Causes And Remedies Of Poor Maintenance Of Public Building

Project and Seminar Material for Building Technology BT

Causes And Remedies Of Poor Maintenance Of Public Building


Abstract


This study examined the cause and remedies of poor maintenance of public building in Enugu Urban. The study embarked on physical inspection of some public buildings, identified defect in the buildings, determined the cause of the defect and proffered remedies for them. Data for the study were collected through well – structured questionnaire administered to building industry professionals. Data collected were analyzed using frequency distribution table and relative signification in dex.

The findings revealed that in the level of dilapidation of services in the facilities, kerosene cooking system ranked first (68% significance) followed by flush toilet (66%) while the pair system ranked least with (50%) significance considering the severity of detects in facilities, peeling of walls surface ranked first (50.8% significance) while foundation failure and sagging of beams were ranked with (42.8%) the cause of defects in the facilities were investigated and the use of untested or inferior materials (56.8%) was the most devasting factor. Availability of qualified and competent construction industry professional was generally believed to be the significant factor that would impact on the drive to achieve quality maintenance operation in Nigeria.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Various attempts have been made to give a comprehensive definition of maintenance and to explain vividly what it entails, BS3811 (1964), defined maintenance as the combination of any action carried out to retain an item in or restore it to an acceptable condition.

The standard and level of maintenance of building in any country like Nigeria is invariably directly related to the strength of its economy. As country becomes more developed, they are disposed to require higher standards for buildings.

One of the basic needs of man in life, is Sheller, which is required for virtually all human activities shelter is provided in form of building which are usually designed and erected for a specific use or purpose, such as residential, educational, hospital, etc in order for building to continue to serve their purposes, they should be made to remain in the state for which they were constructed and this can only be achieved through adequate maintenance which in most cases is not carried out leading to various defects which may ultimately prevent these buildings from continuously serving the purpose for which they were built.

Maintenance is required throughout the life span of the building so that the various elements are kept to standard consistent with the overall policy. Feedback from user to designer is important to indicate success or failure of specified components.

A list of the prevalent maintenance problems in both residential and public buildings in Enugu urban used as a case study for this project includes: leakage roof, rot in roof timber, damages to internal plaster and decoration, possible damage to contents and effect on health of occupants, damages to ceiling board, flaking of wall paints, cracking of walls, broken tiles, wearing – off of floor finishes, broken , broker PVC pipes and damage to soak away pit.

One of the main contributions to the deplorable state of our buildings is the attitude of our building owners. The problem with most Nigeria building owners is that they do not know what they want in their buildings when completed. This therefore compounds problem to designers during briefing and decision making. The owners may need a complex building without considering the convenience of construction. They may not even be ready to involve themselves with high cost buildings which they need.

Question put out to owners of buildings as regards maintenance plans for their buildings could not be answered because there was no maintenance plans in place for their buildings.

The need for maintenance is prevalent in Nigeria because of the complex nature of design of the building which are finally erected without considering the needs of maintenance at the design stage. Owners are usually concerned with the aesthetic nature of the design and the building appearance without considering the needs for maintenance of the ways of going about to effect repairs should defects occur. Some of the main cause of maintenance problems are; new material and construction techniques, poor workmanship, poor placement of materials, poor materials been used poor supervision of construction work, lack of quality control and monitoring.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

It is often said that building defects start on the drawing board. Design deficiencies could result in a building disaster if adequate attention is not given to the design of the bearings support, calculations, errors, deformation, shrinkage problems, errors in assumed loading (wind force), all these could contribute to building failure and disaster in Nigeria work and also make it easier to perform, since good maintenance begins on the drawing board, therefore some of the problems are as follows:-

  1. Inadequate architectural design
  2. Inadequate structural, electrical and mechanical design
  3. New material and construction techniques
  4. Lack of quality control and monitoring
  5. Poor workmanship, poor placement of materials and poor supervision of construction work.
  6. Use of defective materials
  7. Lack of routine or preventive maintenance department and lack of maintenance manual.

In Enugu urban used as a case study, the prevalent maintenance problems in both residential and public buildings include leaking roof, rot in roof timber, damages to internal plaster and decoration, possible damage to contains and effect on health of occupants, damages to ceiling board, flaking of wall paints, creaking of walls etc all these are the likely maintenance problems in Nigeria by extension.


