‘Preventing Calamity’! Gov. Sanwoolu Seals Gerrard, Ikoyi High-rise

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‘Preventing Calamity’! Gov. Sanwoolu Seals Gerrard, Ikoyi High-rise

‘Preventing Calamity’! Gov. Sanwoolu Seals Gerrard, Ikoyi High-rise
July 05
15:19 2020

…owners did not get approval

By Oluwaseun Iluyomade

The Lagos State Government has been making frantic efforts to address the environmental pollution that is gradually drowning the serenity of Ikoyi, as it makes no pretence about its resolve to nip in the bud any act of lawlessness with regards to the bourgeoning real estate business in the area. There is no gainsaying the fact that the once serene pricey abode is giving way to the now boisterous noisy landscape largely occupied by the super-rich.

Standing on vast expanse of land, the four towers (ten-floor each) being built on Gerrard Road, were meant to be an architectural masterpiece mounted to add luxury and beauty to the serene Ikoyi landscape. At least, the builders must have had that in mind besides the prime motivation of profit making. It therefore beats one hollow when such a massive project was seen few days ago under lock and seal with big inscription instructing that work should stop on the property. 

What could have warranted such an order? Findings show that Lagos State Government is miffed with the property developers and owners for embarking on such a project without subjecting it to procedural approvals from the state government and other authorities vested with the mandate to ensure compliance with standards and quality. In other words, the massive project has been sealed for lack of approvals from required quarters, as Lagos State Government has risen stoutly and promptly to halt the gargantuan project.

According to an inside source who spoke in anonymity, the State Government took the action to seal the building in order to ensure that what happened with Lekki Gardens Estate when its on-going six-storey building collapsed on March 8, 2016 would not be witnessed again in the state.

“It is unheard of that the owners of the Ikoyi project in question would embark on such a capital intensive project without obtaining required approvals for a project as massive as that. Gone are the days of negligence on the part of the government when people flout the law. Sealing up the project is law taking its due course.

“The owners of this project have shown themselves to be defiant and obstinate, in that the state ministry of Land and Physical Planning had been calling on them to without paying attention to what the ministry had been calling their attention to.

“It does not benefit the state to stop economically viable projects like the project on Gerrard Road in Ikoyi, but the responsibility falls on the government that all rules and regulations guiding such buildings are strictly adhered to.

“What the government has done is to halt further construction with a view to assessing and evaluating the extent to which the builders had adhered to the building code. The state will take it up from there.  

“The government will not fold its arm and watch people behave recklessly without order and accountability. We are talking about people’s lives here. The state will no longer tolerate such attitude from anybody no matter how highly placed they may be,” the source said.

Building collapse has been a regular occurrence in Lagos State in the recent years. In 2016, about six (6) cases of fatal building collapses were recorded in state alone. Technocrats and analysts have at one time or the other blamed the high incidence on weak building process and/or poor physical development control. 

Building collapse leaves on its trail with wastes of financial resources, in some cases, wastes of human life, waste of time invested in construction and clearing of debris on site after collapse, and waste of building materials. The reputation of the construction company is not spared either when it happens. 

The six-storey building which collapsed at Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Lagos State recorded 116 lost lives in November 2015. Over 30 casualties were reported in the one at Lekki Gardens in 2016.

In the cases experienced over the years, it was found out that majority of building collapses were due to substandard building materials, bad design, wrong foundation, wrong site, bad usage of the structure, poor technology and inexperienced contractor. In most cases, the buildings do not have approved building plans from either the local government or state ministry of Land and Physical Planning.

Collapsed buildings are those that the qualities have been compromised either due to the materials used, faulty design in place or the ground on which the buildings were erected, were badly made-up. Some projects in Nigeria are planned to fail because the project owners or sponsors refused to employ competent project managers, engineers and builders.

It is a known fact that traditionally, projects start with the client who engages, in most cases, his architect to design the project. He then contracts a project manager to oversee the design and construction. For any project that is more than one floor, structural engineer must be engaged to design and supervise the structures.

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