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300 distressed buildings to undergo Lagos Govt. compulsory structural test

By Idowu Abdullahi,

No fewer than 300 buildings and property marked as suspected distressed would be undergoing compulsory structural and integrity test in Lagos State to eliminate risks and prevent avoidable loss of lives and property.

The move was said to be part of the state’s government efforts toward finding lasting and sustainable solutions to incessant building collapse in the state.

As stated, the marked property is in line with government adopted strategies to sustain its recorded reduction in cases of building collapse and also build on its achievement.

The state’s Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, said that the markings was to achieve the government’s vision of zero tolerance for building collapse.

Speaking at the LASBCA Public Engagement and Enlightenment programme themed ‘Prevention of Building Control – A Collective Responsibility’ held on Tuesday at Ostra Hall and Event Center, CBD Alausa Ikeja, Salako noted that all hands are on deck to prevent loss of lives and property.

He said that since Lagos with her about 2.5m population was facing challenges of rapid urbanization, environmental degradation and housing congestion, there was need to ensure better physical environment for sustainable development.

According to him, sustainable physical development requires the participation of every Lagosian whose cooperation is needed for successful implementation of existing laws and regulations.

“We are leaving no stone unturned toward ensuring that we put regulations in place that will put an end to building collapse. We are committed as government to sustain the tempo of ‘build right and build well’ slogan in truth and in deed as encapsulated in the T.H.E.M.E agenda of the state government.

“We are aware that the task ahead is very challenging, but I promise you that it is no longer going to be business as usual, we would go the extra mile in ensuring that people build right in conformity with laws, regulations and codes governing the building control agency,” the commissioner said.

Giving the breakdown, the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Engr. Abiola Kosegbe, said that the buildings marked as suspected distressed were based on visual inspection carried out by the agency.

Speaking at the sideline of the programme, Kosegbe noted that the aim was to reduce menace of lives and properties lost to building collapse in the state.

She added that the owners of the property have been notified to engage certified engineers and ensure necessary assessments are carried out on their buildings, adding that the marks was not forfeiture notifications as being interpreted by some residents.

The LASBCA boss clarified that contrary to differing opinions, the marks on suspected distressed buildings was to ensure the owners do the right thing and follow necessary procedures to augment government’s efforts in saving lives and property of Lagosians.

“Right now we have a list of almost 300 suspected distressed buildings as I can’t categorically call it distressed. The figure I gave as marked buildings and property was based on our own visual inspection and for those marked properties, we are in the process to ensure they carry out necessary test and get engineers to do assessments and all that.

“So, visual inspection does not connotes that the property are distressed but we would mark it to make sure the property owners get the right message and propel them into doing the right thing before eventuality and to also inform the general public that the state government have marked the building and that they should also be watching the building and that is why we call it collective responsibility.

“More so, we want the tenants of properties that are marked to realize that the state government is trying to protect their lives and properties. We don’t want issues where a building will collapse and occupants of the building suffer loses, including death. If there is a building that has been marked, lets ensure that the right scientific assessment are done on such buildings and property to prevent the collapse in first instance,” Kosegbe said.

Furthermore, she indicated that efforts are being geared towards discouraging haphazard and illegal building development by removing them at infancy and encourage safe and structurally stable construction.

According to her, we continue to put vigor in our post construction audit of existing structures in order to ensure quick response to the structural stability and fitness for use of existing buildings.

“This initiative is primarily to ensure that buildings are safe and habitable in order to avert the spate of collapse of structures and provide a much needed health check on all buildings within the state. We realize that our work load will be reduced if Lagosians and stakeholders are aware and imbibe the culture of buildings according to laws and, rules and regulations,” she said.

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