The Lagos State Government on Sunday has begun stiff enforcement of laws against distressed buildings and called on property owners to carry out immediate integrity tests or risk demolition.
The General Manager, Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL), Dr Afolabi Abiodun, told newsmen that property owners who did not ascertain the structural stability of their buildings risked sanctions.
Abiodun advised construction companies, developers, estate agents, builders and other stakeholders in the built environment to comply by testing their construction materials, ongoing and completed buildings to avert risks.
He said that enforcement would be more proactive in line with the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s zero tolerance for building collapse, saying that, using the right materials would prevent construction failure.
The general manager who assumed office in February said that soil test was also very important before any kind of construction to safeguard the construction from imminent collapse.
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“Enforcement has taken a new toll in Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory now. Before my arrival, there was no enforcement and that is why I say there is a new Sheriff in town to unleash the law of the agency on all distressed buildings.
“There is need for those who have completed their buildings to do the Non-Destructive Test (NDT) and this test which we call the NDT is to be done every five years,’’ he said.
He said that the agency had begun a massive awareness campaign to sensitise the public and was equally educating artisans in the built environment on dangers of compromising quality of building materials.
Abiodun explained that he has had several meetings with Association of Block Makers and had embarked on enforcement visits to quack block producers not using the right proportion of mixtures for production.
He said that several block makers had been sanctioned in Alimosho and Ikorodu Local Governments, saying that the quality assurance enforcement was ongoing and would reach all parts of the state.
He said that the agency was operating on the Standard Organisations of Nigeria (SON) requirement and was making deliberate efforts to ensure building professionals complied to eliminate quackery.
Abiodun said that he had scheduled a meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) for Tuesday to pave way for more collaboration toward taming construction failure in the state.
“We want to see what we can do; how do we get to the roots of substandard materials that are being supplied on various sites. We are collaborating together.
“We are all going out to do this sensitisation thing by going to the sources, the suppliers. We want to identify and invite them for a stakeholders’ meeting where the NIOB will be present.
“We will be able to channel a new course and a new way to prevent supply of substandard materials to site in the built environment,’’ he said.
The general manager appealed to Lagos residents to make their birthday gift to the governor who turned 55 on Thursday a visit to the agency to test buildings from one-storey up.
Abiodun also urged the public to patronise the LSTML to ensure that they can test their construction materials to ensure quality to guarantee integrity to avert building collapse.