Independence: Experts commend monuments integrity, task building professionals on quality construction

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By Grace Alegba

Lagos, Oct. 1, 2020 As Nigeria celebrates her 60th Independence Anniversary, stakeholders in the ‘Built Environment’ on Thursday carried out Building Condition Survey on Pre-independence buildings still standing strong after 60 to 200 years in Lagos.

The Programme organised by the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) in collaboration with
Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL) and its sister agency, was to understand the secret of the construction in order to improve on local construction to end incessant building collapse.

The event was tagged ‘Heritage Day 2020’ for building condition survey for pre-independence buildings.

Naija247news reports the inspection started with the testing of the popular Mohammed Shitta-Bey mosque on Martins Street on Lagos Island constructed in 1892.

The NIOB National President, Mr Kunle Awobodu expressed joy after going round to note that all the original construction materials used were still intact.

Awobodu said that it was theoretically asumed that the lifespan of building should be 60 years, and since Nigeria is 60 the survey became necessary to know the construction methods and to effect repairs if necessary.

“To some people Lagos Island is synonymous to collapse, but that is a contradiction because the Brazilians and other colonial masters constructed buildings that have stood the test of time.

“We are to examine this mosque to study the materials used and know how it was able to weather the storm to stand the test of time,” he said.

He said that the NIOB would study the timber and other materials which would because objects of research for the NIOB to make housing projects durable to stop importation of building materials.

The NIOB president also studied the survey documents before the LSMTL began carrying out tests on the building.

In the same vein, the General Manager, Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL), Dr Afolabi Tajudeen said that it was amazing that even the ornamented decorative walls colours did not fade.

Tajudeen called for use of quality tested construction materials to ensure the right aggregates are used to ensure durable constructions that could stand centuries like the mosque.

He said that the LSMTL has carried out Non Destructive Tests (NDT) on “thousands of buildings since the flag-off of the NDT programme in June, to ensure incessant building collapse ends in Lagos State”.

He said that the agency had intensified its awareness campaigns on various media platforms across all divisions in the state, to sensitive developers, the public and other stakeholders on the dangers of compromising quality of materials responsible for building collapse.

“In the past building professionals obeyed rules by using the right aggregates and materials that is why those building lasted and they are still strong and standing today,” he said.

He added that LSMTL would carry out survey on identified buildings free of charge.

Meanwhile, Alhaja Kafayat Shitta-Bey grand-daughter of Mohammed Shitta-Bey said the mosque is 126 years old, and was built by Portuguese artisans.

“For 126 years we have never replaced any block here,” she said.

Other buildings surveyed include Water House constructed by a Brazilian returnee, Mr Candido Da Rocha in 1874.

His 92 year old granddaughter, Mrs Yewande Oyediran said her own mother altered the design, by extending the part she inherited on a portion of the building in 1967.

“The building has a roof garden but I have not been there in 10 years,” she said.

She gave a history of the of how some relatives were kidnapped and taken away as slaves, and her grandfather Candido return at the age of seven and died at the age of 92

“The Extension was built in 1967 and the entire building is 146 years old,” she said

She, however, lamented the neglect of the building tagged a ‘National Monument’ by the Federal Government.

Also, the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA), Mrs Biola Kosegbe, enumerated efforts being made to stem the tide of incessant building collapses in Lagos, promising to continue to partner with sister agencies and professional bodies

Mr Adesina Aladeloba of Yaba College of Technology and Chairman Technical for Building for Buildings and Civil Engineering Materials Standard, called for good maintainace culture saying that there cannot be sustainance without maintenance”.

Also Prof. Martin Dada, Department of Building, University of Lagos said that the inspection would help determine what areas of the building would require attention as well as new areas to explore in construction methodology and research.

He joined other stakeholders on the inspection to lament lack of record for most old buildings in the nation adding that, documented evidence from the survey will become objects for research.

The NIOB was joined on the trip by its members and excutives from Lagos and other parts of the country well as members of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.

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