackery. One of his proposals is that state governors, as chief security officers of their states, should engage the Nigeria police in fishing out quacks on project sites while respecting the various professional delineations recognised in Nigerian law. He equally challenged the governors who have not done so to have up-to-date development and building control laws in line with the Nigerian National Building Code.

Awobodu equally charged building clients and owners to do due diligence on the professional qualifications of those involved with the delivery of the building project. He indicated that the building product is an outcome of collaboration of various professional specialists. He averred that while the architect produces the architectural designs, including the spatial configuration of the building, the structural engineer designs for stability. The registered builder, on the other hand, is the professional recognised by training and law to manage the actual construction and production processes for safe, sound and sustainable buildings. The builder deploys and manages the appropriate technology for the construction processes using some of his documents which include the construction programme, construction methodology and project quality management plan to avoid adhoc and reactive approach to project implementation, Awobodu stated.

The NIOB workshop, which addressed building production and structural stability attracted intending builders, builders, other built environment professionals, technocrats, political actors other participants and resource persons from various parts of the globe.

Abimbola Windapo, an associate Professor in the Department of Construction Economics and Management, University of Cape Town had earlier shared experiences on building delivery processes in South Africa. She told the virtual audience that documentation prepared by professional builders are used in the management of building construction processes, thereby removing arbitrariness from construction works.

Graham Teede, a past senior National Vice President of the Australian Institute of Building and an advisory board member of the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP), equally shared insights and experiences on various types of foundation and approaches to handling them.

Kunle Adebajo, an engineer and the Managing Director of Ove Arup & Partners Nigeria Limited, and past president of the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers, called for team work in building project delivery, while Prof. Olabode Ogunsanmi of the Department of Building, University of Lagos, revisited the first principles and theory of structural analysis as the basis of structural design and subsequent applications in construction.

Specifically, the workshop addressed critical thematic areas in foundation design and construction, structural analysis and design of buildings, software application in the design of building structural system, structural failure in buildings, design of concrete mix and field applications, builders and formwork design in building construction, and detailing of structural elements in buildings, including practical experience sharing on building projects.

The workshop acknowledged that various stakeholders have varying commercial objectives on a building project, however, every project participant wants a safe and sound structure. Structural design and right building technology applications are the key to the stability of structures. A symbiotic relationship between the structural engineer and the builder, who is the building production manager holds the ace to having safe and sound structures. The workshop then called for further mutually beneficial relationship built on trust and mutual respect among the key participants.

The two day workshop with about 850 registered participants further called on the Federal Government to revive its steel industry for production of standard steel resources for the construction sector.