Port Harcourt Building Collapse: From the Safety Perspective

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The building collapse at Woji, Port Harcourt late November, 2018 was one of the worst disasters ever recorded in a single state in Nigeria. Some other disasters involving floods have also been witnessed few months ago, and in year 2012 in particular both in Rivers State and Nigeria at large.

Concerning the recent building collapse with multiple fatalities, a lot of speculations have been on going regarding the causes of the accident. Some people said it was due to poor quality materials on the project. This is of course, the first target when looking at such cases in Nigeria. However, we took a closer look at the scene when we got there. On interacting with some eye witnesses and from our visual observations, it was discovered that the cause of the collapse was not chiefly from material quality because the materials appeared good enough. Though, for certain reasons, we did not take samples for analysis.

From the events surrounding the incidence, we concluded that the building collapse could have been caused by a combination of the following factors:

  1. Not adhering to design specifications and approvals.
  2. Lack of proper geotechnical analysis.
  3. Poor compaction and consolidation of foundation soil.
  4. Vibration and disturbances from operating heavy equipment.
  5. Improperly cured concrete and casting due to rush in completing construction.
  6. Soil load bearing capacity exceeded during construction, resulting in sinking.

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