Adoption of National Building Code by states will put professionals on their toes —Experts |
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Adoption of National Building Code by states will put professionals on their toes —Experts

It’s no longer news that Lagos State remains the epicenter of cases of building collapse in the last 48 years, having recorded more than 295 incidents out of 461 between 1974 and July 2021.

According to data from the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), the figure amounts to 65 per cent cases in Nigeria.

The state has also recorded nothing less than seven incidents in between January and May 2022.

Not leaving any stone unturned, the Lagos State Government is now fully prepared to change the narrative as it  announced to the media, last week, the plan to adopt the National Building Code (NBC) as part of the efforts to promote standard building construction in the state, thereby eradicating  incessant structural failures.

Applauding the proposal, most built environment experts, who spoke with Nigerian Tribune when interviewed, said the plan to adopt the building code by the state government “is long overdue” to turn the tide of building collapse in the state.

Adoption of the building code, they pointed out would ensure quality work delivery that will put professionals on their toes; reduce government’s interference in the process of regulating the industry and seriously reduce the prevalence of quackery.

Building code

Disclosing this to newsmen  during the media sensitisation held in Lagos in collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme, the Commissioner, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban development, Dr Idris Salako, stated that the move to domesticate the National Building Code was aimed at producing the Lagos State Building Code and supply the missing link in existing regulatory framework by providing the much needed focus on performance standards for buildings in the state as opposed to design standards.

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“As a performance-based building code, the Lagos State Building Code will cover aspects such as structural stability,  durability,  protection from fire, access,  moisture control, energy control and services and facilities»

According to him, the building code would complement the existing building regulatory system in the state to address the challenges of land use, physical development and urban planning.

Salako, who said the ministry was going on full automation, added that when operational, the building code would afford the opportunity to address the peculiarities of the state and its different localities with building performance standards, while minimising costs of untold disasters from flooding, building collapse and fire outbreaks among others.

He said that the domestication of the National Building Code and its eventual launch as the Lagos State Building Code in the foreseeable future would present another national model from the centre of excellence.

He said the Lagos State Building Code might become operational in the next six month

Special Adviser, E-GIS, Dr Olajide Babatunde, said that the domestication of the National Building Code would give adequate consideration to the peculiarities of Lagos State as opposed to the wholesale adoption of its contents.

Permanent Secretary of Ministry, Abiola Kosegbe, who also represented the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, said the forum was to sensitise Lagosians on the ongoing efforts and processes in activating the Lagos Building Code which was another milestone as a lot of programmes had been lined up in this regards.

Kosegbe explained that the building code would ultimately incorporate the Energy Efficiency Code and the Green Building Concept.


Experts’ views

Speaking to Nigerian Tribune, for Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Lagos chapter, Basir Asimiyu, said he was not surprised that Lagos is taken the bold step in domesticating the building code.

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“Of course, it’s long overdue. It will define who does what among the built professionals instead of the present situation where some professionals are taken over some others responsibilities,” he said.

According to him, domestication of the building code by the state authority would expose quacks parading themselves as professionals and delving into area which is not their core area of competency.

When the building code is finally adopted by all states, Asimiyu is of the opinion that the role of developers would be defined, while home builders would know who and who to engaged at every stage of development of a building from choice of land to the end of delivery of the house.

He said “The professionals will be able to have a voice when those who are not supposed to take over their role venture into it since the law will be there to back them.”

To ensure compliance, the builder suggested that the state apparatus should be used to enforce compliance when the code is domesticated.

Former President of NIOB, Mr. Chucks Omeife, described the move by Lagos State as a “very welcome development”, adding that though there was a feeling that it should have been done before this time.

On why the feeling, Omeife said the reason was basically on the avalanches of building collapses and the casualties from Lagos axis for many years.

He said: “Expectedly, the government should have been very proactive if not for anything but to avert the continuous deaths and associated loss of lives and wastage in this precarious economic time.

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“Lagos state is a peculiar state and being a trail blazer in advancing strategic policies across board which are copied by other states, hence the spate and currency of government activities must be upscale to match the rate of uncoordinated development in the built environment due to daily influx of Nigerians seeking greener pastures.

“That the government seem to be slow in tackling this disgracing menace is one that cannot in anyway be justified.”

He described the building code as a critical government’s regulating tool to create orderliness in the built environment and project delivery process.

According to him, the code should simplify the process of identification and situating problems in the event of any work challenge or professional negligence.

He pointed out that an effective building code is big plus for the built environment in Lagos which will gradually distillate down to other states.

«It will ensure quality work delivery that will put professionals on their toes, reduces government interference in the process of regulating the industry and seriously reduce the prevalence of quackery.

«For developers, it will serve as a big check on their activities and their cutting corner mentality,» Omeife said.

Another professional builder, Suraj Borokini, said the adoption of the building code in Lagos State would guide the constructors on safe and sustainable building production.

He pointed out that the peculiarities of Lagos State in adopting the code should include methods and sequence of construction in different weather including soil consideration and materials durability.

He wants monitoring of the building sector and compliance to the code to be done by professionals as consultants.


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