Structures That Destroy

Hi guys! I hope you’re having a good Friday. This is Bekeme, aka Mummy G. O. on the God Citizen show. I hope it’s been good with you. It’s been awesome with me. I had an awesome week. It was mid-term break for many, as you all know. I use that opportunity to, sort of, relax with my kids. I think I feel slightly refreshed. I went to the beachside, it was enough fresh air to last the next few months, up on to December, when we will all be forced to break.

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So, what a sad note to begin the month of November. However, I am sure most of us heard about the collapse of the 21-story building on Gerard Road in Ikoyi, which was a core 360 view, or some fancy name. Lots of videos have come out of the developer, Femi Osibona, who is also the MD of fourscore homes, which has built properties all over the world, and one money, people just woke up to this crash, and this tumble down. The tallest of them all, just crumble like a pack of matches, and we have high death toll of over 30 persons, including the owner himself, which many have called (4:19) justice, the contractors, the site supervisors, the engineers, the bricklayers, and other persons who were unfortunate to be in that building, including investors. Not only did they die, some of them have put money forward, they also lost money. There are those who are living who have put money into the properties, that will never get anything out of it if things happen the way we know these things happen.

This is not the first time we are hearing of such a tragic occurrence. I remember in 2017 when homes built by Lekki Gardens collapsed. It was a 6-story building, the same issues associated with this one, was what we heard at the time. Well, we heard that they got approval for 5-storeys, and we also saw that many who go through many of these homes, will also see that there is a lot of substandard materials used. You will also see that there is no great attention paid to finishing. So, just looking at it, any little thing about construction, you are usually not carried away, okay?! It was over 30 people who died in that particular one. But we keep on having these incidents, the death toll building collapse rate is so high. Just the next day after this happen, the Gerard Road collapse, one collapsed near my home in Lekki. It was posted in my estate group, and someone said, “Oh! It’s the strong wind that blew it.” Another person says, “so make breeze no blow again because person wan build sub-standard house?” (Laughs).

Although it was funny, this tells you, I mean, just the craziness of it all. So, we are going to talk today about Structures That Destroy. It’s a play on words intentionally. Because it is not as building structures that may destroy. It’s all other structures, that you may or may not be able to touch. That we have in place, that we need to change. And this is also made clear. This kind of structure led to a physical structure destroying, which are still there. These structures are not doing what they ought to do to prevent this incident. We have a very special guest. As soon as these happened, as soon as we realized that we were going to talk about this, I said just the person to talk to about this. His name is Momodu Isa Iyionagbe. The head/project director 1001 builders limited. 1001 Builders have been in the industry for the number of years now. I can attest to the good work they’ve been doing. He helped build the house that I live in. and I remember they were a lot of tussles. They were a lot of back and forth. “Oh no, we don’t need this.” And then, “Oh yes, we need this.” “Oh no, we don’t need this.” “Oh yes, we need this.”

The outcome is something that everybody is pleased with. We don’t have people visiting that property, and not being wowed by the caretaking. That is why I thought, you know, this is the guy. When this happened, this was the first person, one of the first persons I had a conversation with around.

Bekeme: Welcome to the show Jay

Momodu: Yes, thanks for having me.

Bekeme: You need to sound more cheery, you know we’ve just hyped you. Alright (Bekeme and Momodu laughs)

Momodu: (Voice becomes inaudible) Yeah. It’s true. You have to make people talk about your work, not tell people about your work.

Bekeme: Right! So, we’ve told them about your work. Congratulations that you’re here and we are hyping. And you know, praise is not easy from me. So, (Bekeme and Momodu laughs). So, thank you again for coming up on the show. J is calling in because he is at Akure doing his thing, and you’re currently involved with any building project, and you’ve questions to ask, and all of that, feel free to call into the show. This particular building, I had a conversation with a resident who lives near here, he was one of the people who actually heard when it collapsed, came out, and saw it literally crumbling. You know, I was actually asked to invest in this property, but I declined. Why? Because obviously, he saw it, he knew hum hum, I am not sure this is what I want to be a part of. Before we go further on that, I want to remind us of the number to call, 0700923923923. Again, 070923923923. You can send us a message on WhatsApp, on 0817 313 6193.

So, let’s get right into it Jay. so you saw the news, of course, we discussed it on the collapsed building. I mean what was your first impression about the whole thing.

