An Evaluation Of The Causes And Problems Of Building Collapse In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Selected Buildings In Ilorin Metropolis)

Project and Seminar Material for Building Technology BT

An Evaluation Of The Causes And Problems Of Building Collapse In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Selected Buildings In Ilorin Metropolis)


Collapse in building is regarded as the sudden fall in walls after pulling or breaking apart and which has indeed played a greater, but negative role in the society such as, rendering a number of people homeless, loss of lives and properties, prevent flow of income to the property owners and ultimately reducing the standard of living of the people. Thus, collapse in building is an hazardous occurrence that should be well monitored and managed so as to prevent individuals and cooperate bodies from falling a victim.

The project work will be making references to the recent instance of collapse which occurred within Ilorin metropolis, including collapse of two-storey building along Coca-cola road, off Unity road, Ilorin and also one of the hostel buildings of the Deeper Life Bible Church Camp Ground at Eyenkorin during the church’s yearly Easter retreat.

Finally, the research work will try to fish out some eminent causes and problems of this great danger and make viable and workable recommendations to curb the danger.

Table of Contents

  • Title page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgements
  • Synopsis

Chapter One

1.0 General Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the research
  • 1.3 Aim & Objectives of the study
  • 1.4 Significance of the study
  • 1.5 Scope and limitation of the study
  • 1.6 Case study area
  • 1.7 Definition of terms

Chapter Two

2.0 Theoretical Framework and Literature Review

  • 2.1 Concept of Building Collapse
  • 2.2 Causes of Building Collapse
  • 2.3 Types of Building Collapse
  • 2.4 Problems of Building Collapse
  • 2.5 The construction process
  • 2.6 The professionals in construction industry
  • 2.7 Laws & Regulation as it relates to building
  • 2.8 Review of Building collapse in Nigeria

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Data collection instrument
  • 3.3 Method of Data analysis and presentation

Chapter Four

4.0 Data Presentation & Analysis of Result

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Causes of building collapse in the study area
  • 4.3 Examining problems from building collapse
  • 4.4 Examining the effect of building collapse on the building construction industry
  • 4.5 Solution to problems of building collapse
  • 4.6 Prevention of collapse in Building

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion

  • 5.1 Summary of findings
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • Appendices
  • Reference

Chapter One

1.0 General Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Buildings are constructed primarily to meet one of the human physical needs. Aside feeding, shelter is the next paramount thing in human life in the hierarchy of human want. Building provides accommodation for everyman, his belongings, pet and other of his living and non-living goods and equipment needed for his daily living apart from meeting the need of shelter, building also provide a form of environmental satisfaction to man both mentally and psychologically.

According to Jinadu, (1996) in his book Understanding the Basis of Housing, “building is a form of shelter comprising of the main structural element such as foundation, wall, floor, door, window and the roof structure.” A building must be adequately designed and efficiently constructed in such a way that its provides expected conditions compatible and appropriate for the activities to be carried out within it on completion, and also ensure the comfort, piracy and safety of the occupant. The materials with which the building is constructed must satisfy basic functional requirement of weather resistance, thermal insulation, fire resistance, sound insulation, strength and stability, durability and resistance to wear and tear. (Awe, 2007).

It is obvious that building collapse does not suddenly happened; rather there should be symptoms preceding the occurrence of such collapse. Consequently, those with poor foundation quickly manifested with damp walls up to the second floor level. The question is, how long will the building last before they sink or collapse? Perhaps most developers and builders after the madly rushing to erect structures in some parts of the nation, without taking into cognizance the aquatic soil structure, buildings were erected on poor foundations. Today, these buildings have manifested serious structural defect. They are all sinking, cracking, collapsing or standing precariously awaiting demolition.

The efforts being made to prevent collapse of building was asserted by the Nigerian Council for Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) in conjunction with the Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), has concluded plans to check those incessant building collapse in Nigerian, rescue workers battled always to reach those still trapped in the wreckage of the collapsed building. The leader of the Red Cross team in charge of most rescued mission in every collapsed building says that the rescue effort have been severely hampered by lack of finance and adequate manpower and equipments. Adeola (2008) says many building in Nigeria were constructed with sub-standard materials and building regulation/codes were not followed.

