SON seeks sustainable solution to construction, building industry challenges

DG of SON, Osita Anthony Aboloma

Expressing concerns over the spate of building collapse and failure of many construction projects, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has set up an adhoc committee made up of every stakeholder involved in a construction process to address the menace.
Indeed, the standards body noted that while the construction industry remains dynamic, solutions being proffered need to take into consideration, innovations and environmental concerns in the built sector.  
The Director-General, SON, Osita Aboloma, during the inauguration of the standardisation and quality assurance technical committee for the construction industry, said the committee was set up to fine-tune the standards and international best practices in building and civil works to address building collapse in Nigeria.

In his words, “The committee is going to be a kind of standing committee to be abreast with the frequent collapse in public and civil works complaints in this area of our society. It is going to be a combination of all stakeholders from the electrical department, civil, mechanical and other relevant agencies of government where they will sit down to address the issue of building collapse in the country. This committee will find solutions as it relates to standardisation to save the lives and property of Nigerians.”
He however noted that there is misinterpretation of roles of some professionals in the management of construction projects in Nigeria that had resulted in design and structural failures and services, adding that over designing, inappropriate specifications, and poor workmanship and unqualified persons may also have contributed to the breaking up and reconstruction of building and civil works.
“Most recently, an increase in the frequency of the collapse of public and private buildings resulting in the loss of lives and property,” he said.
He said to prevent the reoccurrence, it is expected that professionals in the building and construction industry play a key role in ensuring that the public interest is best served during project design and construction.
Also, the Chairman of the committee, Joseph Ojigure, from the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), said the main assignment of the committee is to look at existing standards in the industry and find way to mitigate the incessant building collapse in the nation.

According to him, the biggest issue bothering around building collapse is the non professionals involved the building industry and the regulatory laws governing buildings and other infrastructural developments in Nigeria.

“The whole of essence of this committee and standardisation is not just issue of producing a book, but enforcement and monitoring of players in the industry. We need standards to be able to enforce. Regulation and the enabling environment are very important and this is the whole essence of this committee to enforce the law we have on ground and give everybody the opportunity and the instrument to address the address gaps we have in the industry,” he said.
The Head of Department, Standards Development, SON, Chinyere Egwuonwu, said the adhoc committee will handle the issue of building collapse, identify the causes, and at the end of the day find a sustainable solution that will curb future collapses in the country.
“This committee has a four year working tenure and we believe in the next four years, this committee will able to come out with sustainable solutions to addressing building collapse in Nigeria,” he added.

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Osita AbolomaSON
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