Architects urge Lagos to outsource project monitoring

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To curb incessant failure of structures in the country, the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) Lagos chapter has reiterated the need for authorities to outsource monitoring of building sites to professionals in the industry.

The Chairman, Lagos chapter of NIA, Mr. David Majekodunmi, said this during a media briefing on Architects Forum (LAF 14.0) in Lagos. He observed that almost 10 decades ago, it was established that over 48,000 construction sites existed in Lagos and only 2,000 of such sites have government approvals.

Majekodunmi disclosed that its forum, Lagos: ‘An Evolving Organism,’ which will be held next month, is expected to highlight the dynamic nature of Lagos as a rapidly growing and evolving city, with a diverse population, complex infrastructure and a rich cultural heritage.

According to him, the theme will drive conversation about how Lagos can evolve in a sustainable and equitable way, addressing the challenges facing the city, such as traffic congestion, inadequate housing, environmental degradation and social inequality, while capitalising on its strengths such as its vibrant culture, diverse economy and entrepreneurial spirit.

The Chairman said: “The world is evolving; we are talking about green architecture, intellectual property and digitalisation. Everything is no longer manual or physical, but we are in a digital world. We want to see how we can help in making architecture sustainable and flow in line with best global practice.”

Look at what happened in Banana Island, there is a lot of a factor to it. Up till now, we can not establish who the architect for the project is, the consultants behind it but if it were to be abroad, you will know who is the architect, because it is in the law. There has to be a project signboard, which tells you the name of the consultants and contractors. When the building collapse happened, we went to Banana Island, but we couldn’t gain access. The problem with Nigeria is attitudinal problem and quackery.”

He also challenged government to ensure regular stakeholders meetings and not wait till disasters happened before calling for such meetings, adding that the media must be active in advocacy for sustainable development.

The chapter’s Vice Chairman, Mr. Biodun Fatunyi, said there is need for increased advocacy to tame the collapse of buildings in Nigeria. He said his association has introduced a new programme called, Architects Intervention Programme to help government in the fight against quackery, document ongoing projects, ensure that the building industry is safe for all and serve as revenue generation to government.

Fatunyi said: “We need to continuously educate the public to engage the right professionals and should not consider the cost but the benefit. There is a need for synergy between the professionals, the press and public. All hands must be on deck to fight the menace. LAF 14.0 will bring together all stakeholders form public and private sectors to discuss the trends that digitalisation has brought to Lagos in terms of zoning system, transportation, population development, climatic conditions and how Lagos is reacting to these changes. We will send recommendations from the forum to government for policy making.”

On her part, the Secretary of the chapter, Moniba Odunlami, revealed that students of tertiary institutions studying architecture would have opportunity to showcase their knowledge during a special contest at the forum.

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