Building Collapse In Schools Nigeria; Causes, Effects And Solutions

Project and Seminar Material for Building Technology BT

Building Collapse In Schools Nigeria; Causes, Effects And Solutions


The factors affecting building collapse in Lagos have been a major concern in Nigeria as it threatens human lives and properties in the state because of its occurrence at close intervals. People erect buildings without considering some factors and codes which are necessary to put in place before embarking on any development and these calls for a reason to emphasize on the remedies to put an end to this disaster. This paper has posited that various factors are responsible for the incessant causes of building collapse in Lagos state, include the use of substandard materials, coupled with the activities of quacks which have inexorably contributed to the incidence of building collapse. In an attempt to find lasting solution to the causes and effects of building collapse in Lagos state, this paper examines types of collapse, as posited by different authors; some of the major causes of building collapse include: bad design, fire, lack of proper supervision, faulty construction and alteration of approved drawings etc. as well as the effects and problems caused by building collapse. Finally, useful suggestions were proffered as corrective measures, also far reaching recommendations were made.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Since independence, the Nigeria government has desperately continued to make concerted effort in the area of quantitative (but not qualitative) supply of mass housing through huge budgetary and policy provisions but, surprisingly, the rate at which existing ones are collapsing calls for an urgent attention. The site of building collapse scattered across the length and breadth of Nigeria is quite alarming that it is unimaginable what effects it will have on the building industry and Nigeria economy as a whole. One could imagine what edifices these buildings would have been if only they were constructed accordingly.

It has been reported that Nigeria, especially Lagos State has become the “world’s junk-yard” of collapsed buildings worth billions of naira (Famoroti, 2005). It is quite unimaginable that a county blessed with so great potentials in its construction industry can experience such magnitude of building collapse Fadamiro in 2002 defined building as “an enclosure for spaces designed for specific use, meant to control local climate, distribute services and evacuate waste”. Buildings can be defined as structural entities capable of securing self by transmitting weights to the ground. More so, buildings are defined “as structures for human activities, which must be safe for the occupants”(Odulami, 2002). However, these same buildings have been posing treats and dangers to people either during or after construction as a result of its collapse.

Collapse as a whole occurs when part or whole body of a structure fails and suddenly gives way, the structure, as a result of this failure, could not meet the purpose for which it was meant for. Building collapse is an extreme case of building failure. It means the super-structure crashes down totally or partially (Arilesere, 2002). Building failure occurs when there is a defect in one or more elements of the building caused by inability of the material making up the components of such building elements to perform its original function effectively, which may finally lead to building collapse. Buildings are meant to provide conveniences and shelter to the people, but the same building has been a danger trap to the same people.

Building is expected to meet certain basic requirements such as buildability, design performance, cost effectiveness, quality, safety and timely completion (Olusola, Atta & Ayangade, 2002). Generally, buildings are expected to be elegant and functional but many projects are constructed that do not meet any of these basic requirements. The recurring incidence of building collapse, some of which claimed innocent lives is a consequence of this. Many studies has been carried out and various workshops organized in major cities of the country by various bodies, government agencies and institution in order to look into causes of the incidence of building collapse in Nigeria, but none has been able to come out with how each of the determined factors directly lead to building collapse in the country.

There are many factors that cause building collapse in Nigeria and they are structural design and quality management according to Olusola (2002).The quality management entails material variability, testing variability, judgment factor, contractors’ variability, poorly skilled workmen and unprofessional conduct. The study aimed at examining the cases of residential building collapse in Nigeria with a view of identifying the causes, effect and solution.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Building collapse is a defect or imperfection, deficiency or fault in a building element or component. It may also be as a result of omission of performance. The degree of building collapse can therefore be related to the extent or degree of deviation of a building from the “as – built” state which is in most cases represent the acceptable standard within the neighborhood, locality, state or country. (Ikpo, 1998).

However, building collapse can simply be defined as a total or partial/progressive failure of one or more components of a building leading to the inability of the building to perform its principal function of comfort, satisfaction, safety and stability. The incessant buildings collapse in Nigeria has become a great concern to all the stakeholders – the professionals in building industry, government, private developers, clients and users, as well as the neighborhood residents. Fall out of the researcher’s concern about the increasing incidents of collapse building nation-wide form the basis for this study to find out the major causes, effects and probable remedial measures to collapse of buildings in Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives of this study:

  1. To examine the causes of building collapse in Nigeria.
  2. To identify the effects of building collapse in Nigeria.
  3. To identify the remedial measures or approaches to building collapse in Nigeria

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What are the causes of building collapse in Nigeria?
  2. What are the effects of building collapse in Nigeria?
  3. What are the remedial measures or approaches to building collapse in Nigeria?

