Bamgbose-Martins promise to achieve collapse without construction

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The new Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development of Lagos State, Mr Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins has pledged to achieve a no-build collapse in the state, saying he has a mandate to achieve this objective of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The commissioner said this when he hosted a roundtable with construction industry professionals and stakeholders to propose sustainable solutions to building collapse incidents in the state.

He recognized the need for the state government to work with construction professionals to bring common sense back to the industry and also expand the scope of monitoring and inspection activities of the Building Control Agency of Lagos State (LASBCA) to all parts of the metropolis.

Mr Bamgbose-Martins further promised to implement the recommendations made during the event marked Panel discussion on the roles of professionals in effective monitoring and staged inspection – a solution to building collapse.

He said that to show its seriousness about this, the state government would suspend the approval of additional floors on already existing buildings and changes to approvals for additional floors, noting that this was to defeat random physical development and the collapse of buildings.

“For now, building approvals will now be based on the number of floors requested since this building was created.

“We will discourage the granting of approvals for additional floors different from the number of floors that were previously approved when construction work originally began,” the commissioner said.

Responding to concerns raised by professional bodies about blaming individuals or organizations found guilty of incidents of building collapses, the Commissioner assured stakeholders that no one, including government officials, would be covered for wrongdoing, lack of professionalism or any unethical conduct.

He advocated for a real change of attitude from government officials, property developers, professional bodies, members of the public and other relevant stakeholders, saying that with the right attitude, incidents of collapse of buildings would be reduced to a strict minimum.

Earlier, Governor Sanwo-Olu’s special adviser on e-GIS and planning issues, Mr. Olajide Babatunde described the choice of the new commissioner as a fair and considered decision by the governor.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Abiola Kosegbe, underscored the need to enforce established processes during the construction works, saying “How can we ensure that developers wishing to maximize profits follow guidelines when construction professionals fail to enforce site inspection and design compliance”.

Rather than disparage members of government, Mr Kosegbe said stakeholders should see the task of monitoring and ensuring that building designs are followed by developers as a joint responsibility that should not be left to the single government.

Also contributing, LASBCA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Gbolahan Oki, remarked that the current administration understands and recognizes the importance of civic engagement in achieving its policy direction which informed the stakeholder roundtable.

He implored all those involved in the construction process to adopt a genuine/positive change of attitude as this will go a long way to nip in the bud the incidences of collapsing buildings in Lagos State.

Jennifer C. Burleigh