1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to investigate the common problems of building maintenance in Nigeria so that ways of over coming the problems may be adopted.

Objectives

The main objectives of this study are.

  1. To spell out the need for and benefits of maintenance manual to buildings owners and the occupiers in the maintenance processes.
  2. For the government to put in place maintenance policy that will require government owned building to be maintained from time in Nigeria.
  3. To go for market survey in terms of making choices on the type of materials to be used and go for good quality material e.g. paint, timber, ceiling board tiles, pipes etc.
  4. To make provisions for good workmanship, to work according to the specification, to do the job as required in terms of construction techniques and also make sure the job is well supervised at the early stage.
  5. To provide a good design plan to avoid effects as time goes on and to make sure the structural, electrical and mechanical engineers carried out their jobs properly.
  6. The government should also provide a maintenance department especially for public buildings.

1.4 Research Questions

The question this research intends to find answers to are:-

  1. Do the owners and occupiers of buildings know the benefit of building maintenance manual?
  2. Does the government have maintenance policy that will enable them own a building to be maintained in Nigeria?
  3. Do the owners and occupiers of building go for good quality material?
  4. Do the owners and occupiers of building make good use of available workmen and artisans, work according to specifications, construction techniques and supervision of the work at the early stages of construction?
  5. Do the architect; structural, electrical and mechanical engineers carry out their jobs properly at the early stage?
  6. Are the public building owners and occupiers aware of maintenance department?

1.5 Scope and (Delimitation) of the Study

This research shall be limited to some selected public buildings in Old G.R.A Enugu State. Most of them are quite easily accessible and in terrible state of disrepair. This study focuses on types of maintenance, maintenance policy formation and methodology, concept of maintenance, maintenance manual maintenance management and execution of maintenance work.


1.6 Significance of the Study

The significance of this research work is that:-

  1. It will benefit the researcher on the above topic based on the fact that the topic of discussion is from her discipline, because no knowledge is a waste and it will also be of benefit to the forth coming researcher (student) who may wish to carry out similar or related research work in the above study and as such it can serve as reference material to the researcher. It also be of benefit to government.
  2. The study will also benefit the building industry on how to manage and up date their information technology level so as to meet up with customer expectation in their daily transactions.
  3. The study will also be of profit to the society at large because maintenance is highly needed in our society especially in building industry.
  4. It will be of benefit to the management of building industry in terms of employing capable hands as staff in the organization.
  5. The study will be of benefit to the owners of the building even to the occupants as well.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Maintenance:

This is the combination of any action carried out to retain an item in or restore it to an acceptable condition.

Retaining and Restore:

Retaining process can be interpreted as the work carried out as a preventive nature in anticipation of failure of certain building elements or services. The restoring on the other hand can be related to those work carried out after failure of the elements or a service has occurred like. Paint, work, roof, wall, foundation etc.

Acceptable Condition:

There is no specific standard as the phrase “acceptable condition’ it is obvious that what is acceptable to “A” may not be acceptable to “B” in that sense the acceptable condition, varies from person to person, one community to another, nation to nation and so on.

Building Maintenance Manual:

This is comprehensive guide, which will include appropriate from and log books for maintenance of a building prepared by a consortium of registered Architect, registered building and registered engineers.


Chapter Five


Key Findings, Recommendations and Conclusion

5.1 Introduction

This chapter highlights and discusses the key findings from the study. The various issues analysed in the foregoing chapters have provided critical insights into the nature, causes and effects of the maintenance problems of public residential buildings. This insight has informed the recommendations of the study on how the maintenance problems could be effectively addressed. For easy appreciation the key findings have been itemized under appropriate sub-headings.


5.2 Summary of Key Findings of the Study

5.2.1 Availability and Condition of Facilities in Public Buildings.

The study established that:

All residential facilities of public institutions surveyed have all the necessary facilities necessary to make a house, a home for man. Bungalows and tenement houses have these facilities within the building and used by individual household, while in the case of single unit houses these facilities are detached from the main building and are shared by two households.

