The spates of building collapse in Nigeria has over time assumed a very worrisome state as many lives have been lost and huge properties/investments wasted.
The incessant building collapse in Nigeria is posing serious challenges to all citizens, including those in the built environment, governments, consultants, landlords and users of the building.
Several factors have been traced to be the cause of the reoccurring building collapse in Nigeria, such as: use of quack engineers, ignorance from the engineers, clients’ financial constraints, selfish interest, non-enforcement of building codes or construction regulation, ignorance and negligence from the relevant authorities in charge of regulating construction industry, amongst others.
However, results have shown that one of the most prevailing factors responsible for building collapse is the usage of substandard building materials.
The influx of substandard building materials into the Nigerian market has become worrisome.
Edward Adeolu, an expert in the building industry in an interview with Africa Housing News disclosed that one of the factors responsible for the building collapse is the importation and usage of substandard materials.
“When you bring substandard materials into the economy or into the country and use it for anything definitely is like you are calling for a disaster, thus the issue of building collapse here and there. This is not good for our country, the issue is becoming tiring, apart from people’s investment going down the drain, lives have been lost too. This is a very bad situation for our country’ he revealed.
Amidst the issue of building collapse, dealers of building materials in Rochas Plaza Mararaba Nassarawa state gave their own opinion on the issue.
According to them, high cost of building materials and ignorance of the buyers are reasons why people end up patronizing substandard materials.
Nkechi NNANEWU, a dealer of POP in the building materials market said “The thing is this, most people once they come to buy materials and you give them a prize, they prefer to go for the cheaper ones with lower quality. Even if you advise them to buy the good ones, they won’t agree.
“The Government should do something to regulate the way these people import substandard materials as this causes a lot of havoc in our country. Apart from importation of substandard building materials, they should also regulate the importation of other goods to Nigeria”, Nkechi opined.
The chairman of Rochas Building Materials Market, Kenneth Ozor is of the opinion that “some people say that when they come to market, most people that build don’t come to market themselves; they always send people to buy for them. And when these people come they will look for a way to go for cheaper ones so that they can make extra money for themselves and this is why they fall victim to buying fake materials.”
Another dealer, Vitalist Ojimma also stated that lack of funds in the country is a factor that contributes to patronizing substandard materials.
“Due to inadequate funds in the country, the customers always tend to go for the cheaper ones knowing fully well that they are substandard.” Ojimma
A lot of professionals are of the opinion that Nigeria’s building market has continually served as a dumping ground for low standard foreign materials.
Stakeholders have, however, advised that necessary agencies should do more in regulating such materials and promote the usage of made in Nigeria standard products.
Edward Adeolu opined that “the importation of substandard materials should be blamed on the importer, and then, the government regulatory agencies.
“We say we have the Standard Organization of Nigeria. Yet, not until something happens somewhere and then rush down there to take samples, no proactive action would be taken. That’s the time they find out whether the imported materials are substandard or not, whereas, harm and damages have been done.”
“Sometimes, when we have fire disasters in houses, you will find out that it is just the cable, whereas, Nigerian locally made cable is one of the best in the whole world. We have tested and tried it. And it is confirmed”, Adeolu confidently argued
Adeolu concluded by saying that “now, you have people importing substandard materials from other countries, it will pass through the borders and ports without being checked by regulatory agencies. And when these materials get into the market, people will buy them, causing incessant collapse of buildings and other building crises.”
Reeling out his perspective on the subject, Dr Ayodele Bamishile, a vanguard on the issue of building collapse in Nigeria for over two decades, said governments at all levels should have a political-will that will address the issue of building collapse in Nigeria.
He said; “Government, both the Federal, State and Local level should summon courage and have a political will to address incessant collapse of building in Nigeria. When the government is ready to address the issue of building collapse, it will be reduced drastically. We are not talking about eliminating it, but we can reduce it. We have the political know-how, we also have the technical know-how, we have professionals that can do it; but there is no Political will to implement it.”
“The ugly incident of building collapse in the country is a wakeup call for authorities in charge of regulating building materials to up their games in ensuring that the Importation and production of substandard materials in Nigeria is mitigated.”