Nigeria is where it is because people who have the power to call things to order have refused to exercise such right for the good of the nation. Hence this allow impunity to fledge. The case of ‘buildings collapse’ has become a norm in the country as building collapses week in week out with no tangible solution yet in sight even though large investments and lives are lost at most occurrences.
On September 12, a guest-house housing members of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) pastored by Prophet T. B. Joshua collapsed and left more than 100 people dead with several injured. About 86 of the dead people were said to be South Africans. The incident breaks record for the highest number of South Africans to die at once on a foreign land without crisis (TIMES).
So many stories erupted after the SCOAN’s guest-house caved in. The general overseer of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN): Prophet T. B. Joshua claimed it was due to a terrorist attack, some also attributed it to spiritual attack while other said it was due to the effect of a military plane (Hercules c-130) sighted hovering over the building before the building eventually caved in.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) claimed that the building was originally designed to have four floors but was extended to six floors. The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) also claimed that they once issued a ‘stop work order’ on the building during construction of the building. These are information that can be built on…: why was a ‘stop work order issued’? Was the original design altered to accommodate additional two floors from the original design?
The case of a building with foundation designed to support four floors now extended to six floors is simply a situation where the loads subjected on a foundation exceeds its carrying capacity.
Even though buildings collapses due to various reasons, subjecting loads which exceeds the carrying capacity of a foundation can results into foundation failure which can also leads to a building collapsing. When a thorough investigation is carried out on the collapsed SCOAN’s building, the cause(s) of the building collapse won’t be farfetched if professionals are employed and given a free hand to operate.
The greedy nature of man also contribute to building collapse in the country where most clients prefer to employ the service of quack workers (who also claim to be engineers since they can use measuring tape and a shovel even without real knowledge of construction procedures) to the service of professionals in order to reduce cost of construction, on-site workers also use inferior and inadequate materials for construction works to make more profits; all these usually results in shoddy works which result into building failure on the long run.
During the first quarter of this year, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria came up with a new classified usage of grades of cement. 32.5 grade cements was classified to be useful only for plastering work while 42.5 was classified adequate for general construction work which require high strength, and 52.5 grade cement for special structures like flyovers and bridges. Most general construction works have been carried out using 32.5 grade in the country. The question that sprang up from different quarters afterwards has been; does the use of 32.5 grade of cement mostly used for ‘general construction’ contributes to incessant collapsing of building in the country?
What should be of great concern with regards to the constituents of the concrete is the concrete mix design used in arriving at the proportions of constituents of concrete. Most on-site workers (especially the quacks) doesn’t know the existence of concrete mix design but just come up with a mix they believe is ‘rich’ due to their belief that the higher the cement content of concrete, the more adequate and sound it will be for construction. A concrete mix design help specifies the strength of concrete and best proportion of concrete constituents for construction. If adequately designed and strictly adhered to and all other things being equal, such structure should stand the test of time regardless of the cement grade specified in the mix.
Other causes of building collapse includes: bad design, fire, faulty construction, poor enforcement of building codes, compromised standard, foundation failure, etc. The incessant building collapse can be tackled if the government ensure that only the service of expert craftsmen are employed for construction works, ensure global best practices across all levels of building construction and also make sure that the building codes is fully implemented across all states of the federation.