The President, Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), Arc. Umaru Aliyu has commiserated with Governor Udom Emmanuel, families of victims and entire people of Akwa Ibom State over the Reigners Bible Church building collapse on December 10th.
Arc. Aliyu who addressed journalists in Uyo during a visit to the state to condole with the government and people, said the losses incurred by the state as a result of the incident were huge and everyone should continue to pray for all those who were affected by the unfortunate calamity.
He however expressed confidence that with the step taken by the governor to set up a judicial Panel of Inquiry, Akwa Ibom has become the first state to do such a thing after a building collapse saying “The Judicial Panel of Inquiry I am sure will unearth all the causes of building collapse and this state would have set the pace for the rest of Nigeria in finding solutions to building collapse in Nigeria. I am confident that when the report is out, it will become a hand-out not only for Akwa Ibom but the whole of Nigeria will benefit from it”.
According to him, the building sector of the construction industry in Nigeria had been bastardized because a lot of people who are not professionals have assigned themselves roles which they have no knowledge about, thereby building houses which collapse to kill and maim people.
In Architecture, the ARCON President said, since 2008, the council had taken steps to ensure Architects renew their practice licenses yearly to enable them practise but noted that untrained people have gone ahead to forge the licenses, stamps and seals issued by ARCON.
“However, we are taking a step further to deal with this problem. What we have instructed registered Architects to do is that upon getting a job, they should also go on to get a letter from their clients that they will be the ones to supervise the building they design. When this is done they will put the design on-line for ARCON to access it, give it a number and the number must appear on every sheet of the design”
Arc. Aliyu, maintained that henceforth Architects will be expected to insist on supervising building after designing them as against previous practice in which third parties take the design and supervise projects.
The President also urged Akwa Ibom State and other states yet to domesticate the National Building Code to do so urgently saying “since 2006 the Federal Executive Council and National Council of States approved the National Building Code but so far only about three states have domesticated it. What is before the National Assembly is a bill for enforcement of the provision in the approved code. So it is important for states to domesticate this code to preserve lives and properties of foreigners and indigenes of the state.”
Arc. Aliyu revealed that by the spirit and letters of the code, the Architect is at the centre of any construction adding that “every other professional would work according to his or her design and this is why the Architect must be allowed to supervise the entire process which he is to authenticate finally, after other professional have signed”
The President who also decried the high rate of substandard building materials in the market, said the way to defeat greedy business men who go abroad to buy substandard products., is for Architects to work according to the law and supervise all materials brought to the site.
He said even if the material has been fixed the Architect can ask for it to be opened up adding that “for the Architect not to be liable in the event of a collapse, then he ought to check the materials. If he finds out the materials are original ones, then the client will pay money for it to be fixed again. But if it is found out that they were substandard, the contractor will lose the money he spent and then supply the original one”