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Cracks in the Foundation

Cracks in the Foundation

If you think handling a building project comes with a lot of stress then you can easily imagine the horrors that accompany the collapse of a building structure. Excluding the evident loss in anticipated profits, liability with respect to loss of life and reputation is inevitable. There is an Igbo proverb which says that “One finger which is stained with oil ultimately affects all the other fingers”. In the same vein building collapses do not just happen. I believe a series of neglected occurrences would have created a snowball effect resulting in an eventual collapse.

With no fewer than fifty cases of building collapses reported annually in the country, there is an overall consensus in introducing adequate quality control when undertaking building projects. The introduction of international quality standards (ISO 9000) as a guide towards curtailing the prevalence of substandard projects is a welcome development. The usual ‘it doesn’t matter you can do it this way’, ‘once it’s standing, then it is strong’ or ‘this is how we normally do it’ shouldn’t be the practice anymore.

Fewer people are as important as the building engineer during the construction process. The role of the building engineer is important because most building collapse cases have been attributed to structural failure. The job of a building engineer is to ensure that all fundamental processes as required by regulatory and international standards with respect to the structural integrity of the building project is adhered to. This process ranges from testing the soil integrity to determine the type of foundation to be adopted, the thickness of rods to be used as well as the strength of the cement blocks.

Completing a structural design without relying on accurate soil test report is equivalent to “the death of a man beginning as an appetite”. Until building contractors begin to emphasisepromoting good practices and clients insist on engaging trusted professionals only, building collapses would only continue to be the order of the day.


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