The majority of houses surveyed are old buildings (84.1 percent), with only 9.1 percent and 6.8 percent being recent and medium aged buildings respectively. Buildings of the GPS were much older (97.1 percent), with only 2.9 percent being younger buildings. In the case of GHS, 85.7 percent and 14.3 percent of its buildings are younger and medium-aged respectively, with the UEW-K having 38.5 percent and 61.5 percent of its buildings being younger and older respectively.

Generally, condition of facilities (toilet, bathroom, kitchen, water and electricity) in public buildings was fairly good regarding its usability. Toilet facility in good and fair condition was 85.2 percent, with electricity (80.7 percent), water (75 percent), bathroom (73.9 percent) and kitchen (71.6 percent) in the same condition. Among the institutions, GPS had its kitchen facility in worst condition 30.8 percent, followed by bathroom (23.5 percent) and electricity (22.1 percent). The UEW-K has water facility as its major problem with 92.3 percent in bad condition, followed by bathroom (46.2 percent) and kitchen (30.8 percent). Facilities in GHS were relatively in better condition with 85.7 percent of all its facilities surveyed in good and fair condition.

In terms of house types, toilet facility for tenement houses was in the best of condition with all toilets being in good and fair condition. Water facility was poor in tenement (75 percent) and bungalows (25 percent). Single unit houses have the worst of condition in terms of available facilities. Most affected facilities are kitchen, bathroom and electricity. This has been attributed to the pressure on the facilities due to the number of users as well as the limited attention given to maintenance by personnel with the explanation that their income is too meager for them to undertake any meaningful maintenance and therefore look up to the institutions to do that.

5.2.2 Condition of Building Elements
General

Among all the building elements of the houses surveyed, painting, wall, windows and doors, the roof, the foundation and the floor had the most maintenance problems whilst the roof had the least of problems. About 90 percent of painting, 78 percent of walls, 61 percent of windows and doors, 55 percent of foundation and floor and 42 percent of all roofs had problems.

The most prevalent maintenance problems are cracks in walls, faded painting, partly broken windows and doors, exposed foundation and leaking roofs affecting 42 percent, 39.8 percent, 38.6 percent, 30.7 percent and 19.3 percent of residential buildings of the three institutions surveyed.

Foundation

The institutions with the worst foundation problem were the GPS and UEW-K with approximately 40 percent of their foundation exposed and hanging. 28.6 percent of GHS buildings had a similar problem.

Single Unit houses had the most foundation problem with 38.3 percent of foundations exposed and hanging.

Roof

Leaking roof was most pronounced in the GHS with 42.9 percent of its building with roofs leaking. However, 17.6 percent and 15.4 percent of roofs of GPS and UEW-K had the same problem.

In the building types, tenement houses suffer the most with 25 percent of buildings in tenement having leaking roofs. Leaking roof problem for bungalows and single unit houses was 20 percent and 18.3 percent. Leaking roof has resulted in damage to building materials or furnishings. It is a prime source of microbial contamination that affects indoor air, posing health risks.

Floor

About 54.5 percent of the buildings have problems with their floors. They main problems associated with the floors are development of cracks resulting in some situation indentation of the floor and peel offs. The problem of cracks is most pronounced in bungalows (35 percent), whilst 37.5 percent of tenement houses had their floor peeled off.

Cracks in the floor affected 42.8 percent of all GHS buildings surveyed, with peel off affecting 30.8 percent of UEW-K buildings.

Wall

Cracking is the major problem affecting walls with 42 percent of buildings of public institutions having developed cracks. Peel offs and partly broken down walls are the other problems affecting 21.6 percent and 14.8 percent of all buildings surveyed.

GPS had the most of wall problem with 48.5 percent of buildings developing cracks.
Tenement houses have the worst wall problems with about 88 percent having problems with the wall (46.7 percent cracks, 31.7 percent peel offs and 10 percent partly broken down).

Painting

Painting protects walls as well as serving aesthetic purpose, but as high as 89.8 percent of all buildings surveyed had problem with painting. The problem of painting is more pronounced in buildings of UEW-K and GPS where 92.3 percent and 91.2 percent of all their buildings surveyed being dirty, faded, and no painting.

The problem of painting is most prominent in single unit houses and least in tenement houses affecting 75 percent, 85 percent and 93.3 percent of all tenement, bungalows and single unit buildings respectively.

