By Okunade Adekunle, Lagos
Stakeholders in the physical planning and building industry have advocated for the engagement of qualified professionals in the monitoring of sites by the State government, calling for the removal of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LAHACA) from the control of Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and be headed by a professional.
The stakeholders made this call at a-Day Stakeholders’ Meeting on Lagos State
Physical Planning Permit Regulations 2018, Building Control Regulations 2018 as well as the Urban and Regional Planning and
Development Amendment Bill 2015 organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly.
In his comment, the Chairman of Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos State Chapter, Mr Fitzgerald Umah, argued that state did not have qualified manpower to address the issues of building collapse.
Umah said that the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development (MPP&UD) should work out a way to ensure that professionals take responsibilities for the jobs done.
The Vice Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr Lukmon Oshodi, who lamented that the rank of Lagos as city was relatively low in respect to building regulations, called for engagement of qualified professionals.
Oshodi, however, harped on the implementation and enforcement of regulations and also advocated for accredited certifiers.
A former General Manager, Lagos State Urban Renewal Authority (LASURA), Yusuf Sulaimon, argued that the e-planning permit being proposed required adequate infrastructure before commencement., calling for engagement of private consultants because of staff shortage.
The Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Prof. Joseph Odigure, said that design and construction should be separated into two units rather than being fused.
Also, Mr Kunle Awobodu of the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), pointed out that people employed by Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA) to monitor sites were not qualified, saying that professional builders should be engaged in building demolition and deconstruction to avoid unnecessary injuries by quacks.
While contributing, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Rotimi Ogunleye, disclosed that the executive bill was transmitted to the House in 2017 to ensure a well-knitted building development in the state.
Ogunleye explained that base on the challenges on the field there was the need for an agency to do integrity and material test.
He said that the Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL) law operations were relevant to the MPP & UD, hence it should not be deleted as being proposed.
Ogunleye further said that the ministry had been finding it problematic implementing
the section 74 of the extant law, which bothers on forfeiture of property.
Earlier, The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt(Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, who was represented by his deputy, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, explained that the regulations and amendments would make the state’s physical planning process better and put a stop to building collapses.
Obasa, who highlighted recent cases of building collapse where school children were victims, said that such tragedy could be prevented if every hand were on deck with enabling regulations.
He stressed, “We appreciate your presence and we feel that the state and all of us would be better for it at the end of the day. On March 13th 2019 there was a building collapse in Ita Faaji and many pupils died.
“On 25th of March, 2019 another building collapsed in Kaakawa area of Lagos Island. All those stories that touch the heart are preventable if all of us do the right thing.
“I want to believe that these three regulations touch on aspects of constructing buildings. I believe that if all officers adhere strictly
to all these, there would not be building collapse in Lagos Island or anywhere”, said Obasa.
The Speaker added, “We all have duties to protect the vulnerable children and adults
that were affected by the building collapse. We should do all we can to protect our buildings. Your inputs matter in all regulations.’’
However, while explaining the regulations, the Majority Leader of the House, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, said that the building control and planning permit regulations were to further standandise and enhance building and planning in the state.
Agunbiade, noted that the public hearing was to awaken consciousness of everybody as regards building development to make all ugly
incidents of building collapse a thing of the past.
He said that the Building Control Regulations has three parts which included-Notice, Plans and Certificates; Building Construction and
Development and Statutory Notices, Offences and Penalties.
On the Physical Planning Permit Regulations, Agunbiade said that the regulations comprised approval to carry out development, application
for planning permit, submission of application among others.
On a bill for a law to amend the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2015, he said that the amendment to the bill would
give life to the regulations.
According to Agunbiade, the bill seeks to amend 11 out of the 103 sections of the extant law, and introduce a new 27 sections as well as
repeal a Lagos State Model City Development Authority law.
He said that the Model City Development Authority would now be put under the ministry of physical planning.
Meanwhile, in his opening speech, the Chairman of the House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, Hon. David Sentoji, said that the public hearing was to ensure proper building development and end the causes of incessant building collapse in the state .
Sentoji, however, identified civil service bureaucracy as one of the factors delaying
approval of permits, saying that the essence of the regulations was to end all building challenges.