1.1 Background of Study
The place and priority of buildings to man’s existence and survival as he lives and carries out his activities within them is important. Despite this fact, maintenance of the existing housing stock in habitable condition still remains a great problem to be solved in Nigeria among other countries in the World, (Olagunju, 2011). Buildings, either as temporary, permanent or monumental structures needs to be properly planned, designed, constructed and maintained to obtain the desired satisfaction, comfort and safety. The desired satisfaction, comfort and safety tend to be threatened when the building failed to perform any of its principal functions of satisfaction, safety and stability. Building failure may be as a result of a total or partial failure of one or more components of a building structure, though a common phenomenon all over the world is more rampant and devastating in the developing countries. The Rana Plaza tragedy that occured on 24 April, 2013 where an eight-story garment factory collapsed in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh will quickly come to mind. The building’s fall which killed nearly1, 200 people and injured thousands of others was not caused by an earthquake or a terrorist attack, but rather by poor construction and a lack of oversight.
The frequent rate of building collapse in Nigeria in the past few years and recently had become very worrisome mostly in Lagos state, this have led to the lost of many lives and properties. A visit to the collapsed scenes were as revealing as they were pathetic and one could not but wonder why such contraption could have been allowed to stand or to what extent people can go to cut corners at the expense of respect for safety and respect for lives. Unfortunately, there are still a number of buildings of similar circumstances dotting the skyline of many cities in Nigeria. That building collapse incidence are still regularly occurring despite increasing diffusion of engineering knowledge over the years calls for some re-examination of development in building production and control process (Dimuna, 2010). Development and construction of property is very necessary to every individual in life, as such, many individuals involve themselves in construction of property for either personal uses or for investment purposes. In Lagos State, every investor will like to acquire a property due to the rapid economic development and nature of investment, while some are of prestige. No investor or property owner will be happy to see his/her building collapse. Therefore, the need to follow the required due process before embarking on development of property is important.
Building collapse does occur as a result of greed, incompetence and corruption on the part of the contractors and developers in building industry. The regulating authorities and concerned professional bodies need collaboration to ensure adherence to building regulations in Lagos State (Chika, 2008). The exponential population growth and the consequent productive activities needed to sustain mankind forces the demand to be more pressing. The quest to meet up with this demand has led to different approaches of realizing the housing and infrastructural development some genuine and some fake, which lead to structures of different quality. When the quality of these structures fall below certain standards, structural failures are inevitable. In recent years, a lot of failures are being experienced among the existing structures and those under construction. The failure rate has become as rampant that we have virtually lost count of the number of these disasters. In a normal set up, failures are not expected within the projected lifespan of structures. But due to the imperfections in the actions of human beings and the existence of so many other external factors that influence the safety of structures, failures do occur (Ede, 2010). Generally, structures do fail over time as a result of human factors such as negligence, design flaws, ageing, material fatigue, extreme operational and environmental conditions, accidents, terrorist attacks and natural hazards. But the causes of building collapse in Nigeria can be traced to abnormal factors not obtainable in many other nations.
The Lagos State Government identified the principal causes of collapse within the Lagos areas as: deficient foundations, inadequate steel reinforcement, poor materials and workmanship and inexperience professionals, hasty construction, no soil test, greed, poor supervision and non-adherence to the building codes. As these negative facts occur in the Nigerian built environment, new emergencies continue to emerge in the world. Today, the world is facing a lot of other more serious man-made and natural crises than the type being faced in the Nigerian built environments. One of the principal challenges confronting the world today is the global climate change caused by the depletion of ozone layer. Our coexistence with this phenomenon is a reality as virtually most of the world crises and emergencies are linked to that. Our ecosystem is not adapting naturally to the stresses caused by excessive population growth and the consequent increase in human activities (Rudrappan, 2010).
Research was carried out by (Bamidele, 2011) and (Fadamiro, 2009) on the causes of building collapse in Nigeria and identified the following five (5) major causes: natural phenomenon, design error, procedural error, sub-standard material, poor workmanship, the lack of maintenance, the abuse of use of building.
Thus, this study strive towards examining residential building collapse in Lagos metropolis with a view of identifying the causes, effects and proffer solutions.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
In the building industry today especially in Lagos, building collapse has been one of the major problem faced by both the private and public developers, whether for personal use and for investment purposes. Lagos metropolis is a city where building collapse occur frequently and has the highest number of building collapse incidents that claimed about 64 lives between 1982-1996 (Dimuna, 2010).
In the past fourty six (46) years (1974-2019), Lagos State has recorded quite a number of cases of building collapse in areas such as Ebute-Metta, Lagos-Island, Mushin, Oshodi, Maryland, Ojuelegba, Ikeja, Agege, Idumota, Ketu, Central Lagos, and Surulere. This has posed a very serious challenge to those in the building industry, the government and the individuals who are into property development in
Lagos State and the country at large.
The worrisome development and incidents throw the question that, what might be the cause(s) of building collapse in the state? Several factors have been associated with this, some of which are negligence, greed, deficient foundations, inadequate or faulty steel reinforcement, hasty construction, no soil test, poor supervision and non-adherence to the building codes (Ede, 2010). All these aforementioned problems and question revolves around the ultimate question that; when will developers in Nigeria begin to follow the appropriate steps and processes before embarking on development and when will the building regulation be standardize by government? If all these are put in place, the problems of building collapse would be reduced to the barest minimum.
1.3 Reasearch Aim and Objectives
The aim of this research is to evaluate the cause and impact of incessant residential building collapse in Lagos metropolis in order to proffer solutions and approaches for a safer built environment in Lagos metropolis.
The objectives of this study are to:
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Justification of the Study
It is with great hope and expectation that this study will provide more information for the following:
The results of this study will educate the general public on the causes and effect of building collapse on properties in Lagos State with a view of reducing the issues of building collapse in Nigeria.
The outcome of this study will guide the Government and policy makers on the ways to make and implement policies that will reduce the rate of building collapse in Nigeria.
This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
The outcome of this study can be of considerable value in promoting sound methods to enhance the reduction of building collapse on the negative effects of lives and properties.
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