Towards its commitment to improving life through standards, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is seeking collaboration with building and construction industry stakeholders and members of the public to address construction failures, especially building collapse.
The organization, which is also ready to work with other government agencies to find a solution to this problem, wants the public to report to the organization, for prompt action, cases of using substandard materials or poor construction practices.
Farouk Salim, immediate past director general/chief executive of SON, who gave these hints at a press conference he addressed recently in Lagos on ‘Instances of Building Collapse in the Country’, said that the safety and well-being of Nigerians remained a top priority for the organization.
Salim revealed that SON, in the past 10 years, had invested huge resources in building competence to carry out quality tests in the building industry nationwide, adding that the continuous provision of laboratory equipment, including mobile block testing machines had yielded positive results.
“By implementing these measures, the organisation seeks to ensure that all buildings in the country are safe, structurally sound, and built to withstand the various environmental and usage conditions they may face.
Notwithstanding the existing measures already put in place to address this issue, I must acknowledge the need to continually upgrade regulatory strategies for the construction industry in Nigeria to ensure the safety of Nigerians,” the former DG advised.
He noted that by the provisions of Section 5(2) of the SON ACT NO: 14 of 2015, all regulatory agencies or organisations dealing with matters pertaining to, or related to standards shall do so in collaboration with the SON for the purpose of uniformity of standards.
“I, therefore, invite all agencies and organizations that fall under this category in the building industry to work closely with SON toward ensuring a safe environment for all Nigerians,” he said.
He counselled that, as a nation, Nigeria must imbibe and promote voluntary compliance to standards as is done in other parts of the world, adding that authorities responsible for granting building approvals must ensure compliance with all relevant requirements, processes, and procedures.
Salim recommended that stiffer penalties should be meted out to offenders and those who are complicit in building collapse, adding, “You hardly hear of cases where the contractor who handled the contract of a collapsed building is prosecuted or punished in one way or another.”
He disclosed that, as part of preventive measures, SON had regularly carried out nationwide campaigns to educate the public on the dangers of using substandard materials, the importance of adhering to building codes, and the need for regular inspections and maintenance of buildings.
The organization, according to him, had also done stakeholder-sensitisations for block moulders and cement-related products such as concrete poles, kerbs, concrete rings, etc during which artisans were engaged on the need to constantly update their knowledge and hone their skills.
“The Organisation’s state offices across the country also carry out quarterly monitoring of building materials sales outlets such as cement, roofing sheets, nails, reinforcement bars, paints, and aluminium roofing sheets.
Meetings are also regularly held with manufacturers from different sections of the building industry in the country, educating them on the importance of compliance with standards,” he said.