1.6 Significance of the Study

The following are the significance of this study:

The outcome of this study will educate the general public and the government of the day on the causes, effect and solutions to the cases 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

1.7 Scope / Limitations of the Study

This study on residential building collapse in Nigeria with careful examination of the causes and the effects with a view of finding a lasting solution to the issue of incessant building collapse in Nigeria.

Limitation of Study
Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

Chapter Five

Conclusions and Recommendation

5.1 Recommendations

Haven done justice to the issues surrounding the incidence of building collapse in Lagos state, the following were recommended;

  1. In order not to put the square peg in the round hole, the building professionals should equip themselves with a detailed geographical and climatic data of their site of interest for a robust consideration for environmental factors especially, the geographical configuration i.e. soil, topography, hydrology, geology etc. and other climatic data of such site.
  2. The developers should not be in a hurry and also keep enough funds for development and deal directly with professionals with good track records and credibility instead of quacks.
  3. Adequate and proper test should be carried out for property that have reached old age and if defects were numerous, occupants should be advised in their best interest to vacate the building premises.
  4. Building professionals should ensure to carryout proper and efficient supervision of works on site as well as thorough inspection of materials to be used for the construction from sub-structure to superstructure.
  5. The government and professional team involve in building construction should continually enlighten each other on how to embrace good and quality professional practices as well as enlightening the general public from time to time on the best professional to approach whenever the decision to go into development is made. Also, to warn them that if the right channel is not followed the end result could be disastrous.
  6. The professionals such as the Architects, Builders, Engineers, Town Planners, Estate Surveyors and Valuers as Project Manager, Quantity Surveyors, Estimators need to come together periodically to discuss the problems facing the industry and suggest way forward.
  7. To save Nigeria from further agony and trauma, building approval should be in phases, design and site of the building should be approved by the concerned ministry and the government agencies should take the task very serious without bribe collection from client
  8. Government should enact a Law that will aim to curbing the use of sub-standard materials and making sure that high quality material prices are subsidised so that all income level can afford it. Hence, if all these recommendations can be taken seriously, it would provide a lasting situation to the menace of collapsed building and the psychological traumas it causes on its victims.
  9. The issuance of Certificate of Commencement of construction work should be in place, issuance for stages of construction works base on application by builders in charge on site. Government should also apply strict development control measures to avert any incidence of building collapse.
  10. Government should ensure that before any work commence on site, the materials to be used must be stamped by various professionals working on the site.
  11. The menace of building collapse is one that requires all stakeholders’ urgent attention. To this end, both government and private individuals make conscientious efforts to make sure that only the approved plans are strictly followed.
  12. Government officials in the Housing and Environmental Ministries must constantly inspect construction sites to ensure that only the approved plan are followed without any compromise.
  13. Proper supervision and monitoring team should periodically inspect building materials used for construction. This will ensure sub-standard goods are not used for construction.
  14. Another way through which this problem can be solved is by engaging the services of a qualified professionals such as; builder, civil engineer and the Estate Surveyor and Valuer for construction and proper supervision of the project.
  15. The building professionals should enlighten the populace of the importance of their profession and the need for ordinary man to contact a certified builder for a new development. Also, government institutions in charge of buildings and development should ensure that the building codes are strictly adhere to, especially for a new development.
  16. Foundation of building should be taken into consideration before putting load on it i.e. this would determine the number of floors. Approved plan of the building should be strictly adhered to. Avoid using building that is meant for Residential use as Commercial. As we understand that Residential building cannot withstand intensive use and human traffic.

5.2 Conclusion

Building development in all its ramification is more than shelter. It entails processes evolve in stages. The stages involved include; the planning, designing, costing, and execution of the project by professional in accordance with the legal provision, bye-laws, standards and specifications.

The aim of every developer is to develop properties and enjoy the investment whether through personal use or by generating income from it, and not to claim the lives of loved ones and properties. This paper has shown that building collapse have very high effect on human lives and property and as a result of personal greed of many developers, corrupt government agencies on site and professionals who are contractors and project managers in the building industry are adding more to the problems. Most property developers patronise quacks due to lack of funds for development and are desperate to have shelter; the government agencies collect bribe and are unable to do the thorough supervision of plan approval and project, the contractors and project managers failed to use quality materials for building projects.

These are becoming the habits in Lagos. People loses their lives and properties very often in various crannies of Lagos and Nigeria at large due to some peoples’ negligence, corruption and greediness. The incidents of building collapse therefore calls for the sites works and also to investigate the quality of materials, craftsmen and the nature of contractors involve in the construction on sites. This will justify the need to carryout research work on building collapse in Lagos with a view of examining its design and construction problem.

Therefore, recommendations highlighted above should be taken with serious attention, as it would provide a lasting solution to the problems of design and construction of building which may results to building collapse in Lagos and Nigeria at large.

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