Momodu: now, in Lagos, I always expect to hear news like this, because of the way construction is being done in Lagos

Bekeme: Hmmm

Momodu: Lagos is what I know. I have been doing construction in Lagos for a while.

Bekeme: Hmmm

Momodu: Okay. I have been in the best of both worlds in terms of construction. I have worked with foreign guys, and I have worked with local guys. I see the way, I see the effort they put into the construction, whether it is good or bad. I always wait to hear this news because I see what they do. And I wonder if you save money for years, and you start a project, and you just thor the money away, not thinking about how you

Bekeme: (Cuts in) not thinking about the longevity of the project.

Momodu: Yes

Bekeme: More or less.

Momodu: Yes! Yes! So, what we try to tell people in terms of construction, is that try to, if you don’t have enough money, you wait till when you have that money

Bekeme: Hmmm

Momodu: you want to try to cut corners, you want to hum, I don’t have this money, let’s do this, can we not have found a way around?

Bekeme: Hmmm

Momodu: And this is your own building, this is an investment you want to last more than 15 years. Because 15 years is when we feel you should get your return on Investment.

Bekeme: Right

Momodu: so, you have to first of all think of getting your money back. And people don’t think about all these things. They just go into the project and try to, like me, I can’t, you can’t have a budget for a project. You can’t say okay, fine, my budget is N100 million. You can never have a budget.

Bekeme: Ah

Momodu: Because

Bekeme: (Laughs) what is then project management if you can’t have a budget? You know, if you are just going to run riot

Momodu: Yeah, I am talking about now the client

Bekeme: Yes

Momodu: A client will say my budget is 100 million, I don’t want to go beyond

Bekeme: Yes

Momodu: The QS or the professional who you have brought in will always want to do what the client wants.

Bekeme: Yes

Momodu: So, they will say okay, fine, let’s look for a way around it. Let’s try to use that 100 million to execute this project. They don’t want to be truthful to the client. I don’t know whether they are scared of the client. They don’t want to say, “Go. I will get somebody’s else that can do it.”

Bekeme: There is that, I am sure there is that fear

Momodu: Yes. That fear is there. That is what I always tell people. if you’re sacred, okay, if you’re scared, you should not be scared, let me put it that way. As a professional, you should not be scared. If you tell the client this money cannot execute this project, and the client is forcing you, you just tell the client hmm.

Bekeme: To politely decline

Momodu: Yes (Laughs) Thanks for helping

Bekeme: I really. wow

Momodu: (voice becomes inaudible) but the thing is that there is hunger everywhere

Bekeme: There is. I am like, I am not sure oh. But, okay

Momodu: they don’t want to be dismissed. They want to actually get something. Because they underate engineers. Clients underate engineers all the time. They underate engineers. There was a project I bid for, the client said I don’t see the value of this amount you have charged me. I don’t see what value you are going to

Bekeme: (Cuts in) That you are going to earn.

Momodu: Yes

Bekeme: Or you were going to earn. So what is your specialty, Jay? Just to get into that.

Momodu: I am a builder

Bekeme: So you studied building?

Momodu: Yeah. I studied building.

Bekeme: Okay, so you have to work with other professionals obviously to execute?

Momodu: Yes! You have to. I don’t try to go into the QS work. I don’t try to go into the structural engineer’s work.

Bekeme: hmmm

Momodu: They are professionals in their fields.

Bekeme: So, we have to have what, a builder, QS, a structural engineer?

Momodu: if you want to do a project, if you want to execute a good project, if you want to enjoy the fruit of your labour because you just wake up and go into a project, you must have been saving for years, Okay?! And you need all these professionals on site. you need, there is one very important professional you need on-site, who is the surveyor

Bekeme: Right

Momodu: that is the surveyor. He makes sure your building is levelled. It’s straight.

Bekeme: So, basically you are saying that these professionals are supposed to provide checks and balances on each other, they bring a lot of expertise, and are also supposed to provide different levels of expertise. So, I want to go back into or rather back to the conversation that we were having around these collapsed buildings. May the souls of the dearly departed rest in peace. I am just really thinking about the whole discussion that has been going on social media about there being an approval for 15-storey, in fact, read one that says the approval was for initially 8-storeys, and by the time the developer got to 10-storeys, they then said, they then came to shut down the building, and then they went for further approval, and then it was approved to 15-storeys, and this building ended up being 21-storeys. Now, you know, there have been a lot of theories around why this collapsed. I just, in my lane mind, lane man’s mind, I am trying to understand what the basis could have been. If, is there a different foundational structure for an 8-storey as opposed to a 15-storey building? I mean is possible for reinforcement, for instance, can run all the way, and then reinforcement long enough to stand all the way from the foundation up to a 15-storey building, why, why can’t it happen? Why can’t go from 8 to 13 without changing the foundation or something?