Alao (2008), the ministry for Environment, Housing and Urban Development has charged professionals in the building industry to insist on proper application of building code in construction. She said that “Government effort was geared towards providing shelter for all Nigerians she then urged with the council to place premium on engaging proficient and well trained builders to manage all building projects.” The minister reiterated the need for the investing public to familiarize themselves with code to safe guide their building.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Unfortunately, nowadays, buildings are erected indiscriminately due to the increase in the demand for building. The unbridled show of wealth and affluence by many Nigerians is a cankerworm eating up the fabrics of our society.

Hence, it is possible for one to acquire marshy land and bribe his way through a host of officials in the planning authority. This makes it possible for the building to be erected without the due approval of the plan. Besides, monitoring and evaluation of the construction and materials used are not done. At the end, there is no official record of the building in the ministry database. The owner may not even be known, since the entire actions from the beginning to the end were corruptly carried out.

The recent collapse of building in Ilorin metropolis led us to study why these buildings are collapsing and problems associated with the collapse of such buildings.

Hence, the purpose of the research work, it is time to correct the poor development giving the frequency of these ugly disasters and the agony been caused to families and property owners

1.3 Aims and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this research is to examine the cause and problems of building collapse in Nigeria. To achieve the above, the following specific objectives were considered:

  1. To identify the problems emanating from building collapse
  2. To examine the effects of building collapse on the building construction industry
  3. To proffer solution to the identifies causes and problems

1.4 Significance of the Study

The building and other structures within an environment are subjected to a variety of operating conditions and their performance are predictable within limit and considerable margins of uncertainties are taking into account on the design process. In the developed world, building and other infrastructures are built to last long and such buildings are not limited by time.

Hence, it is possible to see building spanning between 100-120 years or more which stands as monuments depicting the history of the people. A documentary shows a building in Australia, built in the 14th Century (i.e. 800 years ago) that serves as a palace. It was existing and awesome touring around such edifices in this regards, to note that colonial building in Nigeria are not under any treat of collapse. Many buildings constructed under colonial government shared the same characteristics stability. The reason for this is simple, rules were followed in erecting such buildings, the colonial officers in charge of housing and planning ensured that there were no shortcuts in erecting standard buildings.

If developed countries could provide for greater returns in terms of lives saved, as for structures failed due to inadequate design against loads traditionally catered for and often failures are due to ignorance, lack of experience or research (Kennaway 1984).

The importance of the project work is geared to save lives and properties from indiscriminate destructions, thereby making environment inhabitable. For the purpose of this research, if justice and equity is done in the building sector, definitely, there would be an absolute eradication of building collapse in Nigeria.

1.5 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The scope of this research is focused on causes and problems of building collapse with a case study of selected areas within Ilorin metropolis.

However, this research has being limited by the following.

  1. Lack of proper and adequate records on building collapse, the causes and problems in Nigeria made it difficult to obtain as many as possible information on building collapse.
  2. Some properties owners may not want their property to be used as a point of reference, thereby hidden some current data
  3. Financial constraint constituted a serious problem in terms of visiting the study areas and doing other activities.
  4. Non-availability of sufficient time also contributes to the set back of the research work, time were shared between other responsibilities, mostly academics which post serious treat to the completion of the research.

1.6 Case Study Area

History Background of the Study Area

Kwara State of which is the capital was created on the 27th May, 1967 as one of the twelve states that replaced the former four regional structure the Northern Western, Mid Western and Eastern regions in the country.

At the time of creation, the state is comprised of the old Ilorin and Kabba provinces of the then Northern Region of Nigeria and was originally known as the west central state. For some time, only to be renamed Kwara State shortly afterwards to reflect the local name of its major river, the Niger in the Lokoja area.

In 1967, the land area of Kwara State extended from Borgu area in the North West to the eastern limit of the present Kogi State in the east. However, further state creation and boundary readjustment exercised in the country by successive military administrations since 1967 have led to considerable losses in the land area, as well as human and materials resources of Kwara State, and these in turn have had their toll on the development potentialities of the state. In 1991, five local government areas Oyi, Yagba, Okenni, Okehi and Kogi were also excised form part of Kogi State, while the 6th Borgu local government area was matched with Niger State.

