Architecture Project Topics

Residential Building Collapse in Nigeria: Causes, Effects and Solutions

Residential Building Collapse in Nigeria: Causes, Effects and Solutions

Residential Building Collapse in Nigeria: Causes, Effects and Solutions

Chapter One


The following are the objectives of this study:

  1. To examine the causes of building collapse in Nigeria.
  2. To identify the effects of building collapse in Nigeria.
  3. To identify the remedial measures or approaches to building collapse in Nigeria.




The occurrence of building failure and collapse has become a great concern and a serious issue in the development and growth of this nation as the magnitudes of this incident is becoming very alarming Ademoroti, G. (1991). The building failure and collapse in Nigeria originated principally from bad design, faulty construction, use of low quality materials, hasty construction, foundation failure, lack of proper supervision, ineffective enforcement of building codes by the relevant Town Planning Authorities, lack of proper maintenance e.t.c. (Folagbade, 2001 and Badejo, 2009).. It has been revealed that more than 70% of the reported cases of building collapse in Nigeria temmed from the informal sector. It further showed that 70-0%, 23-3% and 6.7% of the reported cases occurred in private, public and corporate organizations respectively.

Building collapse, though a regular occurrence all over the world is more rampant and ruinous in the developing countries. The incidence of building failures and collapses has become serious problem of concern in the development of this nation as the frequencies of their occurrence and the magnitude of the losses in terms of lives and properties are now becoming very alarming. In fact, building collapse has now become a familiar occurrence, even to layman on the street in Nigeria. Failure in building can be described as the inability of the building components not being adequate to perform what are normally expected or required of those components. On the other hand, when part or whole structure has failed and suddenly gave way in a way that as a result of this failure, the building could not meet the purpose for which it was intended, the building has collapsed. Amusan, J. O. (1991). Cases of building collapse are not restricted by climatology or level of urbanization as they cut across cultural and ethnical barriers. Many cases of building collapse have been reported in Nigeria. For instance, Folagbade (2001) and Chinwokwo (2000) enumerated forty-two (42) cases of building collapse as occurring between 1980 and 1999 in Nigeria while Makinde ( 2007) listed fifty-four (54) cases occurring between January 2000 and June 2007 alone. Building collapse has also been observed to cut across the different categories of building – private, corporate or public. Folagbade (2001) showed that of the twenty-five (25) reported cases of building collapse between 1980 and 1999 in Lagos State, private (76%), corporate (12%) and government or public buildings (12%) accounted for these proportions. Also, building collapse is no respecter of size of the structure. Amusan (1991) reported that Barnawa flat disaster in 1977 was a three-storey building, a public building (Secondary School) which collapsed in March 1988 at Ibadan was two-storey building, the collapsed show-room for cars in Lagos in 1987 was just a storey building while that of the Primary School in IIoabuchi, River State in July 1991 was a bungalow building. Folagbade (2001) also reports that the Abuja building which collapsed in March, 1993 and the one at Ojuelegba in 1999 were both multi-storey buildings. The memory of the incidents of two separate building collapses that occurred at Ebute-Meta area of Lagos State and Kano State which killed several people in 2007 still lingers on.

Furthermore, Our focus in this chapter is to critically examine relevant literature that would assist in explaining the research problem and furthermore recognize the efforts of scholars who had previously contributed immensely to similar research. The chapter intends to deepen the understanding of the study and close the perceived gaps.

Precisely, the chapter will be considered in two sub-headings:

  • Conceptual Framework
  • Chapter summary


Buildings as structures which serve as shelters for man, his properties and activities are expected to be properly planned, desired and erected to acquire desired satisfaction from the environment. Factors considered here include; durability, adequate stability to prevent its failure or discomfort to the residents, resistance to weather, fire out break and other forms of accident. Badejo, E. (2009).

The frequency of building collapse in Nigeria in the recent past has become a major problem and concern in the development of the frequencies of their occurrences and the magnitude of the losses being recorded in terms of lives and properties are becoming worrisome and alarming. Even though, the proportion of building that collapse is very small compared with the vast majority that are in use, but there are human and material wastes associated with such buildings collapse. Apart from psychological wounds often inflicted on both the affected residents of such houses, the owner and the environment also constitute huge loss to the nation at large Chinwokwu, G. (2000).

The essence of environment management is to reduce the chances of vulnerability of the environment to disaster through prevention, mitigation, preparedness and capacity building. Going by this, it can be deduced that environmental management has the following components: Disaster management, Hazard management and capacity building. Because of the incessant disaster that is ravaging his world, agencies to undertake environmental management functions have been put in place in many parts of the world. Several causes of building failure had been attributed to their natural or man-made phenomena. A natural phenomenon may be attributed to earthquakes and landslides while man-made phenomenon consists of disasters which may be borne out of man’s negligence in areas such as soil type, building design and planning for extra loads and stress, foundation works, quality of building materials, lack or inadequate monitoring of craftsman and poor quality of workmanship. (Adebanjo .K :2005).





This chapter covers the description and discussion on the various techniques and procedures used in the study to collect and analyse the data as it is deemed appropriate.