Momodu: okay, now you say you want to build a 15 storey building?

Bekeme: hmmm hmm

Momodu: what will the structural engineer do? They will carry out their soil test. They will carry design for a 15-storey building. Okay?

Bekeme: hmmm

Momodu: at some point, they over-design just to be sure, just to protect

Bekeme: (cuts in) the integrity of the structure

Momodu: yes, the integrity. They design a little bit just to add more protection, let me put it that way

Bekeme: Okay

Momodu: when you now want to start adding more, you can’t just add more

Bekeme: Okay

Momodu: You have to go with the structural design. Go with the soil test. What the soil test have said. Based on the soil test, it will tell you how many load you can put on that property, on that plot of land

Bekeme: hmmm

Momodu: Okay?! For example, if you are designing for a 6-storey building, and maybe you are using raft foundation

Bekeme: Raft foundation?

Momodu: Yes! Using raphe for a 5-story building

Bekeme: What is raft foundation?

Momodu: A raphe foundation is, how will put it? Is what we use mostly in Lagos.

Bekeme: Okay

Momodu: it is what we use mostly in Lagos. It is different from a pad. It is different from the stripe. It depends on the soil.

Bekeme: Okay

Momodu: it depends on the soil you meet on the site. It depends on what you meet there. You have to carry out the test to determine what foundation goes.

Bekeme: Okay

Momodu: It’s the test that determines what happens

Bekeme: Right. So, you were saying if you decided to go to an 8-storey building…

Momodu: now the foundation, the raphe, the design for, the raphe foundation design for a 5-storey building, is different from the one you use for a 7-storey building

Bekeme: Okay

Momodu: Yeah. You design for the load that you are expecting to put on that soil.

Bekeme: Hmmm.

Momodu: Okay?!

Bekeme: And this is determined by the quantity surveyor or who?

Momodu: this is determined by the structural engineer.

Bekeme: Alright. okay

Momodu: Yes. He is the key person on the project. He is part of the key people o that project. The structure determines the structure level of that building, what building is.

Bekeme: Right

Momodu: Cos you can’t actually put, if you design for a 15-storey building, you can’t go more than that 15-storey building.

Bekeme: Okay. How does this work Jay? Thank you for that. You know, I have been trying to understand as many Lagosians and Nigerians, cos it’s quite embarrassing. I was reading a piece by CNN, and it said, it is not unusual for this thing to happen in Lagos, as though buildings are just collapsing left, right, and center. Research actually points to the fact that 39% of building collapses occur in Lagos. Although we can also argue that in other states, they are actually not reported. Going back to this whole thing, how is it possible that a person who had, let’s even say it was approval for 15-storeys, get all the way to 21-storeys without some agencies noticing? Hum, is it possible that a person can do this in Lagos officially?

Momodu: I don’t think so. We are seeing so many stories online, but we don’t even know what the actual story is

Bekeme: Yes. Assuming that the person got approvals for 15-storeys, n the real world, if they tend to go beyond that, what happens? Can they get approval to go beyond? And what should be the process?

Momodu: The structural engineer has to; it depends on the structural engineers. He will tell you if what he designed can carry what load, okay?! If it can carry more load, he will tell you fine, you can put two or three, and he has to sign that I said it can take one or two. But it all depends on whether the government can agree.

Bekeme: So, it is possible that the structure or the initial assessment and design for a 15-storey can actually carry a 21-storey building. Before you go, let me just remind you of the number to call, 0700923923923. Again, it’s 0700923923923. If you have difficulties, just send an e-message on WhatsApp, 0817313193 (Call comes in) Alright! We have a call. Hello

Caller: Hello. Good evening

Bekeme: Hello. Good evening, sir. What’s your name, please?

Caller: My name is Friday, calling you from Ikorodu

Bekeme: Hello. Mr Friday from Ikorodu. Thank you for calling the Good Citizen show. What’s your take?

