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National Building Code is like a toothless bulldog without NASS backing

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Mr Alih Ogwu Hassan is a chartered builder and President of Rotary Club, Omole Golden. In this exclusive interview with Associate Editor, Dada Jackson, he bares his mind on the National Building Code and building college, among other topical issues. Excerpts.

 

What is your take on the issue of incessant building collapse across the country?

Thank you very much for this all-important question. The issue of building collapse is one of the most difficult challenges facing construction professionals. It is a worrisome development which needs to be addressed urgently. Over the years, buildings have continued to collapse and now it is time to take the bull by the horns. Professionals in the built environment have been brainstorming on way out of this quagmire. Let me make it abundantly clear here that buildings that are yet to be put in place can equally collapse. You may want to ask me, how. This can happen from the design stage. If there is an error in the design process, you are bound to have a defective structure which may likely collapse.

How do we stem this ugly tide?

The way out of this ugly phenomenon is located in two broad aspects. First, government has a role to play; and second, we as professionals equally have our own role to play. On the government part, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON) should wake up to its responsibility by ensuring that quality building materials are allowed into the country by importers of building materials. They should insist on monitoring the types of materials that are imported into the country. Officials of the agency should censor the materials that come into the market. By so doing, the developers who patronise these markets would be availed with quality materials instead of substandard ones. On the part of the professionals, the right professionals should be engaged in the construction process to avoid building collapse.

It should be pointed out here that another factor that should be urgently addressed is the desire to maximise profits on the part of businessmen also known as developers who engage in construction. This quest for profit sometimes leads to cutting corners by using substandard materials, thereby endangering the lives of the people.

 

What is your take on the National Building Code that is taking eternity to come to pass?

It is something that as construction experts, we have been agitating for over the years. Let me make it abundantly clear that without the backing of the National Assembly, the NBC will just be like a toothless bulldog. The draft code needs to be urgently looked into by members of NASS with a view to giving it a speedy passage if only the country cares about mitigating the effects of building collapse in the country. The NBC is a beautiful document which defines the role of each professional in the built environment.

What do you think is stalling it from seeing the light of day?

A lot of interests are involved but the most important of these is the issue of having businessmen and some powerful politicians going into the construction business. Since the code defines the roles of each professional in the construction process there is the tendency for those who are not core professionals to wanting to stall its passage. My plea is that politics should not be allowed to stall this beautiful document which is like a Bible to professionals in the built environment.

Do you subscribe to the view that there should a resident builder at construction sites?

Yes, absolutely. This is very germane to the construction process. With a resident builder at any construction site, there is the likelihood or at least a tendency for minimal fear of an impending building collapse because his presence would ensure that the right things are done and the tendency to wanting to cut corners by the developer would be largely minimised, if not totally curtailed. So, I am in total agreement with the school of thought which advocates that a resident builder must always be at construction sites.

Is there any rift amongst the professionals in the built environment as to who leads the process?

Not that I know; there is no need for that because each professional’s role is clearly defined. There is no need for any tussle as to who leads the team.

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Property

Building code bill: Inadequate awareness responsible for passage delay

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By Dada Jackson
Inadequate awareness by professionals and members of the public on the importance of the National Building Code to the built environment has been ascribed as being responsible for the delay in its passage by members of the National Assembly.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Lagos State Branch, Mr David Majekodunmi, disclosed this in an interview.
According to him, efforts by professionals and the public at large in sensitising members of NASS in seeing the need to expedite action on the passage of the Code, to say the least, had been ‘insufficient’ in galvanising the NASS members to do the needful.
His words: “Professionals and the public who will benefit immensely if the Code is passed into law, have not done enough in terms of lobbying the NASS members in looking at the prospect of passing the Code. It is quite pathetic, that less than 30 per cent or so of the practising professionals knew about the National Building Code when they were in tertiary institutions.
Majekodunmi said that the delay in the passage of the NBC has ‘seriously’ impacted negatively on the construction industry.
He was quick to add that the earlier the Code was passed into law, the better it would be for the growth of the built environment.
He regretted a situation where since the first edition of the code was signed by the then Minister of Housing, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, in 2006, and up until now (15 years after), nothing had been done to upgrade or give it legal backing.
The NIA helmsman expressed worry over this development pointing out that this has brought about an unregulated construction process.

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Land use act should be amended not abrogated – Erhabor

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By Dada Jackson

 

The unending controversy surrounding the Land Use Act seems to be escalating by the day considering the furore it is generating in the polity.

Over the years,there has been a clamour for the document to be either amended or completely discarded.

But the argument continues on what to do with the document.

Some professionals and stakeholders in the construction industry have also been expressing divergent views on areas of the document that has to do with the powers of Governors in granting Certificate of Occupancy(CofO) to prospective land seekers.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Independent, a chartered land surveyor, Mr. Gowin Erhabor, said that the act which was a creation of former military Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1978 was to transfer the ownership of land to the government.

According to him,the idea which was lofty, had since been abused by some state Governors to the detriment of some people.

He said he does not subscribe to the outright abrogation of the Act but submitted,that it should be amended especially the section that confers absolute power on state Governors to grant approvals for CofO.

The land surveyor pointed out,that over the years,some Governors have used that power to muscle perceived political opponent’s thereby frustrating their efforts at acquiring and.

He said ” For instance if a Governor does not like the face of someone he sees as his political for,he would do everything at his disposal to deny such an individual yge opportunity of getting a land. This power conferred on Governors in the document us too enormous to allow it continue.I detest thus section of the Act,hence it should be jettisoned without much ado”.

Erhabor however commended the National Assembly for initiating the move to amend the Act,urging them to expedite action on its passage.

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Business

CBN restricts sugar importation to Dangote, Flour Mills, BUA

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has designated Dangote Sugar Refinery, Bua Sugar Refinery and Golden Sugar Company as the sole importers of sugar.

In a circular published on its website, the CBN said the three companies would have access to official foreign exchange, but with the bank’s express approval.

“Authorised dealers shall not open Forms M or access foreign exchange in the Nigerian foreign exchange market for any company or the three listed above for the importation of sugar without prior and express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the bank said.

The 16 July statement was signed by Dr. S.O. Nnaji, director trade and exchange department.

In April, the CBN had said it would no longer provide foreign currency for importers of sugar and wheat as the country tries to conserve dollar reserves and encourage local production.

The central bank justified its volte-face decision by saying the three firms, while still falling short of meeting demand, had made “reasonable progress” in producing refined sugar locally.

In 2015, the bank restricted access to foreign exchange for 41 banned items.

It has gradually added to the list since then.

The CBN Circular:

Sugar-Importation

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