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Curbing Distressed Buildings’ Disaster In Nigeria

Published in Environment
Wednesday, 28 October 2015 08:00

With building collapse one of the biggest killers of people in Nigeria, the urgency to avert further loss of lives and property caused mainly by use of substandard materials and distressed building in the country cannot be over emphasised.

Industry watchers argue that such buildings ought not to have collapsed and killed people if the government had taken its responsibility to protect lives and property seriously.

Due to the tragedy associated with building collapse, Lagos State government for instance, has been very worried that more buildings have continued to collapse in its metropolis killing people.

This prompted the state government to continue to warn Lagos residents to avoid living in buildings that betray signs of weakness, particularly those that have been marked as structurally distressed by relevant agencies of government.

The crusade was more intense during the era of immediate past commissioner for physical planning and urban development, Mr Toyin Ayinde, in the state who emphasised that such warning was imperative.

According to him, having identified a defective structure, the urgent need to evacuate the occupants was necessary because they constitute a great risk to those living in them.

He further explained that the tragedies recorded could have been avoided if the occupants had obeyed government’s order sealing the buildings when it noticed signs of distress.

He averred that it was high time the residents learnt to put value on human lives instead of property by reporting promptly any illegal construction activity, structurally deficient and distressed buildings in their neighborhoods, to the appropriate government agencies.

According to Ayinde, said such information when received, would be treated with confidentiality.

Beyond the media hype , it seems that the government lacked the political will to check the system. For instance when a storey building collapsed in Ebute Metta area of Lagos killing at least eight persons, 20 new buildings in Ebutte Metta, Yaba Local Council Development Area, were identified by Lagos State government to be distressed and marked for demolition.

Apart from carrying out a sensitisation and awareness campaign by the agency in Ebutte Metta axis of the state, the former managing director of Lagos State Building Control Agency, (LASBCA), Mrs Abimbola Animashaun, said: “Since the commencement of the enlightenment exercise , we have identified about 20 buildings, apart from the one that we have identified before.

“Out of these, we have identified five that should be demolished completely because they can cave in soon. We have issued several appeals to the owners of these buildings, to conduct Integrity test on the buildings but they were not yielding.

“We were in Lagos Island and this week is Lagos Mainland, to tell the residents about the need to alert the government whenever they discover any distressed or building under construction that doesn’t have any signboard to show that the state government was aware of the construction. That means the ongoing construction was done illegally. The agency will continue with its enlightenment campaign. We will not stop the enlightenment campaigns, it will be a continuous exercise.”

Despite the much touted sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns, the city of Lagos was once again recently thrown into a state of confusion when a three- storey building collapsed at Swamp Street, Off Odunfa Street in Lagos Island.

The residents who live on the street said they had always predicted doom for the occupants due to the cracks that littered the walls.

Bola Ogundipe , a resident explained that the collapse of the building popularly known as ‘civilian barracks’ was not a surprise to them, saying the death toll would have been high if some of the occupants of the building, particularly those on the third floor had not escaped from the building.

According to Bola, “ We standing outside our house and many other people were outside too and all of a sudden we heard a sound as a big object fell and people started running here and there and we looked towards civilian barracks direction and discovered it was the building that collapsed.

“ If you look at the building the government had issued warnings on the building before the building collapsed and warned the owners and people living there to leave but they refused.

More painful was the case of an elderly woman that was exhumed from the rubble alive carried on a stretcher, with an oxygen mask placed on her mouth and nostrils before she was conveyed to a standby Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS) to hospital where she later died.

As expected, the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LSBCA) taken stock of distressed buildings in the area reputed to habour so many distressed buildings.

The general manager LSBCA, Shola Aderigbebe, said many buildings were marked for integrity test and 14 days ultimatum served the residents, saying lack of compliance by residents on safety directives caused the eventual collapse.

“We have been dealing with all distress buildings, but it is pathetic that residents do not yield to warnings. For this building, we have served them 14 days ultimatum.

