Sanwo-Olu gives reasons for construction failures in Nigeria

…as Lafarge proffers solution to urban housing deficit

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, has highlighted reasons why building and construction fail in Nigeria, just as Lafarge Africa proffered solutions to challenges of accommodation in the country’s urban centres.

The governor noted that, though the government normally checks structures to ensure compliance to quality standards, “the sad reality remains that a few unscrupulous people have unfortunately found ways to cut comers and undermine due process, putting the lives of many in jeopardy.”

Sanwo-Olu who spoke at the 5th edition of Lafarge Africa’s Concrete Ideas Series on Tuesday in Lagos, noted that housing, building and construction safety was not just a Lagos, Nigeria or Africa’s problem, but a challenge many nations have faced at some point in their national history.

“Building collapse, which results mostly from lack of adherence to standard and quality, when it comes to building and construction, is one issue we want to leave in the past as we forge ahead to a greater, smarter and more sustainable future,” he assured.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, added that it was their resolve as a government to be more intentional and vocal in sensitising prospective builders on the importance of seeking the input of professionals in engineering, building, planning, and architecture before embarking on the building of any structure.

In his opinion, building safety was first and best guaranteed before the process of building and construction commenced, pointing out that safety began with safe and standard building plans, quality building materials, and adherence to proposed plans and structures.

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The governor disclosed that the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) and the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) have taken up the responsibility of being very swift, alert, and responsive in ensuring that Physical Planning Permit Laws and building policies strictly adhered.

He added that the monitoring and compliance units of these agencies were also at the top of their game to ensure that even before construction begins, the structural plan, materials to be used, and every other necessary things meet the standard requirement.

“You will all agree with me that there is little government can achieve on its own without partnership with the industry players in the sector,” he noted, adding that there was a need for government-construction industry collaboration if they were to successfully curb this menace and ensure that buildings were safe and fit for habitation.

Earlier, Khaled El Dokani, country chief executive officer, Lafarge Africa plc, noted that the development of high-rise buildings was the current trend in modern cities all over the world.

This, he explained, was mainly to overcome the challenges of urban overpopulation and for the optimal use of scarce land resources. “It can also serve as a status symbol, a tourist attraction and beautiful skylines,” he said.

El Dokani wondered, however, that the concept of vertical cities was not growing at a significant rate compared to horizontal, noting that this low rate would continue to heighten the arduous challenge of housing in Nigeria’s urban cities such as Lagos and Abuja.

“The theme for today’s session, ‘Building up safely: Government-industry collaboration’ explores how high-rise buildings could be a solution to the challenges around scarcity and high cost of accommodation in urban centres in Nigeria. This, we believe, could be a spur of investment in construction and real estate in the country,” he said.

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