Architect’s and Geologist’s View on the Causes of Building Failures in Nigeria

  •  Amadi A. N.    
  •  Eze C. J.    
  •  Igwe C. O.    
  •  Okunlola I. A.    
  •  Okoye N. O.    


The collapse of building in most cases is associated with loss of life and properties. The incessant failures of building nowadays are so enormous that it has become a serious concern to the professionals in the building industry, clients, governments, and the general public. Most of the times, the architect and engineer who are directly involved in the construction of such building are held responsible for building failures while the geologist’s input is neglected. The frequent collapse of some buildings in major cities in Nigeria can be attributed to absence of a geotechnical report on the project site before, during and after the construction exercise. Studies have shown that geotechnical investigation report of a four storey residential building covering 420 m2 at No. 56 Bola Street, Ebute-Metta, Lagos, that collapsed on 26th July, 2006 was as a result of the existence of reddish brown silty clayey material and compressible waste material like wood, plastic and nylon occurring from ground surface to about 11 m on which a shallow strip foundation was used. More so, on 1st July, 2006, another 3- Storey building collapsed along Bank road, Port-Harcourt. The result of the liquid limit, plasticity index, shrinkage potential, moisture content, tri-axial stress range and coefficient of consolidation carried out on the two locations indicates that the soil have low bearing capacity. The collapsed of these buildings were attributed to under design, improper supervision, poor quality construction, poor funding, use of sub-standard construction materials and absence of geo-technical investigation and engagement of non-professionals (quacks). This paper therefore x-rays the causes of building failures in Nigeria and discusses how the solutions to natural and man-made factors can be integrated in order to mitigate or ameliorate future building collapse in Nigeria.

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