VIDEO: NIOB Optimistic 9th NASS Will Pass National Building Code Into Law

.  .  .  As Lagos, Ogun top list of most responsive states

President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Bldr Prof Yohana Izam yesterday expressed optimism that the 9th National Assembly will pass the National Building Code into law, a development he said will arm regulators of the sector with the viable legal framework they need to combat sharp practices in the Nigerian built environment.

Izam, who spoke during the third anniversary commemoration of Builders Day, in Abuja, noted that the the National Building Code has been before the National Assembly for close to a decade. He however expressed delight with the commitment of the current National Assembly, stating that the Institute and lawmakers are making enviable progress in a progressive collaboration that is gradually leading to the passage of the Code.

Acknowledging what he described as the “renewed efforts of the National Assembly to pass the National Building Code Enforcement Law,” the Professor of Building commended the 9th National Assembly for collaborations particularly, with the Institute during previous code revision and hearings.

He said the Institute of Professional Builders believe that the 9th Assembly will consolidate on her efforts to bequeath a lasting legacy to building with integrity for an egalitarian construction industry in Nigeria.

Discussing the relevance of the theme of Year 2022 Builders Day, the President said: ‘The theme for this year’s annual commemoration, “Building with Integrity” is deliberately orchestrated to initiate a paradigm shift from “collapse” to “integrity,”’ stating that the objective is to create awareness on the need for stakeholders to sustain the development of frameworks and regulations for effective control of building production processes and urban development practices as a sine-quanon for building with integrity.

According to Prof Izam, “building control that is innovative must go beyond cosmetic enforcement of codes and regulations,” stating that professional actors must be involved in building project delivery.

He said innovative building control has to be comprehensive by attending to the needs of the building project life cycle to create integrity in planning, design, construction, occupancy and post occupancy phases.

He noted that since Ita-Faaji building collapse of 2019, the Lagos State Government has stipulated in its Building Regulations of 2019, that building construction sites across Lagos State should be managed by professional/registered Builders.

Describing the policy as an ‘integrity-driven effort,’ the President recommended the building regulation of Lagos State to other states of the federation.

‘I am also pleased to note a good number of states that are now towing the path of integrity. The Abia Town Planning, Development Control Regulations of 2021 now gives sole responsibility of production management to Professional Builders as well as mandatory requirement of builders’ documents for all buildings up to 3 storeys and above. Ogun state has also in 2020 passed into law the Ogun State Building Production Regulation.’

‘The integrity paths in Ogun State, recognizes the Use of Certified Professionals and Artisans, and also Construction Programme, Quality Management Plan, Health and Safety Plan as contract documents to be prepared by Registered Builders.

‘In Adamawa, the State Government has also passed the Urban and Regional Planning law of 2010 with provisions for use of Builder’s documents in Building contracts. I am pleased to also note that after the collapse of an 8 storey building in Owerri in which over 15 people lost their lives, the work of the technical committee set up by the State Government which included Bldr C. Collins and Bldr Dr C.C Eze reached considerable milestones on approval of Builders documents at the level of Owerri Capital Development Authority, but yet to fully deliver on improved state-wide regulations.

‘In the FCT, Abuja, it is significant to note that the practice of Builders document has been mainstreamed into development control process; the ultimate will however be the passage of the building code enforcement law by the National assembly.

While saying that Builders Day 2022 will re-echo the great strides in the orchestration of integrity features into the country’s built environment development processes through stakeholder engagements at the State chapter and national levels, he said the National Council of the Institute has approved the compulsory participation of all State Chapters (and the FCT) in the commemoration of Itafaji Building Collapse of 13th March.

He said the need to engage builders in the construction of buildings cannot be over emphasized, stating that the overall objective of delivering on our mandate of quality buildings in Nigeria must be fully engaged.

‘I thank sister built environment professionals and stakeholders across the States of the Federation for positive collaborations. In many states where appropriate laws have not yet been passed, efforts are at top gear towards rescuing built environment from under regulations.

‘It is important that the synergy with sister organizations be maintained to defeat quackery and under-performance of the industry which is key to national development.

‘Already implementation of the housing budgets at national and State levels is on the way; critical MDAs like Tetfund and Housing Corporations, UBE, SUBEB, etc are embarking on projects. So also are private sector housing developers. Builders must engage to create awareness. In this regards, integrity processes that have reached State Assemblies or even at the level of Executive Council action, should be conclusive.

He recalled that it is now three years since the collapse of a five-storey residential building at 63, Massey Street lta-Faaji, Lagos Island on the 13th March 2019.

‘Three years have passed in which a great deal has happened both in our personal lives and the environment around us, yet, the calamitous collapse at Ita-Faaji still feels like yesterday as we recollect with shock, the loss of 20 school children who were victims of a reckless conversion of a residential development to a school building eliciting worldwide condemnation.

‘The gory pictures of children scampering for life and the awful rubble that resulted from a once flourishing building edifice remains a huge devastation to not only Builders (who count their joy in the numbers of buildings standing) but also to the entire humanity whose future have been partly extinguished by the loss of precious young gems.

‘The choice of 13th March of every year by Nigerian Builders to commemorate Builders Day is therefore significant not because the collapse of the building at Ita-Faaji was exceptional but the loss of unquantifiable potentials of greatness that the demised children represent, provide a platform for reflection and activism around the dagers of building collapse; the Ita-Faaji tragedy of 2019 signposts the great need for renewal and reinforcements in our urban development strategies which covers planning, design, construction, occupancy and post occupancy circles in the life of buildings.

Of course before and after Ita-Faaji, the drama of collapse of buildings during and after construction across the national landscape has continued to remain an embarrassment to the building profession which is expected to provide the nation with tested and proven technologies and skills for the creation of building stock which is key to capital asset creation and welfare of citizens. Ita-Faaji as well provides platform to continually interrogate the invasion of the national building industry space by the activities of quacks, the unacceptable levels of substandard materials and components, and often times, inadequacy of regulatory frameworks for building development in the country. This is so pervasive to the extent that a building collapse risk has gradually become synonymous with many building development initiatives across the length and breath of the country.

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