Windows and Doors

The major problems with the wooden members of the buildings surveyed are that they are either partly or completely broken down as a result of the wooden members being rotten due to penetration of water resulting from lack of coating and poorly treated wood. The problem of wooden members is most prominent in buildings of UEW-K and least in GHS. It has accounted for 69.2 percent, 44.7 percent and 14.3 percent of buildings of UEW-K, GPS and GHS surveyed respectively.

In the house types, the problem is most prominent in single unit houses affecting 72.7 percent of all surveyed single unit houses. However bungalows have the most completely broken down windows and doors.

5.2.3 General Building Conditions

On the whole, 83 percent of all residential buildings of public institutions surveyed have maintenance problems. Maintenance problem is more prominent in GPS and UEW-K with 41.2 percent and 30.8 percent of their buildings in a bad condition, with 14.3 percent of those of GHS in the same situation.

Building maintenance problems are more pronounced in single unit houses than tenement houses and bungalows with 48.4 percent, 37.5 percent and 5 percent respectively in bad condition. However, tenement houses had the highest buildings with good condition, with 37.5 percent of all tenement houses surveyed in good condition requiring the least or no maintenance.

5.2.4 Causes of Maintenance Problems in Public Buildings

From the study, the major causes of poorly maintained public buildings include the following:

  1. The age of buildings of public institutions. Houses deteriorate with age, with buildings between the ages of fifty and sixty and above exhibiting serious maintenance problems and thus requiring replacement of some building elements or at least rehabilitation. Houses surveyed were classified into younger buildings (less than 20 years old), medium aged buildings (20-50 years old) and older buildings (above 50 years old). About 84.1% of all buildings surveyed were older buildings above 50 years. All these houses were in fair and bad condition and required maintenance.
  2. There is generally lack of maintenance culture on the part of both the institutions and the occupants, thus resulting in deferred maintenance of buildings by public institutions. This situation is also evident in the lack of preventive maintenance plan by public institutions for their buildings. Occupants also exhibit apathy towards maintaining their buildings holding the view that it is a government property and that whatever the state is no business of theirs.
  3. There is also the problem of over-centralisation of maintenance decisions. Maintenance decisions and building management are taken at the management level at the headquarters and the regional office of the institutions surveyed. The channels through which decisions are brought to the local level are in most cases, too long resulting in the delay of release of funds for maintenance. These bureaucratic processes also affect the reporting of maintenance problems by personnel, since some occupants have failed to report maintenance problems citing this bureaucratic process as a hindrance.
  4. Another obstacle to maintenance of public buildings is funding. Inadequate funds and delays in the release of funds have contributed significantly to the present state of public buildings. This has been worsened by the high cost of building materials, new constructions which often receives more attention than ongoing building maintenance projects and high cost of maintenance resulting from works done by private firms due the low capacity of maintenance staff to undertake such tasks.
  5. There is also pressure on building facilities by number of users. There is inverse relation between population density and the quality of housing conditions. Houses with fewer people had better conditions as against those with large number of occupants.
  6. There is lack of effective national maintenance policy, laws and regulations to compel both managers of public institutions and occupants to undertake maintenance failure of which sanctions can be applied.

5.3 Recommendations

The following are recommendations as a way of dealing with maintenance problems of public institutions housing in Nigeria:

