In a bid to provide effective monitoring of building construction works in Lagos State, the state government recently employed over 200 built environment professionals to increase the staff strength of the Lagos State Building Control Agency.
As part of the induction programme, Building Collapse Prevention Guild held a technical session with the agency’s staff at their headquarters within the GRA, Ikeja.
In his opening remark, the General Manager of LASBCA, Mr. Dotun Lasoju, an engineer amplified the current mantra of LASBCA, zero tolerance for building collapse. He described the collaboration between LASBCA and BCPG as a collective effort at promoting standard building construction in the state with the aim of putting to an end the frequent collapse of buildings in the near future and thereby make the built environment safe for the inhabitants.
Speaking at the event, the president of the Guild, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, a professional builder lauded the Lagos State Government for taking this proactive step. He informed the audience that sometime ago, about 48,000 building sites were recorded in Lagos State. He wondered how an agency of less than 250 staff strength would be able to monitor effectively the rapid development of Lagos construction sphere.
The guild had persistently advocated for the enlargement of the agency’s staff with qualified professionals. Awobodu, however, cautioned that the ongoing recruitment exercise should be fair and not be hijacked by opportunists, like in the past, so as not to defeat the original purpose of the exercise. He then counselled the newly recruited staff to reciprocate Government’s decision of providing them employment by doing their duty diligently. He urged them to be good ambassadors of their professional bodies.
The permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Boladele Dapo-Thomas explained that the government decided to employ professionals such as architects, builders and engineers that were young in age so that they could be molded character-wise towards a credible performance.
A building control surveyor, Mrs. Titilayo Oke, who represented the United Kingdom members of BCPG guided the LASBCA staff on site monitoring activities. Having worked for 30years in the Building Control Department of London Borough of Islington, she availed the forum relevant information that would assist the agency in its operations and methods of solving challenges they would likely encounter on the field.
A past National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers and one of the leaders of BCPG, Mr. Saliu Lawal identified passion and integrity as the bulwark of professionalism. Once a person had passion for a duty, the percentage of success would always be high. Undergoing tutelage from role models or mentorship in a profession would chart a result-oriented course.
A video presentation of defective buildings and unprofessional building production process was made by the secretary of BCPG Agboi – Ketu Cell, Mr. Babatunde Aina, a builder. Making reference to several building sites that he recorded across Lagos State, Mr. Aina, who is also the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Institute of Building, lagos state chapter, identified sharp practices and construction errors that the newly recruited LASBCA staff should look out for while on the field.
In his own remark, the national Publicity Secretary of BCPG, Mr. George Akinola, an architect encouraged the young LASBCA staff members to develop a strong spirit of self-esteem that could help them resist temptations from developers and overcome the weakness of compromise. He reminded them that BCPG members were rendering a free service because they have passion to save lives through standard building construction, which would also promote the construction profession generally and increase demand for Nigerian construction professionals in the near future. With this equation, he charged the LASBCA staff to show passion and commitment in this monitoring job that they would be well remunerated for. Another architect and the Coordinator of BCPG Amuwo-Odofin Cell, Mr. Augustine Otuoke made a plea that Awuwo – Odofin be given more LASBCA Staff due to the wetland that dominated the landscape. He mentioned Festac, Satellite Town, Trade Fair and Ojo as sensitive areas that required more officials to monitor the technicality of foundation construction.
Smarting from past experience, Coordinator of BCPG Yaba Cell, Mr. Friday Chukwu, an angineer called on Lagos State government to address challenges of enforcement strategically.During the question and answer session, the Deputy Coordinator of BCPG Ojodu Cell, Mr. Biodun Ogundare, a builder spoke on the need for new LASBCA officials to imbibe the process of total quality management (TQM) in carrying out their primary assignment.
On the non – availability of building regulations that supposed to have accompanied the 2010 Lagos State physical planning law and guided construction activities in the state, Mrs. Dapo – Thomas informed that work on the document had reached an advanced stage and it would soon be made available.
It should be recalled that the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode constituted a technical committee to review the structure of LASBCA and Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory following the collapse of Lekki Gardens’ building that claimed many lives. The Committee, led by the Past President of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, recommended the need to increase the staff strength of LASBCA.