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EBuilt environment and construction industry experts have agreed that the proliferation of substandard building materials in the country’s market poses a grave danger to the lives of Nigerians while derailing the development of a property sector. dynamic.

A former president of the Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers (NISE), Victor Oyenuga, said the abundance of substandard building materials had contributed to the high rate of building collapses in the country.

Worldwide, from 1970 to 2020, 181 building collapses were reported in 51 countries: 32 occurred in India. Four nations made up the second tier of incidences: China (13), Egypt (13), Brazil (12) and Nigeria (12).

Although experts have put forward other causes of building collapse such as quackery, unethical practices by professionals and poor government regulation and oversight of the sector, substandard materials are thought to play a role. an important role.

Oyenuga postulated that the production and sales of substandard materials could be dealt with through strict oversight by the appropriate government agencies.

He said: “The government should issue guidelines for those who make steel and give them the minimum standard.

“For the block makers, they know the standard, but the problem is that those who meet the standard sell at the normal rate, while those who do not meet the standard sell at lower rates. So people are now deciding to buy those at lower rates.

“But if there is government oversight; go out and check the blocks, check them in their presence and when they don’t meet the standard they lock down the site. If they did, the block makers would follow the standard and in the end everyone would buy good blocks at a reasonable price and at the same time they would save a lot of money.

He said: “There is therefore no point in buying substandard materials which will eventually lead to the building collapsing. You use silver to build it, it will crumble, you use silver to appraise, and you use silver to start building again at a higher cost.

“I think the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) should be encouraged to be aware of their responsibilities. Cutting corners is not the best.

According to him, many developers face difficulties due to their lackadaisical attitude towards material selection.

Another expert, Arch Wasiu Olaleķan, said: “Substandard building materials are everywhere. There are lower quality iron rods. Most rods they call 12mm don’t go up to 12mm.

“For cement, the ratio to measure it has changed. The strength has diminished. Most people don’t know that.

He blamed some developers whom he accused of trying to cut costs by using substandard materials.

He said: “It shows that we are in deep trouble in the industry. Although it is better to buy a fully built house, you worry about the types of materials used in the construction of the house. It is therefore a major problem in the industry.

He noted that some states had adopted a practice that developers had to sign a covenant before starting construction, saying it was a good step that would encourage developers to use appropriate and standard materials.

Furthermore, the outgoing president of the Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI), Engr Nasiru Dantata, said that the federation’s projects were of the highest standards, insisting that the member companies that made up the federation were credible and responsible.

He said: “We have the engineering means to check whether a material is good enough or not.

“Fortunately for Nigerians, some of the important materials like cement, the cement producers association has taken it upon themselves to ensure that they produce quality cement. But after production, those who use it, respect they have the standard measurements?

“At FOCI member companies, we know how to mix our aggregate and our cement. However, it is not up to FOCI to police those who abuse the mix design.

“If you have to use 350 kg and you continue to use 250 kg, the building will hold up quite well, but it may not last long.”

He pointed out that it was COREN’s job to make sure the right materials were used in the construction of the structures.

Dantata, however, said that as a board member of COREN, he knew that state units had been created by the regulatory agency to checkmate sharp practices.

He urged the government to ensure that the built environment and the construction sector are regulated and monitored in the same way that the administration of vehicles and the use of roads were regulated and monitored.