It is organized under the following sub-headings:

  • Research Design
  • Area of the Study
  • Population of the study
  • Sample and sampling procedure
  • Instrument of Data Collection
  • Validation of the Instrument
  • Reliability of the Instrument
  • Method of Data Collection
  • Method of Data Analysis


According to Asika (2009), research designs are often referred to as the structuring of investigation aimed at identifying variables and their relationships to one another. In this study, questionnaire serves as useful guide to the effort of generating data for this study. The questionnaire is a survey method and it is an exploratory research.


The study area for this research is Imo state in eastern Nigeria.

The choice of Imo state as the study area is because since the creation of the state in 1967 and in spite of the movement of Abia state in the state creation exercise of 1991, it naturally enjoys the benefits of being the fulcrum of the eastern part of the country. Imo state is built with many roads, estates , government establishments, all kinds of private developments, schools, hospitals, theaters, shopping malls, hotels to mention a few. All these infrastructures are the handiwork of construction. As such there cannot be a better place to obtain data for this study.


The population of study consists of public and private contractors involving civil engineers and quantity surveyors in Imo State. According to the Imo state ministry of Works, Corporate affairs Commision data, total registered contractors” amount to 352.



This chapter is devoted to the presentation, analysis and interpretation of the data gathered in the course of this study. The data are based on the number of copies of the questionnaire completed and returned by the contractors. The data are presented in tables and the analysis is done using the chi-square test.




Summary of the Findings

The objectives of the study were to

  • To examine the causes of building collapse in Nigeria.
  • To identify the effects of building collapse in Nigeria.
  • To identify the remedial measures or approaches to building collapse in Nigeria.

Findings from the study revealed the following:

  • Collapse of buildings leads to death and loss of properties in Nigeria.
  • Incompetence of contractors is a major reason to building collapse.
  • Quality of building materials has a lo do to with the collapse of buildings.
  • Cost of building materials contribute to building collapse in Nigeria.


It is a concluding fact that Nigeria has witnessed collapsed buildings in various dimensions, either those under construction or those already in existences. Causes were identified as mainly man-made but less often by forces of nature. Corruption as man-made factor manifest in greedy contractors and the tendency of clients or landlords to cheat resulting to the use of substandard materials, use of quacks and poor remuneration for building works and services. The building consultants are guilty of negligence, incompetency, poor supervision and the tendency to allow defective works intentionally for a fee or due to ignorance or inexperience. There should therefore be a review of existing building laws that should guide standard code of practice and that should cover all grey areas in order to guarantee safety of buildings.


Base on the findings and conclusion respectively, the researcher made the following recommendation.

  1. Proper planning, supervision and monitoring of construction activities should be institutionalized by policy makers to ensure that all buildings are constructed according to design, specifications and planning regulations. 
  2. Professionals in the building industry should maintain their integrity and professional ethics and work in accordance to standard practice procedures laid down by the standard form of building contracts especially when they play in the hands of ignorant clients 
  3. Urban or Town development agencies at various levels of government (commission, Board, Authority) should enforce control of building works in their localities as laid down in urban and regional planning decree 88, of 1992 and as in section 13 of National Building Code 2006. 
  4. There is need to organize periodic public awareness campaign through electronic and print media to sensitize the public on advantages of using professionals as the way of realizing safe buildings. 
  5. Standard organization of Nigeria should be vigilant to ensure that building materials imported into the country conforms to standard requirements. 
  6. All building professionals play key roles to actualize their respective obligations during building production, using the wrong professionals at any stage of the building process put the building in danger. It is the duty of the architect as the prime consultant to direct the client to use the right professionals. This he achieves by ensuring that the structural and services drawings brought to his office are stamped and signed by professionals registered by their respective professional bodies before proceeding to planning authority for “building permit”. 
  7. Soil investigation, material tests and environmental impact assessment (E.I.A) should be made compulsory for all institutional, industrial and commercial buildings.
  8. All building plans tendered by any developer for approval must comply with the Nigeria’s new building code and local bye laws and regulations. 
  9. Standard organization of Nigeria, (SON) should monitor the standard of blocks moulded in block industries and impose minimum standard in terms of sand-cement ratios. 
  10. There is need to empower and restructure available materials testing laboratories in the country. 
  11. The National Assembly to make speedy passage of the bill on National Building Code.


  • Adebayo, S. O. (2000). Improving Building Techniques, Proceedings of a Workshop on Building Collapse: Causes, Prevention and Remedies.The Nigerian Institute of Building, Lagos State Chapter, April.
  • Ademoroti, G. (1991). Minimizing the Collapse of Buildings in Lagos State. Proceedings of the National Seminar on effective Contract Management in Construction Industry, Nigerian Institute of Building, 22-23 August, pp 174-187.
  • Adebanjo, K.(2005) “A Position Paper by the Nigerian Institution of structural Engineers (NIStruct), A Division of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) on Recent Structural Collapses in Nigeria and thePrevention of Future Incidence”. Downloaded on 24/8/2013 from
  • Amusan, J. O. (1991). Strategies for Enhancing the Local Governments Roles in Minimizing the Collapse of Buildings. Proceedings of the National Conference on Effective Contract Management in the Construction Industry. Nigerian Institute of Building, 22-23August, pp188-200.
  • Badejo, E. (2009). Engineers, Others Urge Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Curb Building Collapse, The Guardian Newspaper, 13 July, pp 15-17.
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