• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Achieving a well-planned physical environment – Myth vs fact

Achieving a well-planned physical environment – Myth vs fact

In our climate, a building, whether for business or residence, is usually assumed to be within the total purview of the owner or developer. A lot of construction is carried out according to the whims and desires of individuals and businesses.

People often think their actions on acquired or inherited land are private. Yet, overlooking the consequences of unchecked development on the environment, the area’s future, and its functionality is common. Although historical development lacked government oversight, examining naturally grown locales highlights the risks. Haphazard development jeopardises the environment and the long-term sustainability of these areas.

Meanwhile, town planning is fundamental to the sustainable use of the deployment of society’s natural resources. Making it essential for developers and intending developers to avail themselves of agencies and authorities saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring that society is properly developed for one and all.

Meanwhile, town planning is fundamental to sustainable use of deployment of society’s natural resources.

Myths surrounding physical planning contribute to non-compliance with town planning laws, leading to haphazard development and potential disasters. These misconceptions shape people’s attitudes, necessitating consistent public education. By understanding the reasons behind adherence to regulations and standards, individuals may voluntarily adopt proper building practices, eliminating the need for coercion or compulsion.

Myth one suggests building permits are optional and can be obtained after construction. Rooted in property ownership belief, it overlooks government jurisdiction. The truth is, that all buildings fall under government oversight, mandated by law. Ogun State’s Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2022 requires a building permit before development. Section 29 (1) emphasises the need for a planning permit, and Section 49 asserts that no building works can commence without authorisation from the Building Authority, debunking the myth of post-construction permits.

The second myth claims that obtaining planning permits and building authorisation is overly complex. This perception often arises from outsourcing processes involving government establishments. However, the reality, as outlined in Ogun State, contradicts this myth. The streamlined 7-7-14 process ensures swift permit issuance, with simple applications taking seven days, provided all necessary documents are submitted. Citizens are encouraged to approach zonal town planning offices for clarification, inquiries, or requests, as government offices are conveniently located in 22 zones across the state, promoting accessibility and dispelling assumptions.

A prevailing myth suggests that the government’s focus on permits and authorizations is solely for revenue generation. However, these regulations primarily benefit citizens rather than serving as a revenue-centric approach. For example, regulations prevent construction in flood-prone areas, ensuring public safety. While revenue may be a byproduct, the primary goal is safeguarding citizens from man-made disasters. Government agencies proactively regulate the built sector to mitigate risks, emphasising the overall well-being of the citizenry.

A pervasive myth asserts that decades of artisanal experience surpass professional expertise in construction. While skilled artisans have potential, ongoing training is crucial to keep up with industry advances. Professional supervision ensures adherence to building standards. Professionals understand the nuances of construction processes, such as the specific applications of different cement types. Government initiatives, like the Ogun State Building Production Management Authority, provide training for artisans. Awareness is key; prioritising professional builders, architects, and engineers over artisans based on cost helps ensure quality and compliance.

If you ask many, they will list all the ways the government has failed to provide social amenities and infrastructure for the populace. Meanwhile, these same people resist the Government’s attempts at ensuring sustainable development through proper planning. For instance, when a community is not properly planned out, spaces are not ear-marked for future developmental activities such as the provision of schools, hospitals, police stations and even recreational areas. This is one of the major benefits of obtaining Lay-Out plans;-to ensure that areas are properly designed towards optimal functionality, safety and aesthetics.

A building without a drainage channel will only create a nuisance to the immediate environment, or even lead to the destruction of available facilities like roads and walk paths. Individuals ought to see themselves as partners in progress with the Government, treating government property within their communities with the utmost respect while calling attention to the need for repairs/intervention before such properties break down totally.

The last myth to be addressed is the belief that if other buildings skirt requirements, one’s construction can too. However, wrongdoing by others doesn’t justify non-compliance. These developments might have acquired “condonation,” attempting to rectify issues with penal fees. Yet, government acknowledgement doesn’t ensure safety or eligibility for compensation in events like road expansions. Dismissing this myth is crucial as adherence to regulations safeguards against risks and future public facility expansions, ensuring both safety and potential compensation eligibility.

Quality buildings are vital for well-being, offering sustainability and functionality. Regulations governing construction aim to protect lives and property. Violating rules on airspaces, setbacks, water channels, floodplains, or using substandard materials impacts individuals before governments. The National Orientation Agency’s campaign emphasised individual responsibility, stating, “Building right begins with you.” Recognising the importance of adhering to laws ensures not just personal well-being but contributes to creating a safe and resilient built environment for all.

Taiwo is the Information/Press Officer Of the Ministry Of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Block C, State Secretariat, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.