INTRO: The increasing spate of buildings collapse in Nigeria inspired this post. The most macabre of the horrible incidences was the September 12, 2014 SCOAN Church building collapse in Lagos, Nigeria which claimed a total of 115 lives who were mostly South Africans. The Church argued that the collapse was caused by an unidentified aircraft which allegedly hovered over the building before it crumbled. While the unidentified aircraft theory remains contestable, below are the real reasons why buildings collapse.
1/ Buildings Collapse Due to Professional Incompetence: Some of the civil engineers parading the streets and offices for contracts are quacks, while majority of them are self-acclaimed. They end up erecting buildings of several architectural infractions. For instance, concrete before being approved is supposed to have passed through three different stages called batching, testing and curing. If a civil engineer hasn’t the full knowledge of these processes, the resultant building is most likely to be defective.
2/ Buildings Collapse Due to Faulty Foundation: Different forms of foundations are designed for different types of buildings and lands. Sometimes, foundation alone depending on the type of the land and building would need almost half of the money for the building before it could pass for strength. Civil engineers or even the owners of buildings try to cut cost and end up erecting the building on a faulty foundation that in no distant time would lead to a mighty collapse of the building.
3/ Buildings Collapse Due to Overload: The amount of loads that a building will carry are taken into consideration during its construction. There are three types of loads that a typical building must have to carry, failure of which, a tragedy will strike. These loads are: dead loads, live loads and wind loads. Dead loads are the materials used in constructing the building such as sand, cements and irons. This type of loads is compulsory for every building. Live loads are the things packed into the house such as people, household property and the likes. And finally, just as the name suggests, wind load is the pressure from the wind. Any building that receives loads beyond its carrying capacity is bound to fall.
4/ Buildings Collapse Due to Change in Structural Design: Cases abound where original plans of buildings were jettison for a new one in the middle of the construction process or during reconstruction, during which time, more often than not, more floors were added. As a matter of fact, the SCOAN Church collapse was allegedly caused by the change in the original plan of the building, and the building like house of cards, crumbled perhaps due to either of the resultant reason numbers one, two and three above, or all of them.
5/ Buildings Collapse Due to Fake or Substandard Products: In a despicable bid to make more money, manufacturers make fake and substandard products which greedy civil engineers patronize for their selfish reasons. The building material markets in Nigeria are awash with fake and substandard products which are sold in their quantities for use in construction of buildings. This explains to a large extent the incessant collapse of buildings in Nigeria.
6/ Buildings Collapse Due to Natural Disasters: This is rare in Nigeria, unlike the countries of Europe and America where earthquakes, cyclones, hurricanes and the likes have brought buildings down. In Nigeria however, disasters such as flooding and fire outbreaks have led to the collapse buildings.
7/ Buildings Collapse Due to Age: Many buildings that have outlived their spans have collapsed in Nigeria. It is the law of nature that whatever goes up must surely come down. The high-rises in various cities of the country must in one way or another come down in its time. The Lagos State Government for instance, has been on demolition campaign, bringing down old and rickety buildings in the State in order to avoid impending dooms.