“The ultimatum has expired before today. We asked them to conduct Structural Stability Test (SST) and they agreed. We were still waiting for them to conduct the test before the building collapsed.

“The test would have helped us ascertain if the building was distressed or not. Some buildings can be defective but when the test is conducted, we will be able to know if the building can be renovated or demolished.

“We have opened a file for the building. Marking a building does not mean we are demolishing because no building can be demolished until a test has been conducted to ascertain its stability.

“In the last four months, we have sealed 1,104 building for lack of compliance. Some are illegal structures, while some are distressed.”

Nigeria has been fifth in the cheapest luxury market in the emerging market with a value of $967.03 million per square.

In a survey conducted by Lamudi, a global property firm, Angola ranked first with $4. 513 billion per square while Ghana trailed with $1.169 billion.

Tunisia and Indonesia emerged 3rd and 4th respectively with $1.000 billion and $983 million with Nigeria coming 5thwith $967.03 million.

Other countries ranked include, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Mexico, Colombia and Kenya Fast-growing Ethiopia is the cheapest place in the world’s emerging markets to buy luxury property, according to a new ranking.

Top end real estate in the country costs around $448 per square metre while luxury property in Angola is ten times more expensive at over $4,500 per square metre. Africa’s second most populous country, Ethiopia is also one of Africa’s top economic performers.

Its economy is expected to expand 8.6 percent this year and 8.5 percent in 2016, compared with 10.3 percent growth last year, the International Monetary Fund stated.

While Ethiopia comes top in the “cheap league”, Ivory Coast is next in line, with a square metre of posh home, costing around $483, and third is Tanzania, where classy real estate costs $549 per sq m. Prices for Angolan luxury property were pushed to extremes as a result of the country’s oil boom after the civil war ended in 2002.

Last year in New York City ultra- luxury apartments reached an average cost of $1,297 per square foot or approximately $13,800 per square metre, according to one estimate while a square metre in London’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea would set you back $18,270, about £12,000.

Meanwhile, Lamudi Nigeria has entered into a strategic partnership with leading mortgage bank, Imperial Homes Mortgage Bank Limited to improve and deepen access to affordable mortgage facilities.

It said, through its online mortgage calculator, property buyers can search for properties on the website and also estimate their potential.

According to it, the premium is only for its members in yearly subscription, basic yearly subscription, basic monthly subscription, premium monthly subscription, premium plus monthly subscription and premium plus yearly subscription members only.

Ogun Rehabilitates Roads

Published in Infrastructure
Monday, 26 October 2015 16:25

The Ogun State government has completed the rehabilitation of two federal roads within its domain in a bid to alleviate the problems faced by motorists and other road users. The roads are Owode- Ijako, in Ifo Local Government Area of the State and Sagamu- Ogijo road, Sagamu Local Government Area.

The Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Kayode Ademolake, in a statement by the agency’s spokesman Mr. Ayokunle Ewuoso, said the state government took the initiative to rehabilitate the roads because in recent times, the heavy down pour has almost cut off these roads including the Lagos- Abeokuta old road due to erosion.

“The Lagos-Abeokuta old road was badly damaged before we moved in to safe the situation about 500 metres of it was impassable; same thing happened to Ogijo-Sagamu road where about three locations were cut off by erosion,” the statement read.

Housing specialists back dry construction method

Published in Innovation
Monday, 26 October 2015 11:23

 

CONSTRUCTION specialists have added their voice to the call for the adoption of a new modern building system known as Kalsi Dry Construction method, which tends to translate the building process into an industrial process in the nation’s housing sector.

The system is a more versatile and faster construction method, allowing up to 70 percent construction time saving possible when compared with the traditional wet construction that involves using of bricks and blocks.

Unlike the traditional brick and block method, the system, requires minimum use of water and it generates minimum construction waste, preserves room temperature and provides energy efficiency.

