Although it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure structural stability and thereby avoiding loss of lives and property, the structural engineers have resolved to tackle the challenge of sub standard building materials, which have infiltrated the nation’s building materials’ market
In a renewed move towards ensuring safer construction industry in Nigeria, the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers (NIStructE) has pledged to tackle the problem of inferior building materials in the country.
This, among others, was one of the programmes outlined by the new president of NIStructE, Engr. Oreoluwa Fadayomi, who was sworn in last week at the Julius Berger Hall, University of Lagos.
While the President, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Otis Anyaeji was the Special Guest of Honour, Fadayomi’s investiture was chaired by Mr. Yusuf Lanre Sagaya, an engineer.
Fadayomi, who has been involved in several structural building and construction works, said to ensure structural stability of any construction project, the responsibility is not only that of the structural engineers but the general public, the institution and the government.
Specifying the roles of the general public, the new president urged it to shun patronizing non-structural engineers in the design and construction supervision of their projects, as water engineer, is different from a structural engineer, even though the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) registers both to practice.
Others are to “Carry out due diligence in choosing the structural design and construction supervision team. Engage a qualified structural engineer who will ensure that the designs are professionally handled and the construction is done to specifications with all the necessary quality control. Pay adequately for services rendered for the both the design and construction supervision and procure materials that are specified for the works.”
From the standpoint of the institution, Fadayomi said it would evolve more collaboration with other professions, monitor especially government projects and report when compliance with Nigerian content and COREN laws are flouted.
In his resolve to fight substandard construction materials, NIStructE president said he would tackle the problem from the roots by ensuring that all major structural engineering materials used for construction are of the right quality.
“Sand varies in quality and when different types are used to manufacture blocks or concrete, the results will vary. So we shall classify the types of sand available in the different areas and use the data to aid design and quality control.”
According to him, the steel in the market are from different specifications and NIStructE shall engage the steel manufacturers and stockiest in discussions that will lead to their endorsement whose products meet their design specifications, adding, the institution would do this with the cooperation of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
On cement, “We shall not relent in our efforts to ensure that the public is not misled in the cement types that are available, what they could be used for and how they can be used. We shall keep a data of known manufacturers and stockiest for use as the need arises.”
Manufacturers of pre-mix concrete, a new trend associated with development shall be closely monitored, to ensure that the products delivered for construction meet the desired specifications, Fadayomi said.
Other programmes as stated by Fadayomi are identify and gather engineering resources data, increase advocacy in our relationship with government, cooperate extensively with the COREN through the NSE, cooperate with other professional bodies and register more qualified structural engineers as well as train the younger ones.
The immediate past president of NIStructE, Dr. S.K. Ilugbekhai said the institution’s focus in the last couple of years had been on the safety of nation’s built environment, the embarrassing collapse of buildings, corporate presence in structural engineering practice, training, development, growth, expansion of scope of structural engineering practice and compensation of structural engineers in nation building.
He added that, in the last couple of years, “We created the opportunity to share our structural engineering experience with other professional colleagues in the built environment in Nigeria. The courage and determination we exhibited to break away from the norm led to interactions that were not just very professional but highly rewarding to the entire engineering family in Nigeria.”
According to Ilugbekhai, our buildings are predominantly a professional structural engineering interconnection of cement, concrete and other structural elements such as structural steel, structural aluminium, structural timber, structural glass and other currently trending and innovative structural materials.
The past president lamented the government’s discouraging posture to enthrone sanity within the profession. “Government having failed us, we will have to look more in the direction of corporate sponsorship to project structural engineering and better the lot of the Nigerian structural engineer.
However, he charged the government to back the practice of structural engineering in Nigeria by legislation. He also called the government to appreciate the professional competencies of her engineers, adding that, a nation that berates her professionals only bolsters in the euphoria of peripheral development that is not sustainable on the long run.