By Joshua Odeyemi
The National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers, Peter IgbiniJesu, has said most old buildings in Lagos State have outlived their usage.
He made this submission while speaking on the Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday on the backdrop of the recurring incidence of building collapse, especially in Lagos.
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IgbiniJesu, who is also a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, said buildings have expiration dates, adding that a building should stand for at least 99 years depending on how often it is maintained.
He said an integrity test should be carried out on buildings every five years.
“When you look at the whole issue of building, there are three major areas that are involved; the design stage, the construction stage and the usage.
“Most of those structures have been standing for years and the usage of those buildings has exceeded what they were originally designed for in the sense that you are now giving additional loads that are now bringing various stresses on these buildings, including the foundation.
“These buildings are subjected to vertical loads are horizontal loads. Who knows, these buildings may be designed for residential purposes but somewhere along the line, they may have been converted to other usages. In other words, you are putting additional loads on what the foundation can withstand,” IgbiniJesu said.
Ten bodies were recovered from a collapsed three-storey building in the Ebute-Metta area of Lagos State on Monday.
The incident happened in the late hours of Sunday.
The building was marked for demolition but the tenants refused to leave, according to the caretaker.
“If it is proven that the landlord was still collecting rent because that was what must have given encouragement to the people to continue living there, such should be investigated because that is a criminal act.
“If the government had told you that your building is distressed and you have also given notices to your occupants, but if any of the survival says they were still paying rent, I think the landlord should be held culpable,” the structural expert said.
To avoid incessant building collapse, he advised Nigerians to always engage the services of structural engineers while also carrying out regular maintenance on their buildings.
He added, “As a potential tenant, you have the right to know how long a building has been standing and you can get this information from the government.”