1.1 Background of Study
Building collapse, though a common phenomenon all over the world is more rampant and devastating in the developing countries. The incidence of building failures and collapses has become major issues of concern in the development of this nation as the frequencies of their occurrence and the magnitude of the losses in terms of lives and properties are now becoming very alarming. In fact, building collapse has now become a familiar occurrence, even to layman on the street in Nigeria.
Failure in building can be described as the inability of the building components not being adequate to perform what are normally expected or required of those components. On the other hand, when part or whole structure has failed and suddenly gave way in a way that as a result of this failure, the building could not meet the purpose for which it was intended, the building has collapsed. Failures in building can occur during different stages of construction process itself, as well as after. In Nigeria, the common causes of building collapse have been traced to bad design, faulty construction, use of low quality materials, hasty construction, foundation failure, lack of proper supervision, ineffective enforcement of building codes by the relevant Town Planning Authorities, lack of proper maintenance etc. (Folagbade, 2001 and Badejo, 2009)
Cases of building collapse are not restricted by climatology or level of urbanization as they cut across cultural and ethnical barriers. Many cases of building collapse have been reported in Nigeria. For instance, Folagbade (2001) and Chinwokwo (2000) enumerated forty- two (42) cases of building collapse as occurring between 1980 and 1999 in Nigeria while Makinde ( 2007) listed fifty-four (54) cases occurring between January 2000 and June 2007 alone. Building collapse has also been observed to cut across the different categories of building – private, corporate or public. Folagbade (2001) showed that of the twenty-five (25) reported cases of building collapse between 1980 and 1999 in Lagos State, private (76%), corporate (12%) and government or public buildings (12%) accounted for these proportions. Also, building collapse is no respecter of size of the structure. Amusan (1991) reported that Barnawa flat disaster in 1977 was a three-storey building, a public building (Secondary School) which collapsed in March 1988 at Ibadan was two-storey building, the collapsed show-room for cars in Lagos in 1987 was just a storey building while that of the Primary School in IIoabuchi, River State in July 1991 was a bungalow building. Folagbade (2001) also reports that the Abuja building which collapsed in March, 1993 and the one at Ojuelegba in 1999 were both multi-storey buildings. The memory of the incidents of two separate building collapses that occurred at Ebute-Meta area of Lagos State and Kano State which killed several people in 2007 still lingers on. Also reported was the fence of a Nursery and Primary School that collapsed at Olomi area, Ibadan, in March, 2008, thereby killing thirteen (13) pupils of the School. The death of over 50 students of Saque Comprehensive College, Port Harcourt in1990 was as a result of the owner attempting to construct additional floors on structurally unsafe walling. Similar trends of conversion were observed in a collapsed Mosque building in Mushin area, Lagos in 2001 and multi-storey commercial/residential building in Ebute-Meta also in Lagos state in which several people were killed. Some of the cases of building collapse are also as a result of ignorance on the part of developers and unauthorized conversion of buildings. Amusan (1991) asserts that the 1988 building collapse at Mushin, Lagos occurred when an attempt was made to raise the existing building by another floor. Also, operational conversion caused the collapsed school building at Port Harcourt.
As posited by Adebayo (2000), the skill, experience and personal ability of the workmen involved in the building construction is of utmost importance in creating value. However, this assertion can only be relied upon in a situation where the developers/contractors are capable and willing to appreciate quality and be ready to pay a commensurable reward in this regard. Ward (1979) classifies the contracting firms into three categories namely large sized, medium sized and small sized firms. He opined further that while small sized firms deal mainly with minor works, repair and maintenance of buildings in a particular locality, the large sized firms on the other hand, deal with a wide range and size of activities on a national or even global basis. Ademoroti (1991) identifies three types of Acts in the country as: Public Health Act; The Town and Country Planning Acts; and the Building Regulation Act. According to the author, the public Health Act deals with all aspects of health sanitation and environment as relating to the inhabitants of buildings. The Town and Country Planning Act deals with the general location and planning in the town and country aspect such as spatial distribution of buildings, highways/roads, schools, hospitals, sewage and drainage systems as well as other physical infrastructures. The Building Regulation Act represents laws that relate specifically to the control of the construction of buildings. It was further stressed that an existing regulation is meaningless without carrying with it a mechanism to ensure compliance because the average citizen does not obey a law that is not enforced. To this end, five types of building regulatory enforcement inspectors are identified. They are: Safety or Building Inspectors who are employees of local government; specification inspectors who are construction professionals engaged by the owner of a building under construction to ensure compliance with his qualitative desires and the Federal Government inspectors who enforce federal regulation on federal issues such as health, energy, environmental protection etc. on federal government funded list-of-project-and-materials/">projects. Others include Public works inspectors who are concerned with conformity with contracts and specification documents as well as specialist inspectors who are to inspect and certify certain types of critical installations such as high-strength concrete, structural welding; highly stressed masonry etc. Table1 illustrates some of the reported cases of building collapse in Nigeria from1974 to 2010.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defined informal sector as a relaxed and friendly sector, not following strict rules of how to behave or do. In the same vein, Uwakweh (2000) describes the informal sector as “that segment of firms or individuals that engage in construction or other activities without obtaining the necessary designs, planning and construction documents”. In other words, they always evade the formal process of obtaining permits and approvals for their construction and related activities. According to Uwakwah (2000), there are more informal construction programmes in the rural areas than in the cities but informal construction also flourishing in the urban areas because of the illegal structures that exist on the outskirts of the urban areas. The informal sector rarely attracts high calibre workers who prefer to work for the larger contractors and the foreign firms.
While it is certain that buildings are prone to deterioration and may not be possible to generally avert failure, it is also expedient that the rate of collapse and the associated loss should be greatly reduced. Based on the results obtained by Folagbade (2001), i.e. 76% of the reported collapsed buildings in Lagos state from 1980 to 1999 were private buildings, and then the activities of the informal sector need to be investigated. This paper therefore takes a critical look at the incessant cases building collapse in Nigeria by identifying the likely causes and also investigates the activities of the informal sector in this context. The main objectives are to identify the likely causes of building collapse in Nigeria and to also investigate the contributory role of the informal sector to this incidence.
More Research Project Topics Materials in the Department
- SOURCE OF FINANCE IN A MANUFACTURING COMPANY
- EFFECTS OF COMPUTERIZATION ON SERVICE DELIVERY OF DEPOSIT MONEY BANKS
- IMPACT OF BANK RECAPITILIZATION ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES IN NIGERIA
- VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS BY THE MILITARY REGIME
- ASSESSMENT OF THE 2014 EKITI GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION
- FEDERAL CHARACTER PRINCIPLE AND NATIONAL INTEGRATION
- NIGERIA JUDICIAL SYSTEM, PROBLEM AND THE WAY OUT