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It is evident that in life, shelter remains the second basic necessity of human needs after food, and as such, many individuals act desperately to have their own personal dwelling. Therefore, the need to erect solid and functional building to avoid unexpected collapse is very essential.
Building Collapse occur as a result of the following factors, factors such as; Poor workmanship, bad design, use of sub-standard building materials, foundation failure, faulty construction, extra-ordinary loads, among other factors such as negligence, design flaws, ageing, material fatigue, extreme operational and environmental conditions, accidents, terrorist attacks and natural hazards.
Therefore, there is need to eradicate building collapse in Nigeria, most especially, the study area which is Lagos-Island as it is believed to have the highest number incidents of building collapse and require immediate attention.
In view of the aforementioned therefore, this research work shall look into the problems that result into collapse of building in Nigeria whether design or construction or other related problems. However, having identified the problems of building collapse in the country with special focus on Lagos-Island, possible solution were thereafter proffered to solving the identified problems.
1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The frequency of collapse of building structures on Nigeria in the past few years and recently had become very alarming and worrisome. Many lives and properties have been lost in the collapse of buildings mostly in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos respectively. Many property owners have developed high blood pressure and some have been sent to an early grave. A visit to the collapsed scenes were as revealing as they were pathetic and one could not but wonder why such contraption could have been allowed to stand or to what extent people can go to cut corners at the expense of respect for safety and respect for lives.
Unfortunately, there are still a number of buildings of similar circumstances dotting the skyline of many cities in Nigeria. That building collapse incidence are still regularly occurring despite increasing diffusion of engineering knowledge over the years calls for some re-examination of development in building production and control process (Dimuna, 2010).
Development and construction of property is very necessary to every individual in life, as such, many individuals involve themselves in construction of property for either personal uses or for investment purposes. In Lagos State, every investor will like to acquire a property due to the rapid economic development and nature of investment, while some are of prestige. No investor or property owner will be happy to see his/her building collapse. Therefore, the need to follow the required due process before embarking on development of property is important.
Building collapse is becoming a serious problem in Nigeria in general and Lagos in particular as it has a lot of effect on the economy especially the development industry. Many investors today has failed due to their ways of developing property and thus lead to waste of many lives and properties worth millions or billions of naira in some cases. Building collapse does occur as a result of greed, incompetence and corruption on the part of the contractors and developers in building industry. The regulating authorities and concerned professional bodies need collaboration to ensure adherence to building regulations in Lagos State (Chika, 2008).
The exponential population growth and the consequent productive activities needed to sustain mankind forces the demand to be more pressing. The quest to meet up with this demand has led to different approaches of realizing the housing and infrastructural development some genuine and some fake approached, which lead to structured of different qualities. When the quality of these structures fall below certain standards, structural failures are inevitable. In the recent years, a lot of failures are being experienced among the existing structures and those under construction. The failure rate has become as rampant that we have virtually lost count of the number of these disasters.
A two-storey market plaza in Oshodi, a suburb Lagos State collapsed on the 28th of April 2010, , killing at least four (4) persons and leaving many others wounded. Every structural system is designed to meet some needs and be safe to avoid loss of life, property and damage to the environment. In a normal set up, failures are not expected within the projected lifespan of structures. But due to the imperfections in the actions of human beings and the existence of so many other external factors that influence the safety of structures, failures do occur (Ede, 2010).
Generally, structures do fail over time as a result of human factors such as negligence, design flaws, ageing, material fatigue, extreme operational and environmental conditions, accidents, terrorist attacks and natural hazards. But the causes of building collapse in Nigeria can be traced to abnormal factors not obtainable in many other nations. The Lagos State Government identified the principal causes of collapse within the Lagos areas as: deficient foundations, inadequate steel reinforcement, poor materials and workmanship and inexperience professionals, hasty construction, no soil test, greed, poor supervision and non-adherence to the building codes.
As these negative facts occur in the Nigerian built environment, new emergencies continue to emerge in the world. Today, the world is facing a lot of other more serious man-made and natural crises than the type being faced in the Nigerian built environments. One of the principal challenges confronting the world today is the global climate change caused by the depletion of ozone layer. Our coexistence with this phenomenon is a reality as virtually most of the world crises and emergencies are linked to that. Our ecosystem is not adapting naturally to the stresses caused by excessive population growth and the consequent increase in human activities (Rudrappan, 2010).