The 16 local government areas in Kwara State are:

Table 1.6.1:




1.6.1 Location

Ilorin, the state capital of Kwara State is located between latitude 4035E and longitude 802SN. It is a gateway town to the northern and southern parts of Nigeria. Ilorin falls within grassland, Notable trees found in the city include share butter, locust beans trees, mango tree etc.

1.6.2 Population

With reference to the 2007 population census, the total number of people residing in Ilorin was said to be 847,582, we can then say that the population was increased tremendously, when compared to 1991 population census, which estimate population to be 572,178 people.

1.6.3 Climate

The climate of Ilorin, Kwara State as a whole is characterized by the two district climatic seasons, the dry season and the wet season with an intervening cold and dry harmattan periods which is usually experienced from December-January. Ilorin has a total annual rainfall from 300mm-1,200mm. the raining season begins from November to end in early March. The main monthly temperature is on the highest from February to June at 350c and lowest in December at 300c.

1.6.4 Ethnic Composition

Kwara State is dominated by three major groups i.e. Yoruba, Nupe and Baruba. Yoruba as being the largest ethnic group in this location and are found in Ilorin and eight local government areas. The population of ilorin (Beside Ilorin people) comprises ethnic sub-groups from Egba, Ijesha, Tiv, Fulani, Ibadan, Kogi etc other ethnic groups with lower population but still significance in the cities social and economic development are Igbo, Edos, Hausa and Egbira. Although more than 80% of the people of Ilorin emirate are Muslims and the other 20% are said to be Christians and traditional worshippers.

1.6.5 Economic Activities

Kwara State as a whole is basically an agricultural area. Besides these agricultural and forestry development, it has enormous real and potential investment opportunities in other sectors of the economy, especially in commerce, industries and commercial houses such as Gomola gift shop, Mr Bigg’s, Eat well fast food, JMK supermarket, Doyin group of company etc. Hotels also grew up fast such as Kwara hotel, Niger Hotel, Princess Hotel, Gravel guest house etc.

In the field of Act and Culture, the people are noted for clothe weaving, dyeing and leather work.

More so, some banks are also operating in the financial sector of Ilorin which include Central Bank, Access bank, Ecobank, United bank of Africa, Keystone, First bank and other financial institutions e.g. Nigeria Stock Exchange.

1.6.6 Political and Administrative History

The promulgation of the decree of NO 14 of May 27, 1967 divided the whole country into twelve states, for administrative purposes, Ilorin Kabba and Lokoja province were matched together and became Kwara State and Ilorin was made the capital.

The creation of Kwara State definitely led to the establishment of many ministries and statutory cooperation as well as quasi government institutions.

By the time the state fully takes off in April 1968, thousands of civil servants from Kwara State serving in other parts of Formal Northern Nigeria were deployed back home. Since Ilorin is the state capital, some political buildings and office headquarters were located in the region such as government house, governor’s office, governor’s house, police head quarters, ministries of different forms, Kwara state house of Assembly, different agencies and their headquarters.

1.6.7 Other Popular Features

Apart from those mentioned above, Ilorin also has more institutional properties in stock, such as Kwara State College of Education, Kwara State Polytechnic, University of Ilorin, Secondary and Primary schools, both private and public schools, Central mosque, central market, located at oja-oba, bakoko etc.

On the industrial side, we have Global soap and Detergents, Kam industries, Tobacco company, which has indeed added to the list of industries and we also have Kwara Furnitures, sawmill, block industries, government reservation area (G, R A), state sectariat, NTA, Kwara Television, Radio kwara, Civil service clinic, parties sectariats etc all these popular features gives more dignity to Ilorin being the state capital.

1.7 Definition of Terms Properties

Richmond (1985) refers to land and landed properties as a bundle of right, which is known as estate, including all features that are attached to it, building, trees etc it may otherwise be called real property, real estate or chattel real.


As defined by statues, the best known being the term planning law in Europe, America and African, British town & country planning act (1947) sees development as the act of building, engineering, mining and other operations in, on, over and under the land or the making of any materials change in the use of any building or other land, it is also usually called improvement on land.


