• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Building collapse incidence seen increasing as input materials prices surge

Building collapse incidence seen increasing as input materials prices surge

Building industry experts say there is likelihood of increase in building collapse incidence as prices of building materials, especially cement and iron rods, continue to rise uncontrollably.

The experts who spoke at this year’s edition of International Construction, Building Materials and Technology Expo, organised by Elan Exhibition West Africa with the theme, ‘Building the Sustainable Future: Empowering Nigeria’s Construction Industry,’ noted that prices have risen by over 50 percent.

“In this circumstance of skyrocketing input prices, developers may want to consider cheaper means of providing homes and in the process may compromise standards,” Jude Chime, CEO, Elan Exhibition West Africa, explained.

Chime stressed the need for the use of building technology that would make the building and construction industry cheaper and adhere to standards.

“This is why there is a need for research and development. Building a sustainable future and empowering the construction industry is crucial for economic growth and the naira needs to be stabilised to mitigate further building collapse,” he said.

Continuing, he recalled, “I have always advocated that government should stabilise the naira. If you are trying to convince an investor to come to Nigeria, a critical factor to be examined is the stability of the naira. If the currency is unstable, on what basis is the investor going to plan and make a forecast for business growth? If an investor is not able to do a forecast for, at least five years, it becomes challenging to be a part of the business community.”

As part of solution to this problem, Kunle Adebajo, CEO of Ove Arup & Partners, called for the enactment and enforcement of stringent building codes for the construction of safe and fit -for-purpose buildings.

Adebajo hoped this would also promote the use of sustainable alternatives ,where applicable, as the industry must drive home the importance of these codes.He stated that the National Building Code is long overdue for a review and updating.

“The ideal approach would involve a comprehensive revamping exercise, enabling state and local development control authorities to drive sustainable development more effectively. However, the reality of building practices within the country often shows a disregard for these existing codes.

Policies can also mandate the use of high-quality, locally sourced materials, which not only supports local economies, but also reduces transportation costs and environmental impact by reducing carbon emissions, he added.

He noted that government and the industry play a crucial role in shaping the regulatory framework, incentivising practices that can ensure the industry’s sustained relevance and capacity to withstand future challenges. This includes fostering green designs, sustainable building practices, certification programmes and prohibiting the use of non-environmentally friendly designs and substances.

Amaka Onyiuke, Head, Architect Department of West African Ceramics Limited, said it was important for the country to stop importing building materials produced locally, saying such practices would not support local content.

“If we keep importing from abroad, we keep supporting foreign economy to grow at the expense of our own economy. That means we will keep using foreign currency and continue destroying our products,” she noted.