We have witnessed building collapses in several parts of the world where these have resulted in an enormous loss of human life, huge housing investments and properties.Clearly, studies have shown that the building collapse frequency and its consequences are more devastating in developing countries. In Nigeria, the trend has become quite worrying. Ultimately, many researchers identify natural and man-made forces as causal factors.
Causes of building collapse
Notably, there is a higher risk of collapse in a building under construction or repair. A large number of building collapses have been attributed to poor housing planning, coastal urban development, and geometrical population growth. It is essential to note that there are always adverse effects every time a building collapses.
Let’s look at some of the major causes of building collapse.
Sub-Standard Building Materials and Design Errors
A good structure is designed to support standard loads without deformation. These could include the weight of people and objects, wind, rain, and the building’s own weight. A badly constructed house fails to consider the loads to be carried by the construction. Furthermore, it implies mistakes in computing, dependence on incorrect information and incorrect material selection.
This could include the incorrect concrete mix ratio, broad column spacing, insufficient planing and struting, failure to adhere to the mix layout, insufficient concrete healing, absence of quality control, among others. In most instances, the contractor makes these blunders while attempting to cut cost.
Not Using Professionals
In particular, we can trace most preventable errors on construction sites to a sharp increase in semi-qualified and unqualified structural engineers managing construction. For one thing, structural engineers are liable for load assessment, building integrity and structure design. Their job is to detect and prevent any errors that could readily lead to a construction project collapse. If however they lack the necessary qualification, they become liabilities instead.
The foundation of a building is quite crucial in determining its strength and they can cost up to half the price of the structure. Consequently, some unscrupulous builders will try to compromise on materials and workmanship in order to cut costs. Therefore, when constructing the foundation of a housing or commercial unit, it is essential to consider closely the solidity of the soil and the weight of the construction.
Unexpected modes of failure
As one of the hardest to cope with, this involves natural disasters such as earthquakes, tremors, landslides, floods, and hurricanes. Builders should therefore construct disaster resistant buildings in regions susceptible to natural disasters . Structural engineers can provide advise on the best materials to use and the measures to put in place.
Building Collapse Remedy
In order to prevent future occurrences of building collapses, both the government as regulators and the property owners need to exercise certain measures to check those involved in construction. The government should have a construction code and reinforce compliance. To reduce the risk of unqualified workers, government must introduce a database of qualified builders and engineers where prospective property owners can source for qualified staff.
Those investing in the construction industry should be keen to follow the guidelines required for the type of building they are carrying out. The builder should hire qualified personnel and employ professional labor to ensure a stable structure.
Many errors made by builders lead buildings to collapse. Adherence to a strict construction code and better laws can be solve most of the challenges. Some developers tend to erect illegal constructions to already approved plans. The government should destroy such buildings and penalise erring builders.