The experts spoke at the launch of prototype house known as Kalsi Experience Centre by Nigerite Limited in the Lagos premises of the company. The centre consists of a duplex, which embodies the dynamism and precision of the Kalsi boards and offers a glimpse into the remarkable and endless possibilities of the dry construction system.

Commenting on the centre, Chairman Nigerian Institute of Architect, Ladipo Lewis, stated that the Kalsi building board was a welcome development and offers a fresh new possibility for the building and construction industry in Nigeria. He noted that it is high time Nigerians embraced change because of the numerous advantages therein.

Though, the concept of dry construction has been a well-known phenomenon around the world for many years, but it is still largely uncommon in Nigeria, that is why Nigerite Limited, knowing the inherent benefit of this method has taken the initiative to bring the building board solution to Nigeria”, said Nigerite managing Director, adding that Kalsi boards are not intended to displace the wet methods, but that it was meant to complement and create an alternative for builders.

The company however stressed that the advantages of the boards over the traditional methods are endless, capable of saving up to 70 percent of construction time. “It is also cost effective, more durable, stronger, lighter, more adaptable and allows for greater flexibility in construction design”.

Other benefits of the dry process are that it reduces wastages, allows for easy installation of pipes and other services, it is more environment friendly and energy efficient. “When it comes to cost benefit, the real value of the dry construction relies on key factors like speed of installation, the lowest level of maintenance, easy repair, minimal waste of material and optimization in material compared to brick and mortar.”

Chairman, Nigeria Institute of Builders (NIOB), Mr. Gbenga Asimiyu Bashir, noted that in most other parts of the world, dry construction has been an “in-thing”, noted that builders also accepted the building board solution and that it is time Nigeria accorded recognition of the product.
“This technology is acceptable to me and it will fly. I know that with time people will accept it”, Bashir concluded.

The National Vice Chairman, Nigeria Association of Civil Engineers (NACE), Dapo Onaeko, urged Nigerians to embrace the new technology, saying that Kalsi building board solutions that consist of cladding, siding/weather board, partition, ceiling, wet areas, floors, special applications and roof underlay, is a well tested product.

Apart from the foundation of the building, done with the wet process, the other parts of the construction embodied the beauty of the Kalsi building boards. And that included the floors, claddings, partitions, along with the internal and external walls and ceilings”, he said.

Earlier, Managing Director, Nigerite Nigeria Limited, Mr. Le Bris said that the innovative Kalsi board solutions from Nigerite are a step in the right direction, adding, “It is the future of Nigerite and the building industry in Nigeria.”

Rasheed Bisiriyu

Eighteen years after construction work commenced on the 276-kilometre standard gauge rail line linking Warri in Delta State to Ajaokuta, Kogi State, the project has not been delivered to the Federal Government.

The project, otherwise called the central railway line, was initially planned to be delivered in five years, but it was gathered on Sunday that the government would need about N40bn to fully get the line ready.

This indication emerged just as railway workers have written President Muhammadu Buhari opposing the plan by the government to privatise the nation’s railway services.

The rail line from Warri, passing through Itakpe, Ajaokuta, Agbor and Ore, with six stations along the route, was conceived to carry steel products and raw materials from the Delta Steel Company, Aladja, but was later abandoned after about 254 kilometres had been done due to lack of funds.

The project was reactivated in 2009 with the Federal Government agreeing to pay N33bn for the design and completion of the remaining 22 kilometres.

The contract was awarded to Team Nigeria and Julius Berger, and was meant to be delivered in March 2013. The contract sum also covered the sidings of the Ajaokuta-Warri rail line up to Delta Steel Aladja, and construction of six stations with the rehabilitation of the completed portion of the line.

No money was made available for the execution of the project even though about N45bn was budgeted for the Nigerian Railway Corporation for capital projects that year.

