FCT Plans Integrity Test For All Building Under Construction

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, August 16, (THEWILL) - The Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) has been directed to coordinate an inter-departmental audit of all buildings under construction in the Federal Capital City, Abuja.

FCT Minister, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed gave this directive during the monthly FCT Operations Briefing in Abuja.

According to him, to avoid future occurrence of any building collapse, the FCT Administration will carry out integrity tests of all buildings under construction which are above 2-suspended floors in the Federal Capital City at the owners’ expense using the services of accredited Engineering Firms only.

The membership of the Audit Committee include Engineer A.C. Ike as Chairman, Representative of Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, FCT Police Commissioner, FCT Director of State Security Service, Directors of Public Building, Development Control, Parks & Recreation, Urban Affairs, Engineering Services, Monitoring & Inspection respectively, Managing Director, Abuja Property Development Company and Engineer Omotayo Ogunkuade will serve as Secretary.

The professional bodies to serve on the committee are the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Institute of Builders, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Nigerian Institute of Architects as well as Nigerian Institute of Facility Managers.

The Committee is expected to be inaugurated by the FCT Minister on Wednesday August 18, 2010.

Senator Mohammed regretted that the collapse of 4-suspended floor building on plot 1007, Cadastral Zone A03, Garki at about 5am on Wednesday August 11, 2010 left 21 persons dead and 9 persons rescued alive.

He assured that the details of those victims would be released by the Relief Agencies including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Senator Mohammed expressed sadness over the deaths at the site of the collapsed building and commiserated with those that lost their loved ones.

The Minister recalled that the attention of the FCT Administration was drawn on Sunday January 13, 2010 to the effect that the developer of the property had raised the development more recently by an extra floor above the approved height which extra floor was removed by the FCT Department of Development Control.

Senator Mohammed revealed that it was observed during the removal of the extra floor, that the building showed signs of vibration.

The Minister further revealed that this, coupled with a visual observation of the structure during the removal of the extra floor indicated that there was a need to subject it to structural stability test which was paid for by the developer and the structure failed.

Since the building failed the Structural Stability Test, the Development Control Department decided that the structure be removed but being an earlier approved development, the FCT Administration decided to refer the case to the Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal before its eventual demolition to avoid being taken to Court by the developer.

Senator Mohammed disclosed that in the case of the developer, his site Engineer will be referred to the Police and professional bodies respectively for appropriate prosecution and/or disciplinary action.

"The developer and site engineer are liable for the illegal development as well as deviation from the approved Building Plan but investigation would be carried out to determine the culpability of any official of the FCT Administration for which a panel is also being set up".

Senator Mohammed also disclosed that he will soon meet with the FCT Chief Judge and members of the FCT Urban and Regional Planning Tribunal towards resolving the challenges posed by Court Injunctions on the prompt removal of structures confirmed as illegal or defective and unfit for human habitation.