  1. There is the need for public institutions to embrace preventive maintenance practice as a high priority rather than adhoc maintenance. To gain optimum benefits from preventive maintenance, building managers should incorporate preventive maintenance tasks into a work-order system and keep systematic maintenance records, either by computer or manually. Managers should evaluate the preventive maintenance program to improve it over time.
  2. Public institutions should ensure that their maintenance department is adequately staffed with the requisite manpower and that employees have appropriate training to competently and safely undertake and complete the maintenance tasks expected of them.
  3. Estate and maintenance managers should oversee periodic inspections of buildings’ conditions and create an inventory of buildings’ components and equipment. They should plan building inspection, since proper planning of inspection is a sure way to reduce cost of maintenance since doing so can provide insight into future maintenance needs and avoid unnecessary costs.
  4. There should be a state regulation to affect state maintenance of specific building systems. A state building and maintenance code should govern building construction and remodeling. It should also affect accessibility, electricity, energy, fire protection, plumbing and other mechanical components such as elevators. In addition, a National Maintenance Policy should be formulated as part of the National Housing Policy to compel people to undertake maintenance on the buildings they occupy to avoid the situation where huge sums of taxpayers’ money go down the drain through deterioration of public buildings due to lack of maintenance.
  5. There is the need for institution of a maintenance awards scheme for public institutions at the National, Regional and District levels to award institutions that have effectively managed maintenance of their buildings. This will demand that taskforce from the Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing periodically inspects the condition of building components of public buildings.
  6. Mangers of public institutions should ensure that high quality and durable building materials are used to prolong its life span and minimize the rate of deterioration. Current building designs should also incorporate materials with least maintenance problems, for instance tiling of high rise buildings will solve the problem of painting due to the height of the building. Aesthetic value of new buildings should also be taken into consideration to serve as tourist attraction.
  7. The PWD should be given the mandate to develop a systematic programme of maintaining public buildings since they have the necessary human resource capacity. This will reduce the total cost of maintenance in relation to employing private contractors. The effectiveness of this recommendation will depend on the level of supervision because of the history behind the attitude of employees of such institutions.
  8. Estate and Maintenance managers should develop a multiple-level education strategy to address the differing information needs of their various levels of employees in terms of maintenance of building. This should include safety and health implications about lack of maintenance e.g. food poisoning resulting from falling paint particles or scraps and indoor air quality.
  9. Occupants of government buildings should also shed off their apathy in terms of ownership and maintenance of such property and rather exhibit high sense of patriotism. This can be done through public education and sensitization and strict application of sanctions such surcharging occupants with cost of damage caused as well as eviction from the premises.
  10. There is the need for government to set up a maintenance budget from which all maintenance activities will be drawn. There is the need to set up a National Maintenance Fund similar to that of the Road Fund to mobilize adequate funds to meet maintenance needs of public institutions. In addition, there is the need for the review of the current rents paid by tenant of public buildings to reflect current economic trends and to generate enough funds to undertake maintenance works on these buildings. Improving the conditions of service of public employees will also ensure that tenants are able to do their own maintenance on the buildings.
  11. Finally there is the need for government to put up more public residential buildings in view of the present national deficit in housing which stand at one million(http/www.Nigeriaweb.com). This housing deficit has resulted in competition for rental housing. Landlords however prefer to rent out their premises to private individuals instead of public officials due to the high rent charged. There is however, the need for regular maintenance of public building put up to protect the huge investment put into it. Building maintenance which is a shared responsibility must be the prime focus for both the occupant and the government (Managers of public institutions).

5.4 Conclusion

The study has established that housing maintenance is a real problem among public institutions in Nigeria, with about 83 percent of all residential buildings of public institutions surveyed having maintenance problems. Maintenance problem is more prominent in GPS and UEW-K with 41.2 percent and 30.8 percent of their buildings in a bad condition, with 14.3 percent of those of GHS in the same situation.

Building maintenance problems are more pronounced in single unit houses than tenement houses and bungalows with 48.4 percent, 37.5 percent and 5 percent respectively in bad condition. This has come about as a result of two main factors: Pressure on the single unit buildings due to large number of occupants and preference to the maintenance of bungalows and flats except in emergency situations because the bungalows and the flats are occupied by senior and middle level management respectively while that of the single units are occupied by the lower level personnel.

In addition maintenance culture is relatively higher among occupants of bungalows and tenement buildings than single unit occupant due the differential in income level.

The most widespread maintenance problem according to the study are cracks in walls, faded painting, partly broken windows and doors, exposed foundation and leaking roofs affecting 42 percent, 39.8 percent, 38.6 percent, 30.7 percent and 19.3 percent of residential buildings of the three institutions surveyed.

The maintenance problems the study observed have been influenced by the age of the buildings, lack or absence of a national maintenance policy, inadequate funds and high cost of maintenance, low capacity of maintenance staff, apathy and lack of patriotism on the part of occupants, pressure on buildings due to the number of users among others.

The study concludes by enumerating a number of recommendations aimed at addressing the problem of poor maintenance of public buildings in the country. It is hoped that these recommendations if implemented will contribute in no small way in reducing the maintenance problem plaguing the public sector in the country at the moment.


Causes And Remedies Of Poor Maintenance Of Public Building


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