Curiously, the following year, the then Minister of Transport, Alhaji Suleiman Yusuf, had said after the review of the project that the contract had been revalued at N36bn.

The former minister, who had taken a ride on the completed section of the rail line, had said, “I’m satisfied and impressed today that with this four-hour train ride from Warri to Ajaokuta, we are sure to commence passenger services early next year.”

But that did not materialise.

The immediate past Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, had also in January this year promised that the project would be completed before the end of the former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration. But the government failed to fulfil the promise after it lost the 2015 presidential election to the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress.

The Senator Musa Adede-led Transport Committee at the recently held National Conference had recommended the completion of the abandoned rail project before the terminal date of the Jonathan administration.

It could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report the total cost of the entire project. Calls put through to the Managing Director of the NRC, Mr. Adeseyi Sijuwade, on Sunday were not answered.

The Assistant Director, Public Relations, NRC, Mr. Abdulmaroof Akinwoye, said the project was under the Federal Ministry of Transport, adding that he could not comment on it.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers has written to the Presidency to oppose the planned privatisation of the NRC.

In the letter, which was signed by its President, Mr. Raphael Okoro, the union urged the government to rescind its decision to privatise the railway sector, insisting that the decision would be counterproductive.

The union said the government should continue to fund the railway and allow credible professionals to manage the industry as currently being done in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Spain.

Privatisation, it said, would lead to corruption and joblessness, adding that politicians would sell the railway property to themselves and make the train services out of the reach of ordinary Nigerians.

The Federal Government had recently directed the Bureau of Public Enterprises to commence the privatisation of the NRC and other railway facilities across the country.

The National Council on Privatisation gave the directive to the BPE and the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility after its council meeting in Abuja.

It said the decision to reform the railway was borne out of the government’s desire to avoid its collapse and eventual shutdown.

A new railway bill, which is one of the eight reform bills recently approved by the NCP and the Federal Executive Council, is currently before the National Assembly for passage into law.

Africa: South Africa Opens Its Biggest Solar Plant

Published in Infrastructure
Monday, 26 October 2015 10:15
Photo: SolarReserve
The new 96 megawatt photovoltaic solar power project in South Africa's Northern Cape province.

The new 96 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar power project in South Africa's Northern Cape province is now online and will help the country meet its critical electricity needs.

The Jasper plant, near Kimberly, is the largest on the continent and can produce 180 000 megawatt-hours of energy a year for South African residents, enough to power up 80 000 homes.

The project was completed two months ahead of schedule and is fully operational, SolarReserve, the developer, announced on 11 November.

Jasper is located in a solar park near Kimberly that also includes the 75 MW Lesedi solar power project, which came online in May.

Also on the cards is the even-bigger 100 MW Redstone concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) tower. SolarReserve, along with partner ACWA Power, is bidding for the planned Redstone CSP project, which will use of SolarReserve's CSP technology with integrated energy storage.

As part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), a percentage of total project revenues from the Jasper project will be set aside for Enterprise Development and Socio-Economic Development for the benefit of the local communities.

"In addition to helping South Africa meet its critical electricity needs, the Jasper Project will bring long lasting economic benefits to the region," said SolarReserve's CEO Kevin Smith.

 

80 000 households

 
 

With more than 325 000 PV modules, the Jasper Project will deliver 180 000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity a year for South Africa residents - enough to power up to 80 000 households through a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom, the South African power utility company.

The project also marks Google's first renewable energy investment in Africa.

Thousands of mirrors

CSP uses thousands of mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a central point to generate heat, which in turn is used to generate electricity.

 

More than 10,000 tracking mirrors called heliostats reside in a 1,500 acre field where they reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a large heat exchanger, called a receiver, which sits atop a 550-foot tower.

The project was developed by a consortium consisting of SolarReserve, the Kensani Group, an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa, and Intikon Energy, a South African developer of renewable energy projects.