As the effects of the climate change are being made manifest around the world, it is now known to us that no nation including Nigeria is immune from its effects. The people living in the low-lying coastal areas of southern Nigeria, particularly in Lagos are under threat. About half of the population of Lagosians living mainly in slums and squatter settlements are exposed to this danger. Though, Nigeria is a country that is free from natural disasters like other countries of the world including the developing one that suffers earthquakes of different magnitude, flood, hurricane etc, but the only incidence that is disturbing and claiming peoples’ lives and properties is the incessant collapse of building in the country.
The construction industry are playing an important and dynamic role in the process of sustainable economic growth and development of any nation and more than 50% of the gross fixed capital budget of Nigeria normally takes the form of construction outputs (Wase, 2004).
Research was carried out by (Bamidele, 2000) and (Fadamiro, 2002) on the causes of building collapse in Nigeria and identified the following five (5) major causes viz; natural phenomenon, design error, procedural error, sub-standard material, poor workmanship, the lack of maintenance, the abuse of use of building etc. Research showed that the substandard material and poor workmanship contribute 45% to the overall causes of building collapse in Lagos State. (Ogunsemi, 2002) added that substandard materials amount to 18.4% of the total cause of building collapse while poor workmanship amount to 19%. Building collapse can be as a result of some defect in building which are not quickly put in place by the property owner such as;
1. Fungus stain and harmful growth
2. Erosion of mortar joints
3. Peeling paint
4. Defective plastered renderings
5. Cracking of walls and tearing walls
6. Defective rainwater goods
7. Decayed floor boards
8. Insect or termite attack
9. Roof defect
10. Dampness penetration through walls
11. Unstable foundation
12. Poor installation of air-condition units etc
All these defects in building if not properly controlled ad maintained, with time can lead to unexpected building collapse (Gafar, 2004). Building collapse have been a serious problem and concern to the government and professionals in building industry as they have been making efforts in their own ways to reduce this incessant collapse if n not totally stopped.
Therefore, this research work shows in full details the various causes of building collapse, trends of casualties of building collapse in Lagos and other states as well as its effect on the economy and individuals, efforts of the government and professionals in building industry in ameliorating building collapse in Lagos, the historic data of past incidence of building collapse, as the view of various authors on building collapse shall be discussed.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The main purpose of any research work is to identify a particular problem(s) and give recommendation on how the problem will be solved or reduced. In the building industry today especially in Lagos, building collapse has been one of the major problem faced by both the private and public developer, whether for personal use and for investment purposes.
Lagos is a city where building collapse occur frequently and has the highest number of building collapse incidents that claimed about 64 lives between 1982-1996 (Dimuna, 2010). In the past thirty seven (37) years (1974-2010), Lagos State has recorded quite a number of cases of building collapse in areas like Ebute-Metta, Lagos-Island, Mushin, Oshodi, Maryland, Ojuelegba, Ikeja, Agege, Idumota, Ketu, Central Lagos, Surulere, etc as well as Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano that also has the high number of building collapse cases.
This has posed a very serious challenge to those in the building industry, the government and the individuals who are into property development in the country and in Lagos State. The worrisome development and incidents throw the question that what might be the cause / causes of building collapse in the state? Several factors have been associated with this, some of which are negligence, greed, deficient foundations, inadequate steel reinforcement, hasty construction, no soil test, poor supervision and non-adherence to the building codes (Ede, 2010).
As part of the problem of building collapse, some of the construction i.e. owners of building under construction derail from their approved plans relying more on imagination and fantasy. Secondly, the approving authorities are also known to fail to monitor compliance with approved plans. Thirdly, some building owners shun professionals in order to cut costs. Fourthly, the high cost of building materials has led greedy contractors with eyes on profit, to patronise substandard materials. These shortcut measures have contributed immensely to the occurrence of failed buildings in the country (Adeniya, 2002). Before independence, building erected in Nigeria were in compliance with the global standards, but surprisingly from oil boom of 1970 till now, all manner of illicit activities that unwholesome professional practices have crept in Nigeria system, all they want is just the job done caring little or nothing about professionalism.
All the aforementioned problems and question is when will developers in Nigeria begin to follow the appropriate channel before embarking on development, and when will the building regulation be standardize by government for every development can take place, if all these are put in order, the problems of building collapse would be reduced to the barest minimum.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of this research work is to examine the problems associated with building collapse in Lagos with special focus on Lagos Island as case study. In order to achieve this aim, the following objectives are pursued;
1. To identify the causes and effects of building collapse on Lagos
2. To examine the problems associated with building collapse in the study area
3. To trace the past incidence of building collapse in Lagos and Nigeria at large
4. To examine the efforts of government, professionals and all other stakeholders in eradicating building collapse in Nigeria
5. To proffer suitable solution to the problems associated with building collapse in the study area
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