CORBON, other professional regulatory bodies brainstorm on building collapse

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BY FRANCIS KADIRI, ABUJA

Uba Group

The Chairman, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, Samson Ameh Opaluwah, has expressed confidence in the ongoing consultations among regulatory bodies in the Nigerian built environment to address the menace of building collapse in the country, adding that CORBON will continue to strengthen its relationship with sister regulatory bodies such as COREN, ARCON, SURVCON, QSRBN, TOPREC and ESVARBON.

The Chairman, who spoke after a recent meeting of the presidents of some regulatory bodies in COREN office Abuja, said CORBON will leave no stone unturned in implementing the resolutions reached at the meeting.

Opaluwah, a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Building and the Nigerian Society of Engineers commended the regulatory bodies for their commitment to collaborate and address the challenge of building collapse in the country, assured that CORBON will work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the bill for a law to enforce compliance with the approved National Building Code is enacted.

Commenting on pertinent issues raised at the collaborative meeting, Opaluwah said ‘the role of State Governments in the battle against building collapse cannot be overemphasised,’ stating that ‘States have to adopt and enforce the approved National Building Code in order to strengthen compliance. The CORBON Chair who explained that quackery remains the major cause of building collapse in the country, explained that professional regulatory bodies need the goodwill of enforcement authorities at the State levels in order to achieve nationwide compliance with the National Building Code.

The CORBON Chair who expressed concern that non-implementation of approved building designs and the engagement of non-professionals who have no capacity to manage building projects were also responsible for building collapse.

Opalwah hinted that ‘advocacy, enlightenment of the public and continuous engagement with government are imperatives agreed upon by the leaders of the collaborating regulatory bodies of the Nigerian built environment,’ adding that various professional associations in the built environment also have a role to play in realising the objective of minimizing building collapse in our country.

Opaluwah, who agreed with other stakeholders that there is too much concentration on the training of high-level manpower without a corresponding emphasis on the lower level and middle level construction industry manpower, said CORBON is currently engaged with the NIOB, NBTE and other relevant stakeholders to increase the production of skilled artisans, master artisans, technicians and technologists.

Discussing the need for professionals in the built environment to work together, Opaluwah said there should be respect for the responsibility of each professional while working together, adding that respective professionals must practice their areas of core competence and experience to avoid delving into other areas which amounts to quackery.

‘We agreed that government should liaise with regulatory bodies in the built environment to set up a Committee for the integrity tests of buildings/structures which have been constructed for some time now. Also, introduce functionality tests for buildings from 2 storeys upward in addition to the monitoring of ongoing projects.

‘Desk Officers at the Development Control and planning approvals authorities who have the responsibility of approving designs, must be qualified professionals in their respective areas of specialization. Development Control and Planning authorities are urged to engage the services of qualified Consultants where they lack capacity in expertise and or personnel.

He said there should be a mechanism to ensure that only professionals registered with their regulatory bodies are engaged by clients for their projects.

While reiterating the need for the enforcement of the use of standard quality of materials, the CORBON Chair said his Council will constitute a team of professional builders who will be monitoring building sites nationwide to ensure total compliance with standards. This he said will go a long way to address the menace of building collapse in the industry.