Equity investment and ownership for the project was provided by a group of international and South African shareholders who jointly have experience in all aspects of development,funding and operations of solar energy projects, including the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Intikon Energy, Kensani Capital Investments, Google, the PEACE Humansrus Community Trust, and SolarReserve.

Source : allAfrica.com

The new 96 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar power project in South Africa's Northern Cape province is now online and will help the country meet its critical electricity needs.

The Jasper plant, near Kimberly, is the largest on the continent and can produce 180 000 megawatt-hours of energy a year for South African residents, enough to power up 80 000 homes.

The project was completed two months ahead of schedule and is fully operational, SolarReserve, the developer, announced on 11 November.

 

Jasper is located in a solar park near Kimberly that also includes the 75 MW Lesedi solar power project, which came online in May.

Also on the cards is the even-bigger 100 MW Redstone concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) tower. SolarReserve, along with partner ACWA Power, is bidding for the planned Redstone CSP project, which will use of SolarReserve's CSP technology with integrated energy storage.

As part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), a percentage of total project revenues from the Jasper project will be set aside for Enterprise Development and Socio-Economic Development for the benefit of the local communities.

"In addition to helping South Africa meet its critical electricity needs, the Jasper Project will bring long lasting economic benefits to the region," said SolarReserve's CEO Kevin Smith.

 

80 000 households

 
 

With more than 325 000 PV modules, the Jasper Project will deliver 180 000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity a year for South Africa residents - enough to power up to 80 000 households through a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom, the South African power utility company.

The project also marks Google's first renewable energy investment in Africa.

Thousands of mirrors

CSP uses thousands of mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a central point to generate heat, which in turn is used to generate electricity.

 

More than 10,000 tracking mirrors called heliostats reside in a 1,500 acre field where they reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a large heat exchanger, called a receiver, which sits atop a 550-foot tower.

The project was developed by a consortium consisting of SolarReserve, the Kensani Group, an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa, and Intikon Energy, a South African developer of renewable energy projects.

Equity investment and ownership for the project was provided by a group of international and South African shareholders who jointly have experience in all aspects of development,funding and operations of solar energy projects, including the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Intikon Energy, Kensani Capital Investments, Google, the PEACE Humansrus Community Trust, and SolarReserve.

The Executive Director, Stakeholders Relations and Corporation Communications, Dangote Group, Mr. Mansur Ahmed, has said for Nigeria to achieve its long-desired infrastructural development, it must embrace the use of concrete for road construction and other construction works.

Speaking at the ongoing 21st Summit of the Nigeri Economic Summit Group (NESG) at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, Ahmed said this was a choice that Nigeria must make.

His comment is against the backdrop of the theme of the summit: "Tough Choices: Achieving Competitiveness, Inclusive Growth and Sustainability." Ahmed also moderated the discussion session comprising of the governors of Kaduna, Katsina, Gombe, Bauchi, Benue and Kogi where he urged them to collaborate and provide infrastructure for their people.

He said concrete roads make more economic sense for a country like Nigeria, as the use of Asphalt has left the roads in a deplorable condition.

He said Asphalt is no longer in vogue in developed climes, stressing that the construction of concrete road is faster and can last for half a century compared to Asphalt, adding that concrete roads are 20 per cent cheaper to build.

According to him, in the construction of concrete roads, the cement raw materials are readily available while Asphalt is imported into the country.

It would be recalled that the Chairman of Dangote Cement, Aliko Dangote, recently in Lagos also pleaded with the federal government to urgently consider the use of concrete roads in the country.

Concrete roads, according to him, will be to the benefit of Nigerians. Aside from being very affordable, he said concrete roads were more durable and that its maintenance cost is near zero.

According to him, "We are pushing for Nigeria to do concrete roads. It is cheaper to do a concrete road that will last 50 years than to do a asphalt and bitumen roads. It will also help in eliminating corruption because if you go and build a bitumen road, it will have to be adequately maintained unlike a concrete road that is very durable."

