Building Project Topics

Analysis of Building Collapse in Lagos State Using GIS

Analysis of Building Collapse in Lagos State Using GIS

Analysis of Building Collapse in Lagos State Using GIS

Chapter One

Objectives of the study

The main objective of the study is to analyze the building collapse in Lagos state using GIS. The specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. Examine the factors responsible for building failure/ collapse.
  2. Identify the effects of building collapse in Nigeria.
  3. Examine the factors that would help to checkmate the incidence of Structural Failure and Building Collapse at Pre-Construction and Post Implementation Phases of Building Development.



Conceptual framework

Concept of building collapse

Collapse, according to the dictionary of Architecture and Construction refers to mechanical failure. Collapse is a state of complete failure, when the structure has literally given way and most members have caved-in, crumbled or buckled; the building can no longer stand as originally built (Dimuna, 2010). A structure is a whole building, complex framework or essential part of a building. According to Fakere et al (2012), Marshall and Nelson (1981) defined structure as a body capable of resisting applied loads without any deformation of part relative to one another. The structure of the building is therefore that part of the building construction which gives the construction sufficient strength to withstand the load to which the load is subjected. A building structure does this by carrying the load imposed by it and transferring same safely to foundation hence, into the ground. Buildings are utilized primarily for living, working and storage and are categorized into three: First, is the monumental structure which comprises of the churches, sport arena and city halls. Second, is the institutional structure comprising of structure such as the block of flats, tertiary institutional buildings for academic and administrative purposes. Third category comprises of industrial structures like the ordinary small scale industrial types (MacGinley, 1998).

Building collapse can simply be defined as a total or a partial/progressive failure of one or more components of a building leading to the inability of the building to perform its principal function of comfort, satisfaction, safety and stability (Olagunju Aremu and Ogundele, 2013). A building may collapse when one or more of its essential components fail (Fakere, Fadaro and Fakere, 2012). Building failure is defined as an act of omission or occurrence or performance. Failure could also be defined as non-occurrence, non-performance, running short, breaking down, ill-success, insolvency and unsuccessful attempt (Ayuba, Olagunju and Akande, 2012).   Building failure is also defined as an unacceptable difference between expected and observed performance in a building component when that component can no longer be relied upon to fulfill its principal function. Limited deflection in a floor which causes a certain amount of cracking/distortions in partitions could be considered a defect but not a failure. Whereas excessive deflection resulting in serious damage to partitions, ceilings and floors finishes could be referred to as failure, but sudden dislocation or given way of a structure is classified as building collapse (Abimbola and Rotimi, 2012).

Building collapse has so often been associated with structural failures. A structure is a whole building, complex framework or essential part of a building. The structure of the building is that part of building construction which gives the construction sufficient strength to withstand the load to which the whole building is subjected. The structure is that which carries load and transfers the load from the point of load application to the point of load support. A building structure carries the load imposed on it and transferring same safely to foundation hence, into the ground. There are two broad subdivision of the structure. The first is the frame Sstructures which resist the applied loads by virtue of their geometry. The second type is the mass structures which resist applied loads by virtue of their weight (Fakere, Fadaro and Fakere, 2012). Generally, structures do fail over time as a result of human factors such as negligence, design flaws, ageing, material fatigue, extreme operation and environmental conditions, accidents, terrorists, attacks and natural hazards. Building failure could be of two types namely; Cosmetic failure that occurs when something has been added to or subtracted from the building, thus affecting the structures outlooks while structural failures affect both the outlook and structural stability of the building (Aayuba, Olagunju and Akande, 2012). The structural function of a building is therefore to transfer the loads of human beings, furniture, goods, wind, etc, including its own weight safely down to the foundations and subsequently into the ground. Hence, failure occurs when a building is not able to perform the function (Ukpata, 2006).

Building collapse is the total or partial breakdown of the superstructure of a building, which renders it unfit to meet the purpose for which it was built. It is a situation where a part or the whole structure suddenly or gradually gives way (Philemon, 2019). When the structure fails and most members have caved-in, deteriorated or distorted and the building can no longer stand as originally built, then the building is said to be in the state of complete collapse. It can be seen, therefore, that collapse is the very extreme state of failure which makes a building incapable of fulfilling the original functions for which it was constructed (Obiegbu, 2016).  In this study, building collapse has been defined as structural failure. A collapsed building in this study is one that shows evidence of structural failure either in the form of being visibly out of vertical alignment or in the form of the presence of a structural crack. This measure of collapse was chosen because many authors have related structural failure to building collapse Akinpelu, J.A. (2012).  Also, defining building collapse in this way enables relevant stakeholders to activate necessary preventive/ corrective measures prior to the complete crumbling of the building structure. Federicks and James (2019) reported some cases of building collapse in Lagos state and its environs as stated in the Table 2.1 showed below.




