‘Wrong use of concrete, major cause of building collapse’

Building-collapseEXPERTS in the construction sector have re-emphasised the need for builders to adhere to standards so as to reduce cases of building collapse in the country.

This is part of the aim of this year’s African Construction Expo organised by Totally Concrete, West Africa. The three-day conference, which commenced yesterday at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, was an avenue for construction experts to discuss the challenges of the industry in Nigeria, and Africa at large, as well as proffer solutions to them.

Speaking with The Guardian, the Chief Executive Officer of Ove Arup and Partners, Mr. Kunle Adebajo, explained that the confab is for stakeholders in the construction sector in the sub region, to learn about new technologies and innovations in the industry.

Identifying some major challenges confronting the sector in Nigeria, he noted that, there is a “ knowledge gap” in the industry, because the average people lack knowledge on the use of cement and concrete appropriately. “Concrete is a complex material, because it is made from cement and other materials, but the way it is used and the proportion makes all the difference,” he added.

According to the Ove Arup boss, “Nigeria needs to have a proper housing system and a committee to ensure infrastructure and housing is properly placed.

The only way to do this is for appropriate policies to be put in place by government.” Adebajo further stated that, people in this part of the world have to acquire all the funds needed for building, unlike in the western world where there are mortgages and schemes that allow people to stretch the cost over 25 years period. “The need to strengthen the mortgage system in the country is key, for this will make construction more affordable.”

The Vice Chairman, Council of Registered Builders in Nigeria (CORBON), Prof. Martins Dada, also pointed out that most users of cement do not know the different grades of the product, and its application to concrete for different construction projects. “The high price of cement in the country, has made people to want to cut cost, and in doing so, clients will not be favoured, because at the long run, much expenses can be incurred.”

Adebajo appealed to the general public to always seek professional consultations of trained structural engineers in other not to cut corners, “so we do not end up killing people or putting up defective structures that will be corrected with much expenses.”

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