Concerned about the constant collapse of structures around the country, built environment professionals have advocated for compulsory soil testing at all construction sites.
According to them, the test will establish the suitability of the soil for the building site. They also advocated for the integration of the construction schedule and bill of quantities (BoQ) with construction methods.
Dr. Akinsola Olufemi, Director of the Centre for Applied Research and Technology Innovations (ARTI) at Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), led the charge at a Building Business Workshop (BBW) titled ‘Effective building production management services: Integration of construction program of works and building construction methodology in building project delivery in Lagos State,’ organized by the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB).
Olufemi, who works in the building department, claims that about 95% of building construction in Lagos is done without a soil test.
He linked the trend to the peculiarities of the Nigerian environment, in which most individual developers lack project consultants and seldom conduct soil tests for building construction.
He said: “It is only high profile buildings that soil tests are carried out and not even all of them. Some of them obtain information from nearby projects, forgetting that the structure of the soil is not the same everywhere.
Olufemi, also the President of the Nigerian Academy of Facility Management, recommended the government to build strong ‘political will’ to make soil testing mandatory on all construction sites.
“This is best approach for the government to enforce standards. The practice of construction in Nigeria has changed over time. We did some studies in the last four years in NIOB and we find out that all over the country, most of the pre-1960 buildings and churches were still strong because the material used were imported from England and as at that time, they were still using lime, a by-product of limestone. They mix it with sharp sand and cement to solidify structures.”
The Chairman, NIOB Lagos chapter, Mr. Lucky Isaname, said the training became relevant to get members ready for the jobs, ensure end to building collapse and give value to clients.
Isaname said: “ Lagos State has reviewed its building regulation and we need professionals equipped to prepare documents on sites.
“The documents are project for management, health and safety plan, construction methodology and construction planning to aid construction process.
“This is a refresher course for some professionals, while it is a new thing to others. It will equip them with detailed knowledge for application on construction site and enhance productivity.”
“There are many quacks in the sector who just believe that the same way they carry out construction in Lekki will be the same also for construction in Lagos Mainland. They forgot that the two locations are different terrains that require different construction methodology in terms of soil test and building foundation.”
On her part, Special Adviser on Housing to Lagos State governor, Mrs. Toke Benson-Awoyinka represented by Mr. Saheed Omotosho, said government will continue to collaborate with professionals by assisting them in their agitations for affordable housing and enforcing standards in the sector.