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Professionalism will stop spate of collapsed buildings

Posted by By Udede Jim on 2005/07/25 | Views: 1205 |

Professionalism will stop spate of collapsed buildings


For the embarrassing and tragic incidents of collapsed building in Rivers State, like have happened at both Sani Abacha and Bank Roads in Port Harcourt to stop, the Nigeria Institute of Building has called for the use of the various professionals in the building sector of the construction industry.

For the embarrassing and tragic incidents of collapsed building in Rivers State, like have happened at both Sani Abacha and Bank Roads in Port Harcourt to stop, the Nigeria Institute of Building has called for the use of the various professionals in the building sector of the construction industry.

The Institute also advocated for the re-engineering of the building approval process to reduce delays and ensure that only qualified professionals and not artisans and interlopers are used for the various stages in a building such as foundation engineers, structural and service engineers, qualified builders who have duly undertaken Building Technology courses.

This position was advanced by Builder Kenneth N. Nduka, chairman of the Rivers State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NI0B) in Port Harcourt Thursday, July 14, 2005, stating that "the professional builder is the essential medium through which all briefs, designs and expectations of all the other stakeholders in building design and development team area transformed into physical reality."

It is the thoroughly-schooled builder that co-ordinates the activities of the numerous subcontractors, craftsmen, suppliers and all other professionals whose input will impact the successful execution of the Building Works.

He remarked that the use of quacks and the hijacks of the professional builder's functions by interlopers and pretenders have led to terrible results such as collapse of buildings, a state in Building Practice which the helmsman of NI0B described as "the most critical aspect of building failure and occurs if a part or whole of the structure has failed."

Nduka identified several causes of building failure such as natural phenomena like earthquakes and typhoons; the use of poor and substandard materials; bad workmanship; design errors; site development errors as a result of no geo-technical investigation of the soil and non-adherence to design specifications.

So many other factors contribute to building failures but one that can help prevent the disaster is if authorities in the relevant bodies such as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development institute effective building inspection so that early warning are sounded.

While commending the management of Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, the Nigerian Red Cross and other agencies that contributed to the clearing of the debris at Sani Abacha and Bank Roads and for prompt responses, the NI0B drew the attention of the State Government to the dearth of professionals in the building sector, adding that if urgent steps are not taken to remedy the situation, more tragedies would be recorded because of the predominance of quacks and interlopers who pretend to know what a building is.

Blder Nduka identified the absence of manpower as one serious factor that is leading to the menace of collapsed and abandoned structures, arguing that the shortage of adequate skilled and semi-skilled labour could be tackled in the long-run if institutions of higher learning in Rivers State such as the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) and Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori are compelled to offer courses in Building and Building Technology.

In the interim, the institute expressed willingness to run short courses for artisans, craftsmen and technicians in the state's Trade & Technical schools so as to breed a crop of competent Rivers men and women that are true builders, another way of empowerment of the youths in line with the overall developmental agenda of Governor Peter Odili for an economically virile state.

The NI0B leader noted that Rivers men can benefit from the viable building sector now that Port Harcourt and environs are regarded as the third best, behind Lagos and Abuja, in the building industry in terms of growth.

In his view, enabling laws to block out quacks from inflicting avoidable human losses on the society should be enacted quickly by the Rivers State House of Assembly to rightly position the building sector of the state.

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