The Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria (ACEN), a body of 300 registered independent private engineering consultancy firms and voice of the profession in Nigeria is deeply concerned about the incessant incidents of building collapse in the Nation.
The most recent incident at a shopping mall in Itoku, Abeokuta is an indication that no lesson has been learnt from previous incidents. The loss in terms of human and material resources to our nation is monumental and immeasurable.
ACEN as a responsible stakeholder whose members are widely experienced in project design; specification; testing and commissioning; and supervision amongst many others are utterly embarrassed by the level of project failure at all levels within the country. The non adherence to procedures and standards has reached an alarming stage and now is the time to set up strong institutional structures to stem the tide of unprofessional practices in the construction industry.
The Association frowns at the use of building professionals whose qualifications and experience are unverifiable and lack conformity to Nigerian standards and procedures. We also reject the practice of covering up the wrong deeds of errors made by such unverifiable professionals through the clearing of project sites before a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding project failures are established.
ACEN looks forward to the adoption of a holistic approach by governments at all levels with the active participation of COREN, NSE, ACEN and recommends that.
On the short Term:
1. Government approving authorities at all levels should be numerically and professionally staffed in the required quantum to cater for all infrastructural developments.
2. Government approving authorities should outsource such tasks that are necessary to professional bodies appointed duly by COREN to eradicate delays in the approval processes.
3. Government at all levels should perform an audit of all abandoned, on-going and planned infrastructural developments in concert with building professionals.
4. Government at all levels should set up a Committee to dispose of all pending approvals in concert with the appropriate professional bodies.
On the Long Term:
5. Infrastructure supervisory agencies under the Office of an Engineering General should be formed at National and State levels of government to endorse all plans of infrastructural projects within Nigeria.
6. All incidents of non adherence to approved building plans and building collapse should be reported to the Engineering General who will immediately set up an investigating panel to ascertain the cause of the collapse and anyone found culpable shall be dealt with under the law.
The Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria is of the opinion that there is an urgent need to streamline efforts towards eradicating the menace of building collapses and failure of projects in the Nation through a concerted effort by all professionals and concerned citizens of Nigeria.
Engr. S. Adamu