The President of the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers, Peter IgbiniJesu, said most of the old buildings in Lagos State have survived their use.
He made the statement while speaking to Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday amid recurring incidences of collapsing buildings, particularly in Lagos.
IgbiniJesu, who is also a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, said buildings have expiry dates, adding that a building should last 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 question of construction, there are three main areas that are involved; the design phase, the construction phase and use.
“Most of these structures have been standing for years and the use of these buildings has gone beyond what they were originally designed for in the sense that you are now giving additional loads which now place various stresses on these buildings, including the foundation.
“These buildings are subject 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 uses. In other words, you are putting extra loads on what the foundation can support,” 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 slated for demolition but the tenants refused to leave, according to the caretaker.
“If there is evidence that the landlord was still collecting rent because that was what was to encourage people to continue living there, that should be investigated as it is a criminal act.
“If the government told you your building is in distress and you also gave notice to your occupants, but if one of the survivors says they were still paying rent, I think the landlord should be held guilty. “said the structural expert.
To avoid the relentless collapse of buildings, he advised Nigerians to always hire the services of structural engineers while carrying out regular maintenance of 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 that information from the government.