Caller: Hum, for me, I am not a civil engineer, but I believe any foundation, that wants to put a 15-storey building on it, the foundation must structure to carry at least a 20-storey building. You understand, cos by the time you put that 15-storey building, you still have confidence that there is still extra weight

Bekeme: Hmmm Hmmm

Caller: That are available for it to take it. And when you now do a foundation of the 15-storey building, and you now put the 15-storey building on it, you have already used the whole lifeline

Bekeme: Hmmmm

Caller: That is unbalancing

Bekeme: Hmm

Caller: for my own oh, I am not a civic engineer, but I believe that is what it is supposed to be. Your foundation must be beyond what you want to put on that structure. That is because Ikoyi as a general land is a swampy area. Swarm area

Bekeme: Hmmm. Rally point

Caller: it’s a swamp area. You understand? You cannot say my foundation is 15-storey, and you now put a 15-storey building on it.

Bekeme: Hmmmm

Caller: so sure, that that house will not serve his life span before he collapses.

Bekeme: Hmmmm

Caller: That’s it

(Calls ends)

Bekeme: Thank you, Mr Friday. Very very valid contribution. So Jay you were saying?

Momodu: Yes

(Calls Comes in)

Bekeme: Actually we have another caller. Hello! Hello!!

Caller:  Hello

Bekeme: Can you please turn down the volume of your set, please

Caller: Okay. Good evening.

Bekeme: Good evening, what is your name, please?

Caller: My name is Emmanuel. I am calling from Egbeda side.

Bekeme: Okay, Emmanuel from Egbeda

Caller: what your guest is saying is just a regimented thing. Everybody that is building should know that. Because you are being a 5-year-old wearing the cloth of a 20-year-old, or a 20-year-old, you want to force an 8-year-old into your body.

Bekeme: Right

Caller: When you have a foundation for a building, these things are planned right from the start

Bekeme: Hmmm

Caller: you don’t plan first, start building, and then along the line you want to change the goal post in the middle of the match. It is not done. That is why we are having a lot of building collapse we are having around

Bekeme: Hmmmm

Caller: and the authorities with their acting (Voice becomes inaudible)

Bekeme: Hmm

Caller: (voice becomes inaudible) and we can see the results. Of course, it has been confirmed that, let’s agree that it has been confirmed that the builder also died in the building

Bekeme: Hmmmm

Caller: instead of the builder or the developer doing what he was sent to do (voice becomes inaudible), the Lagos State building authority when they came to…

Bekeme: (Cuts in) Shut down

Caller: …Yes. Instead of him doing the right thing, he was bringing more people to come and draw on top of the building.

Bekeme: hmmm

Caller: What kind of people are we in this country?

Bekeme: Hmmm. Most people were lucky it didn’t collapse while praying. Thank you so much (laughs) thank you so much (call ends). So Jay, your final words, we’ve got 30 seconds to tell us what must we do to ensure that we build lasting structures, we who are leaving who are interested in building or buying?

Momodu: first of all, don’t underrate any professional in the construction industry. Try to use them and then learn from them. You might say, okay when they come to the site, they don’t do (Voice becomes inaudible) but yes, they know

Bekeme: (Cuts in) Can you speak up, please?!

Momodu: Yes! You need to use the professionals in the construction industry. Okay?!

Bekeme: Yes

Caller: You have to check the cost of the building; you use your QS. If you want to do a structural design, you use a structural engineer. You have to use all these people to be sure my building is going to stand.

Bekeme: What if I am buying, what is the one thing that I see, that I must escape immediately if I were to look into buying?

Momodu: if you are interested in a property, monitor them from start, first of all, you have to know who did the structural design. You have to know who is building it. You have a know everything before you buy. You can’t just go and see an already built structure and say I am buying this. That is why we have so many people losing money on these so-called developers because I don’t think they are supposed to be built. Because the quality is so low. They don’t even do tests.

Bekeme: So, you need to ask for all these things? Do test?

Momodu: You need to ask for all of these things, because your structural engineer for example if you want to buy a house, I advise you to go with a structural engineer.

Bekeme: Okay, jay. We have to cut off at this point, but we will do, for our listeners, thank you so much for calling in, Jay.

What will do for our listeners is that we do a shortlist of things you must look at for if you are buying or building a house. Thank you so much for listening in on the Good Citizen show, and on structures that destroy. If you’re part of an association, if you’re part of something exciting, please make sure you all act as whistleblowers against developers whether private or commercial who wants to cut corners, it is your responsibility to report any abnormally that you see. Thank you for listening to the Good Citizen. It’s being me Bekeme, aka mummy G. O., see you all next week Friday, on Inspiration FM, 92.3. Bye!

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