As reactions trail the 21- storey building tragedy in Lagos a former Director General of the Nigeria Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), Engr Danladi Matawal has attributed the collapse to failure by the developer to have ensured a water-tight readiness for the work vis-a-vis Site Investigations, Designs, Construction Competence, Supervision and Independent Professional Critique Reviews with a tight Site set of schedules with constant Site Meetings where decisions are taken, approvals issued including casting and test results discussed.
Matawal, in a critical analysis of the development and chronicling past interventions of government in management of building collapses and similar tragedies across the country, urged the Lagos State Government to arrest everyone involved in the project.
He suggested further that any Panel to set up by the governor should institute a standard practice irrespective of outcome of investigations that every Collapsed Building Site automatically becomes the property of government to put up a public facility and no longer owned by any private developer.
Matawal who was also former Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Building Collapse Panel advised the State to established a procedure to identify any ongoing and existing buildings and construction sites owned by the same Client as well as designers and contractors to seal them immediately and get them subjected to integrity tests forthwith.
“First, a personality as high as Deputy Governor of Lagos confirmed on camera yesterday that the building was approved for 21 Storys. Secondly, the practice we established when I chaired the FCT Panels is to immediately put behind bars the Building Owner and for him to identify all the professional teams involved. The letter of a consultant withdrawing should be subjected to further scrutiny and confirmation because under desperation, such letter can easily be generated and back dated. Why did they not report their reservations to professional regulators and if true, they may have withdrawn for non-payment and not technical reasons.”
From 2011 till date, NBRRI has taken all cases of Building collapse in the country in its stride and intervened decisively and responsibly to the satisfaction of professional requirements, stakeholders and the public. Every detail from design (including Subsoil investigation, foundation and structural design), construction and supervision, and commissioning were delved into with thorough detailed Site physical study, sampling and tests. As a consequence, today there are NBRRI reports of more than 30 Sites including SCOAN in Ikotun-Lagos, Reigners Bible Church Uyo, collapses in Makurdi, Awka, Ibadan, Benin, Jos, Enugu and other towns. These reports were the sole technical docs used in Coronary Inquests and in Court where NBRRI usually appeared under Legal cover. I was, individually, also the Chairman FCT Building Collapse Panel and our reports, apart from being subjected to Legal scrutiny by Clients of dead victims, were also usually taken at FEC Meetings and we brought in COREN as collaborators in some cases. The point is that the frequency of collapses which we witnessed in 2011 and 2012 made it expedient to officially fund Building Collapse Interventions which were supported by the Executive and Legislature.
NBRRI has maintained this legacy of Intervention on collapsed Sites and it is certain that the agency is already active on the current Lagos collapse site though the scale of this case is another level all together and I think all the experts round country must put collaborate on this case which must have definitely drawn international attention. The Portharcourt Hotel collapse is similar but even of a smaller scale but outcomes of investigation have been kept a mystery and we urge NSE branch to release the report on that building with mass circulation immediately. Example, is the Hotel Owner now languishing in jail as well as other Collaborators, professional and non professional?”