As explained by Nash, (1968), foundation in building construction refers to the basement or lower part of a building. It is the subsoil on which the artificial foundation stands. Artificial foundation is the excavation lump of concrete or other materials built in wall trenches. The major types of foundation are trip, pad, raft/mat and pile & bean foundation.

Concrete Lintel

The simplest way of building & opening is to use a reinforced concrete lintel. This type of lintel, tend to be rather unsightly so various methods may be used to reduce the amount of surface of lintel which can be seen on the elevation of the wall. Lintel is one of a major important part of a building it plays a very great role in every building (Nash, 1924)


According to Awe, (2007) floor is an horizontal structural element which carries imposed and life load in a building, floor also divided the building into storey. Floor helps to prevent damp penetration in rooms, prevent wilt from growing inside the building.


According to Ifediore, (1993) maintenance implies works undertaking in other to keep, restore and improve every facilities i.e. part of the buildings, each services & surroundings to correctly acceptable standard and to sustain the utility & value of the structure.


Awe (2007) sees the term “roof” as the cover of a building designed physically to protect the building and content from environmental factors and hazard such as rain, heat, snow, cold etc. The roof also played aesthetic function in determining the character of a building


According to Awe (2007), they are series of step between floors, staircase can be strait, quarterly turn, half turn or spiral in design and shape

Pre – Cast

Jinadu (2007) describes the condition when a material concrete is made at a place different from where it is to be used as pre – cast in other word such concrete is made at a place and sent to the site to be used for its purpose.


According to oyebanji (2001) wall is defined as the part of a building that is mounted upon a floor with the use of either circled hollow block, red bricks or mould block. It also serve as a cover for all properties living and non – living against intrusion, and divides building into rooms.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Recommendation and Conclusion

5.1 Summary of Findings

This project examined the general causes and problems of building collapse in the study area. Many categories of causes and problems of building collapse were identifies in Ilorin metropolis. The major findings are:

  1. Poor Supervision: One of the major causes of building collapsed is by poor structural supervision as shown in table 4.4.1 and other causes like poor workmanship, use of substandard/poor materials and inadequate design are agreed to be 13%, 6% and 21% respectively.
  2. Lost of life and income: It was noted that both lives and that of economic loss of the building were adversely high carrying a percentages of 57% and 43% respectively and are agreed to be the major problems emanating from the collapse of building in the study area.
  3. Defects in buildings were noticed between 5-10 years which were not repaired until the buildings collapsed.
  4. Poor workmanship is another cause of building collapse in the study areas.
  5. Use of substandard materials was also noted in the study areas.

5.2 Recommendations

The analyses so far has examined the causes of building collapse in Ilorin metropolis and revealed many problems caused by building collapse. In view of this, the following recommendations are presented:

1. Adequate Regulations On Building

It was noted that there were no proper supervision on the building erected hence, the building regulatory body should properly monitor, supervise and direct the ongoing building project. Also great emphasizes should be made in compliance to the building rules and regulation so as to prevent future occurrence of collapse in buildings.

ii. Need for Comprehensive Standard

It is recommended that the Town Planning and Development Authority are to make it mandatory for building plan to be drawn and get them approved before commencing the project.

The profile of the contractor should be included in the submission and the submission as well should be evaluated and verified by the authority.

iii. General Review in Building Maintenance

Building should undergo maintenance regularly every year; professionals should canvas the integrity or stability test on all existing buildings in Nigeria. Design should be detailed and incorporate all causes which will reduce effects of weather on the site to the barest minimum.

iv. Builders to Use Quality Building Materials

A primary objective in building design is to secure an attractive and functional building to achieve these prime objectives, builders are therefore required to use quality materials for every components of the building, those component implies those parts of the building that carries load (Foundation) or distribute loads on the building, which includes walls, floors, windows and doors etc.

5.3 Conclusion

Causes and problems of building collapse in Ilorin metropolis has been attributed to lack of good building materials, poor design and insufficient professional monitoring and supervision of projects. This situation studied that the study areas indeed made the researchers to propose some suggestions/recommendation presented above.

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