Architects in Lagos have decried the frequent building collapse incidents in Nigerian cities, especially in Lagos, which has recorded the highest number and frequency of these incidents in the last decade.
The architects under the aegis of Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Lagos Chapter, are also worried that the story has now shifted from run-down or remote locations such as Ajengunle, Ebute Meta or Isale Eko to highbrow neighbourhoods including Ikoyi and Banana Island.
David Majekodunmi, chairman of the branch, who made these observations at a press conference he addressed along with other Exco members in preparation for the Lagos Architect Forum (LAF) to be held next month, lamented that buildings collapse had continued to occur in spite of everything.
The chairman blamed the incidents on what he called Nigerian factor, saying, “we know what the situation is in Nigeria. As a country, we have attitudinal problem and what we see with building collapse is a case of penny wise pound foolish.”
As a response to these incidents, the architects has evolved what they call Architects Intervention Programme which, according to Biodun Fatuyi, the branch’s vice chairman, is aimed to assist the government to fight quackery in the built environment.
“The programme is also aimed to document all the building projects that are going on in Lagos and to serve as an avenue to generate revenue for government and ensure that the built environment is safe for all the people working at a project site as well as those who will eventually live in those buildings,” he explained.
The architects said they were encouraging the Lagos State government to be outsourcing the monitoring of construction sites. They noted that there were about 48,000 construction sites in Lagos, wondering if government had even 200 architects or 200 engineers dedicated to monitoring those sites.
This, they said, would help reduce the high incidence of building collapse in the state.
Speaking on this year’s forum whose theme is ‘Lagos as an Evolving Organism’, Majekodunmi said it was going to examine the Lagos culture and real estate, noting, “the world is evolving and we are talking of green architecture and intellectual property. We will gather ourselves together to talk about how to make nature and the environment sustainable and also make it flow in line with global best practice.”
Fatuyi added that this year’s edition of the forum, which is the 14th in the series, would serve as an avenue for professionals in the built environment and the public to come together to discuss Lagos as an evolving organism.
“It will look at the trends that digitalization and development have brought to the people as reflected in transportation, zoning system, human capital development among others; it will also look at how Lagos will react to these changes, especially climatic conditions,” he said.
It is expected that the forum would achieve a specific purpose which, Fatuyi said, would be sent as recommendation to the government for them to use in their policy making, adding that the forum would also create a platform for private and public sector collaboration.
Many speakers have been invited to the forum. Some of them are Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Olu of Warri, Eleguishi of Ekateland, Oniru of Iruland, president of Nigerian Institute of Quality Surveyors (NIQS), NIA president, president of American Institute of Architects, among others.