Buildings, like humans, if not properly maintained, tend to show signs of dilapidation, and might eventually cave in, leading to loss of lives and properties. With the recent incessant collapse of structures in Lagos, Nigeria, it is imperative to look at ways to avoid a building collapse in the nearest future. Here are some recommendations
1. Resident Civil Engineers should be stationed at every Construction Site for proper monitoring:
Developers should ensure that only qualified personnel are hired for every building construction project. Moreover, as recommended by the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers (NICE) during a recent edition of Walk for Fitness initiative, tagged Walk for Stability of Structures, which held last December, there is a need for a resident Civil Engineer at every construction site for proper monitoring of the entire process. This will curb the use of substandard products, as well as ensure that standards are strictly adhered to, thereby eliminating or reducing the likelihood of a building collapse in the future.
2. Buildings should not be modified without following the right process:
With the recent economic revolution in developing countries, and the emergence of the interior design industry, It is common to alter the original look and function of existing buildings to fulfil new functions, or sometimes, just for aesthetics. However, it must be ensured that only qualified personnel are employed for the alterations, while every due process is strictly adhered to in order to forestall future dilapidation and collapse.
3. Government and the public should check incompatible land uses:
It must be ensured that buildings are made to fulfil their original functions, for instance, are residential buildings used for commercial purposes? Are there schools or hospitals built next to industries, or residential buildings used as church buildings? etc. The man-traffic guide should also be strictly adhered to, as drastic traffic increase can lead to overload, air circulation problems, which can eventually lead to building collapse.
4. Proper Maintenance Culture must be adopted:
Good maintenance is critical, even for well constructed structures, as any little default might trigger a progressive collapse. Corrective maintenance involves activities performed to identify, detect and rectify a fault so that the failed structure or building element can be restored to its normal state. This type of maintenance is carried out in other to restore the structure to its original state. Preventive maintenance, on the other hand, is performed to prevent unexpected collapse. Condition-based maintenance is the type of maintenance carried out as the need arises.
5. Compliance with local Statutory Regulations:
There’s need for a building code in every community, set for the health, safety and quality of buildings and structures that grace the landscape. These codes should be passed into law and enforced in locations
where they are not in existence, at local government, state and federal levels.
Developers should also ensure compliance with building regulations and desist from cutting corners, as this only compromises on quality.
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