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Building collapse: 6 early warning signs

There are quite a number of reasons why a building collapse could happen. It could be as a result of an act of terrorism, a structural failure or natural disasters like an earthquake, hurricane, flooding, landslide, tornado or a mudslide.

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Nigeria has suffered its share of building collapse in the past with several cases of buildings collapsing and killing scores of people. On December 10, 2016, Nigeria was hit by a tragedy when a church collapsed in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom; killing over 200 people.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel was among the lucky survivors of this tragic incident when the church building collapsed right in the middle of a Saturday service. On September 22, 2015, a building collapsed in the Lekki axis of Lagos State. In May 2016, a four-storey shopping complex collapsed in Ogun State, which left many dead.  In October 2015, a three-storey building collapsed in Lagos. Sadly, there has been an increase in the number of collapsed buildings in Nigeria in the last 10 years. According to the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Sola Adeigbe, a total of 1,104 buildings were sealed from June and October 2016 across Lagos State as a result of defective or illegal construction.

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The fact remains that buildings do not just collapse. There are always warning signs. In many cases, the building control agency of several states in Nigeria carry out a non-destructive integrity test.

This test,  according to real estate professionals, is to ascertain the structural stability of the building. This helps the state know if such buildings can be renovated or re-engineered.

In cases where building are detected to have a defect, building owners are asked to take the test before further actions are taken by the state.

To ensure the safety of homeowners as well as site workers here is  7 warning signs that should not be taken for granted.

1. Major cracks in the wall

Thermal movement remains one of the most potent causes of cracks to appear in the walls of buildings. If overlooked, this could eventually lead to the collapse of the building.

A crack in the wall of a building is a natural sign that the structure is unable to accommodate the movement or load to which it is subjected. When cracks appear in the walls of a building, it is either a structural crack or a non-structural crack.

While structural cracks appear as a result of incorrect design, faulty construction or overloading, non-structural cracks appear due to internally induced stress on the materials used in constructing a building.

 

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