From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) have expressed deep concern over the incessant collapse of buildings in the state and urged the Governor, Rochas Okorochas to enforce standard in the building industry.
This was even as they called for integrity test to be conducted in all the buildings in the state suspected to be substandard in other to avoid future reoccurrence.
The state Chairman of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr Emeka Ugoanyawu, who spoke yesterday during inspection of the three- storey building which collapsed on Sunday and killed four occupants of the building in Owerri metropolis, blamed the collapse on use of quacks in building houses.
He also blamed state regulatory agencies and Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) for failing to supervise contractors. A three-storey building still under construction collapsed in Obinze Owerri West Local Government Area in July 7, while another three- storey building collapsed in Umuguma Owerri West Local Government Area on July 8 respectively.
Similarly, one-storey building collapsed in Oforola Owerri West and killed three people on July 9, while a hotel still under construction collapsed in Airport Road, Owerri North on July 10.
The NSE boss urged the governor to summon emergency meeting of building professionals and proposed adequate sanctions for failed contractors.
Also speaking, state Chairman of Nigerian Institute of Architects, Mrs Ndidi Okoro said government has not lived up to its expectations by monitoring standard of buildings being erected in the state.
She insisted that every contractor must indicate through a visual sign, who the clients of every building are, to enable government know who to hold responsible incase of failure.
Okoro also a Fellow of NIA said a preliminary investigation showed that the building collapsed due to substandard materials used for the building and engagement of non professionals.
“We have lost so many lives in less than three months because contractors have continued to compromise standard and government has failed to supervise them.
“We will soon come out with a stand to this whole problem as a group and we hope that government will implement our recommendations,” she said.
Secretary of Nigerian Institute of Builders in Imo, Anddy Osuagwu blamed regulatory agencies and urged government to employ more professional builders to enable regulatory agencies perform the duty effectively.
“OCDA does not have enough professionals, how can they do the job well.
“What we are suffering in the building industry today is quackery and until the problem is addressed, we will still be where we are,” he said.