Lagos moves to check buildings collapse

By The Citizen

The Lagos State Government is planning to increase its oversight functions to reduce cases of building collapse.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos, said the government would intensify the monitoring of buildings across the state and implement other actions to check such incidence.

He noted that the residents have a bigger role to play in preventing building collapse as most cases were caused by non-adherence to the law.

“This year, we are going to strengthen monitoring and intensify other necessary things to ensure that incidence of building collapse is reduced, to the barest minimum, if not totally eliminated. But residents have a bigger role to play because most buildings do not conform with the laws and standards are not complied with.

“So, people need to involve the government more in their construction and also get approvals before putting up structures, to avoid threat to lives.

“The Lagos State Building Control Agency should also be contacted and invited to inspect buildings under construction.

“All of these are necessary to ensure that buildings are in tandem with the standards and that they do not pose any threat to lives,' Ayinde said.

The commissioner, who said that a good number of the buildings collapse because the contractor used inferior materials, said that it is now compulsory for anyone constructing a new building to subject the materials for testing at the State Testing Laboratory to ensure they are safe for use.

“Some people complained that testing materials at the laboratory and getting approvals for their buildings is not cheap, but that is not true; it is affordable. But, can one compare the cost of the losses that would be sustained in the event of a building collapse, to the little that would be paid to do the right things? That is certainly not true. It is actually cheaper to comply with the law, than paying the huge price for not doing so,'' he said.

The State Tribunal of Enquiry on collapsed buildings, in its report presented to Governor Babatunde Fashola last year, had said that no fewer than 135 buildings collapsed in 2013.

The Chairperson of the tribunal, Mrs. Abimbola Ajayi, who presented the report, blamed the problem on non-compliance with building laws and weak enforcement.