The Lagos State Government has established an additional Material Testing Laboratory Satellite office at Okokomaiko, on the outskirts of Lagos, to checkmate building collapse and bring services of the agency closer to the people.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu made the disclosure at the 2nd Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory Stakeholders conference on Thursday in Lagos.
The theme of the conference is: “Socio – Economic Impact of Building and Civil Infrastructure Collapse in Mega Cities”.
Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat urged stakeholders, particularly professionals in the construction industry, to ensure voluntary compliance.
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According to him, there is need to adhere to existing rules, regulations and guidelines, including proper testing of construction materials from project conception, through implementation to completion.
Reeling out some of the efforts to reposition the agency, Sanwo-Olu said government had procured specialised testing equipment and more operational vehicles to improve the agency’s reach.
According to the governor, the satellite office will be operational before the end of the third quarter of the year.
“In addition, approval have been granted for the engagement of both technical and non-technical consultants, to facilitate the operations of the agency in the areas of carrying out non-destructive tests and serving of test notices, across the state.
“We have taken this step as a proactive approach to the identification of distressed buildings for quick and appropriate intervention,” he said.
The governor added that his administration was committed to ensuring that the incidents of avoidable building collapse and the resultant loss of lives became a thing of the past.
He said: “This is a cost effective and efficient approach to all parties as against the loss that will be incurred by property owners and cost of enforcement on the part of the government when the option of demolition becomes inevitable.”
Sanwo-Olu then commended the organisers of the conference, noting that he was optimistic that suggestions and recommendations from the conference would be found useful in enriching policies and regulatory capacity, effectiveness and efficiency.
“This will be achieved by compelling all the finalised decisions, such that it comes for debate at the Executive Council Meeting and subsequently to the House of Assembly, if a law needs to be enacted or reenacted,” he said.
On his part, Mr Olufunsho Elulade, General Manager, Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL) while delivering his welcome address, said the agency had zero tolerance for building and civil engineering infrastructure collapses.
He said the agency, had presence in all Local Government Areas of the state.
According to him, the agency has excelled in carrying out soil testing and evaluation, concrete, steel, chemical, calibration, non destructive tests and geotechnics.
He urged stakeholders to proffer solutions to the recent developments across the state, in the area of incessant building collapse.
He attributed the development to sharp practices by building construction practitioners, which was impacting the socio-economic activities, health and safety of residents negatively.
“In realising our set standard of maintaining decorum within the sector, we will implore you to partner with us so as to deliver on this administration T.H.E.M.E.S agenda procedures as mandated by the governor of Lagos state.
“We are going to enforce and mitigate on the environment risk associated with collapse of buildings in the state.
“As part of our new initiatives, benchmarking with other global civil infrastructure standards, we are committed to our flow of engagements with our stakeholders.
“This is for a robust and more pragmatic solutions to the negative effects of all the shortfalls within the building and civil engineering sector, with our new operational initiatives to restrict contraventions of the laws guiding the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory,” he said.
The Secretary to the committee panel on Collapse Building in Lagos state, Mr Ekundayo Onajobi said there was need for Nigerians, especially the regulatory agencies, to consider a campaign and sensitisation against all forms of quacks in the sector.
He added that this should be extended to building control and development.
Onajobi urged government, individuals and regulatory agencies to also launch a campaign aimed at requesting for Certificate of Approval and Completion, by all intending occupiers of building.
He advised that materials must be tested and a certificate of material testing, be acquired before a building is occupied.
“Before you occupy a building, intending occupiers must request for a certificate of completion/physical planning certification, from the regulatory agencies.
“Also, block producers must get approval/certificate of material testing, before selling out their blocks or those used for construction and standards of materials, must be checked and certified,” he stated.