Area of study

According to Oni (2009), Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria with the estimates of its population varying considerably but gener- ally range from 10 to 15.5 million people. It is the second largest city in Africa located at 6°34′60″N, 3°19′59″E along the West African coast. It is the former capital city of Nigeria replaced by Abuja on 12th December, 1991 but remains the commercial centre of Nigeria.

Research design

The study employed a descriptive survey method in analyzing building collapse in Lagos state.

Sources of Data

The data for this study were generated from two main sources; Primary sources and secondary sources. The primary sources include questionnaire, interviews and observation. The secondary sources include journals, bulletins, textbooks and the internet.

Population and sampling of the study

A study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitutes of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description (Prince, 2019).

A purposive sampling technique was used in this survey for selecting the sites visited and selecting the construction professionals. The selection of Lagos State as the case study was because it has recorded the highest cases of building collapse in Nigeria. It is the second largest city in Nigeria and most populous cities in Africa. Being the industrial as well as commercial centre of the country the city has a high population density and abundant economic opportunities, which in turn has led to over utilization of available utilities and resources (Ayininuola and Olalusi, 2014). The study utilized a sample size of 100 respondents.



Table 4.1 Respondents Working Experience  





The study examined the causes and effects of building failure with respect to cost in Lagos State, Nigeria. The study concluded that the major causes of building failures were bad design, faulty construction, over loading, non-possession of approved drawings, Possession of approved drawings but non-compliance, the use of quarks, error in design, poor workmanship, and poor communication. Also, the level of compliance with the approval of building plans before construction commencement was found to be very low. This could be hinged on the ineffective monitoring mechanism put in place by the relevant government agencies and the low level of awareness of the existing Building Control Agency by clients/contractors.

In the two case studies considered, the total direct loss to the building owners was thirty eight million three hundred and eight five thousand, seven hundred and twenty one naira (38,385,721) which is about one hundred and ninety four thousand, eight hundred and fifty one dollars ($194,851).


The study therefore recommends strict adherence to code of practice, determination of bearing capacity of soil before design, getting approval before commencing construction on site, Building Control Officials should ensure compliance with approved building plans, adequate supervision, carrying out proper site investigation, strict conformance to working drawings, prohibiting the use of quacks and adherence to specification.


  • Akinpelu, J.A. (2012): The need for code of conduct, building regulations and by-laws for the building industry in Nigeria. The Professional Builder, Nigeria Institute of Building, pp 11-14. 
  • Ayininuola, G. M. and Olalusi, O.O. (2014). Assessment of Building Failures in Nigeria: Lagos and Ibadan Case Study. African Journal of Science and Technology (AJST), Science and Engineering Series. Vol. 5, No. 1. pp73-78 
  • Badejo, E. (2019). Engineers, Others Urge Multi-Disciplinary Approach to curb Building Collapse, The Guardian Newspaper, 13 July, pp 15-17.
  • Chinwokwu, G. (2000). The Role of Professionals in Averting Building Collapse, Proceedings of a Seminar on Building Collapse in Nigeria. The Nigerian Institute of Building, Lagos. Pp 12-28
  • Dimuna, K.O. (2010). Incessant Incidents of Building Collapse in Nigeria: A Challenge to Stakeholders. Global Journal of Researches in Engineering, vol. 2, Issue 4 
  • Fagbenle, O.I. and Oluwunmi, A.O. (2010). Building Failure and Collapse in Nigeria: the Influence of the Informal Sector, Journal of Sustainable Development. Vol. 3, No. 4; December.
  • Fasakin, J.O. (2012): Building Collapse in Ondo State of Nigeria. Preventive Town Planning Standards and Regulations Proceeding of 2 day workshop of the NIOB Ondo State Chapter on Building Collapse: Causes, Prevention and Remedies, Ondo State Library Complex, Akure, 23rd– 24th October.
  • Federicks, M and James, A. (2019): Building Engineering and Systems Design, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York. Vol. 2.
  • Folagbade, S.O.(2011). Case studies of Building In Nigeria. Proceedings of a workshop on Building Collapse Causes, Prevention and Remedies. The Nigerian Institute of Building, Ondo State Chapter, 23-24 October.
  • Folagbade, S.O. (2012) Case studies of building collapse in Nigeria. In D.R. Ogunsemi (ed.) Proceedings on Building Collapse: Causes, Prevention, and Remedies Ondo State, Nigeria: The Nigerian Institute of Building, pp. 183-187.
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