LIKE it is obtainable in an East African country, Rwanda, members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Nigeria Group has called for the need for state governments to put in place a one-stop office that will deal with all issues on building plan and approval permit.
This, the group said was necessary to encourage more investments into the building sector, which experts have described as money spinning for the nation.
Chairman, RICS Nigeria, Dr. Oluwafemi Durodola said last week during the group’s business luncheon held in Lagos, said government should discourage duplication of agencies involved in building plan approval.
He added that, a situation where several government agencies are involved in the process was not good both for the country and the industry.
Speaking on the roles of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABSCA), Durudola said: “Basically, we’ve always been seeing them around but as members of the built-environment, we don’t really know what they are meant to achieve.
“In Lagos State, we do know that there is Ministry of Physical Planning, which is in charge of approval for planning and development. When LABSCA came up, there appears to be a conflict.
Take for instance, when you have a site, state officials from the town planning will come there, officials from LABSCA will come and officers from the local government will also come. This is creating a sort of issue. And for that reason, we decided to know more on what LABSCA does, how do they do it.”
The RICS chief said there was an issue as far as LABCSA was concerned. “LABSCA from its primary role is more concerned about safety of lives by ensuring that all construction, particularly building projects comply with all requirements. But when you have so many agencies involved in control, that may unnecessarily prolong building permit and may result in reducing the number of buildings that would have been delivered in due time.”
Taking cue from the eastern African countries, Durodola said: “When I went to Rwanda, the country realised that there were many problems associated with having several government agencies involved in building control, the country, brought all the agencies under one roof to fast-track approval process, which could be done under four weeks, and thereby encouraging more buildings to be built within a short time.
“But what we have here is still not healthy for boosting the building industry, as too many constraints could discourage investors and professionals.”
Commending government’s efforts, Durodola, also a lecturer at the Covenant University said: “While I appreciate the government for working to make building industry safer, one major challenge is the implementation of the law, and ensure that there is minimal compromises.”
He charged the agency to be well equipped to deliver on its mandate, which he said must be done judiciously without really jeopardizing the rate of construction.
General Manager, LABSCA, Mrs. Akimbo Animashaun, who spoke about the role of her agency said such interface with professionals was necessary, as she had observed that some have wrong perception about the agency.
She said: “In the course of our official engagements with the public, we have seen that so many people have wrong perception about LABSCA, and are not doing it right and as stakeholders, particularly, property managers, they need to be acquainted with some of the provisions so that they can advice their clients properly about building right. They need to ensure their clients build quality and avoid cutting corners. There is also the need to educate them on the need to insure their houses, which is the norm in developed world.”
On her expectation from the members of RICS, Animashaun asked that the professionals should ensure total compliance to the law. “I will be expecting the members of RICS Group to comply and also persuade their clients to comply to the rules and law guiding building projects at all cost.
She added that the agency would liaise more with the group to deliver a better building industry. “We will definitely engage them. We will partner to make our job easier and deliver a more safe construction industry, which does not give room for any incident of collapse.”
SOURCE: Guardian Newspaper, Monday 20 April 2015