Engineers Lament Rising Cost of Building Materials

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By Omolabake Fasogbon

The Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, NICE has lamented the rising cost of building materials, including Cement, warning that such could contribute to building collapse this year.

National Vice Chairman of NICE, Engr.Lola Adetona, gave the warning at Civil Engineers’ Annual Dinner and Public Lecture, that took place in Lagos, recently.

The Vice Chairman said that rising prices of materials have forced many stakeholders to compromise quality for inferior materials.

She said, “Skyrocketing cost of cement is making construction engineers, builders and contractors, particularly quacks, to find shortcuts at the expense of Quality Control and Assurance (QCQA), because they are more interested in making profit, regardless of what happens to a building in the long run. This is why we may continue to experience building collapse.

“We are in danger. Deep danger! We no longer have any other option than to find a way to stem this tide. We have an opportunity now to talk and take this matter to the next level.”

As a matter of urgency, Adetona called for a deep discussion among federal government, cement manufacturers, and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that would address the threats.

“I speak as not just an engineer but as a concerned mother, wife, resident and tax-paying citizen.

“The reality of these tragedies when they happen are more graphic than we know; particularly to victims of collapsed buildings. When a building collapses, children, parents and even families are affected. Generations are destroyed and scarred forever, future of children is stunted, capital is lost, people lose jobs, while some end up in hospital or jail.”

“You will agree with me that we cannot fight COVID-19 on one hand and at the same time do damage control of buildings that will be collapsing, when contractors will be forced to cut corners.

“We can save those buildings today and as NICE, we must move our narrative in this direction because time is of the essence.”

The former National Chairman of the Institution,

Engr. James Owivri also expressed displeasure about the hike.

He said, “Based on the usual 2500 prize per bag of cement, contract had been signed, and within short period of two weeks, the bag rose to N3800 and N4000, how is the contractor expected to reconcile the difference”?