Currently in 15 African countries, the company's current capacity stands at 48mmtpa, out of which Nigeria alone has the largest chunk of 29.3mmtpa.

 

Source: ThisDay

The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) on Thursday handed over a six-block classroom renovated at a cost of 80,000 dollars to the Lagos State Government.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chinese company renovated Satellite Junior Secondary School at Abule-Ado, near Lagos as part of its corporate social responsibility.

The Consul-General of the Chinese Consulate, Mr Liu Kan, handed over the building to the Lagos State Government at a ceremony in Lagos.

Liu said the gesture was to promote friendship between China and Nigeria and to boost education standard in Nigeria.

"The project is an important part of China-Nigeria cooperation.

"It was launched to promote cooperation between Chinese and Nigeria and also to promote friendly exchanges between Chinese and Nigerians.

"We strongly believe that children are the flowers of a country and hope of the future.

"And, we know that Nigeria and China pay great importance to education."

According to him, about 251 students out of the 3,974 Nigerians currently studying in China are being sponsored by the Chinese Government.

The consul-general urged young Nigerians to study hard to know things about the world, including China.

The District-General of the CCECC in the Southwest, Mr Li Bing, said the gesture was part of the company's "unwavering commitment" to fulfilling its corporate social responsibilities in its host communities.

Bing expressed optimism that the renovated building would provide good learning environment for students.

The Lagos State Gov. Akinwumi Ambode, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs Olabisi Ariyo, commended CCECC for renovating the building.

"We appreciate the commitment of the management of CCECC to its corporate social responsibility.

"We will remain committed to supporting the growth of the private sector by providing the enabling environment and promoting investment-friendly policies," she said.

THE governments of Nigeria and Brazil have reached an accord to begin rice production in Nigeria as part of efforts to boost food production and agriculture.

The agreement is also expected to cover housing and sewage management with a goal to provide a good life for Nigerians.

The two countries showed the interest to cooperate on these levels at a meeting between a business delegation from Brazil, and the Permanent Secretary of Nigeria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bulus Lolo, who represented Nigeria at the meeting.

Leader of the Brazilian delegation, Evaldo Silva Junior, told journalists in an interview that the delegation was in Nigeria to establish businesses in the areas of construction, agriculture and also management of the sewage.

According to him, Brazil produces 70 per cent of total production of rice in South America.

"We are here to help Nigeria produce rice, develop rice production in Nigeria and to go into discussion about supplying rice to meet up with the extra demand of that will not be met by the production in Nigeria".

"Concerning the sewage management, we are here to have a project, which will help manage the sewage, and change what is coming from the sewage, into bio-fuels through selective process," he said.

In the area of civil construction, Silva noted that Brazil will deploy its technology to assist Nigeria build houses for the poor and people of low income class at cheaper costs and faster rate, using the model known in Brazil as "My Life, My Health", he said.

Responding, Permanent Secretary, Bulus Lolo, represented by the Director of African Bilateral Affairs Department in the Ministry, Ambassador Ozo Nwobu, said, "this is a momentous time for us in Nigeria, there is a tremendous good will for Nigeria and what we as Nigerians must do is to hold ourselves ready to partner with those who will give us impetus for change.

 

Source: TheGuardian

FAAN to Construct Second Runway at Abuja Airport

Published in Infrastructure
Sunday, 18 October 2015 00:00

The Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Engr. Saleh Dunoma, has assured of the provision of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Speaking with newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, he said due to the increase in passenger and airline movement at the airport, a second runway would prevent deterioration of the existing one.

He said: "The second runway is very important; it is key to our operations. The present runway has deteriorated so much such that we need to do a major work on it to make it better. So the second runway will be necessary. You cannot afford to close Abuja airport because it is the seat of government and it is important to our economy".

He added that given the present rate of growth in the industry, the existing runway may not effectively sustain the traffic.

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