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CLIMATE, WEATHER AND BUILDING COLLAPSE


ABSTRACT
Climate change has become a reality and so has building collapse. Global Reports have already shown serious changes in rainfall volume and timing resulting in heavier floods or in other situations more intense temperature waves.  The science that deals with understanding and employing ethical processes in our daily activities in order to mitigate the negative effects of climate change caused by man's activities is referred to as Green Building or sustainable development. It is sometimes also called sustainable building/design. The idea of sustainable comes in three forms; Environmental sustainability, Economic/ Financial/cost sustainability and Social sustainability i.e. User friendliness/comfort/ health. The challenge of building collapse in  Nigeria is clearly an issue that traverses these three aspects.  This paper examines the occurrence of building collapse in Nigeria from the consultant's view point with a view to highlight the importance of adopting green building practices by Architectural Consultants as the leaders of the building team. Documented cases of building collapse in Nigeria within the past decade are reviewed, the stated causes are highlighted. Furthermore, industry bespoke practises on building collapse mitigation across the globe are studied. These include specifically America, Europe and Asia. A comparative analysis of the sustainable approaches adopted in these climes is drawn. In conclusion, it is recommended that the Nigerian Architect must imbibe these methods to see a future with less or absolutely no cases of building collapse. Keywords: climate change, building collapse, sustainable design, professional ethics, consultants' responsibilities.


1.0 Introduction
Climate change affects the physical condition of buildings. This is due to some major reasons. Increases in heat exposure of surfaces, wind anomalies and the unusual fluctuations in annual rainfall readings. Findings by the United States Global Change Research Program(1) in line with several other international science institutions support this scientific consensus.  The results show rapid global warming in the past few decades and particularly indicates that the last decade has been the warmest on record(2).
The result of this is the rapid degradation of exposed building components such as external walls, overhanging concrete slabs and building foundations leading to building failure over time. The incessant Cases of Building failures in Nigeria has drawn huge attention of the government, building stake holders and the academia recently, considering the loss of life and destruction of property commonly associated with them. To the government a case of building collapse means loss of it's citizens amongst other things; To the building owner, it means loss of huge financial investment among other things; However to the consultant it means negligence, incompetence and ultimately a 'dead' Career thus this paper turns the spotlight toward practicing building Consultants in Nigeria.
A few documented cases of building collapse in the country will be highlighted. Both generic and specific causes are explained with more emphasis on those relating to consultants. Further on, the obtainable industry-best-practices for prevention of building failure across America, Europe and Asia are noted with a simple comparison drawn. In conclusion, the perceived challenges facing building consultants as well as the possible ways around them are enumerated and finally recommendations are made toward a country with zero cases of building failure.

2.0 Some Recent Cases Of Building Failure Recorded in Nigeria and Causes
We know for sure that buildings have already become primary terrorist targets, We also know with scientific certainty that (predictable) earthquakes and storm surge can sometimes make tall buildings fall over(3); However in Nigeria, there seems to be more causes than we have realised. One of Nigeria's most respected national daily newspapers(4) recently published ten(10) tragic building collapse events in the country; thus
S/No.
Event
Building Type Affected
Date
Location
Estimated Number of Casualties
Acclaimed Cause
1.

The Synagogue Building Collapse
Six(6) Suspended floors - completed
September 2014
Ikotun, Lagos
300
Spiritual
2.
Lekki building collapse
Five (5) Suspended Floors - under construction
March 2016
Lekki, Lagos
34
structural defects - Building beyond the number of  approved floors 
3.
The “Titanic” goes down in Ebute-Meta
Four (4) Suspended floors - completed
July 2006
Ebute-Meta, Lagos
28
faulty construction
4.
The uncompleted building in Abuja
Four (4) Suspended Floors - under construction
August 2010
Ikoli Street, Garki
30
Not stated
5.
Jos school building collapse
Two (2) Suspended floors - completed
September 2013
Bukuru, Jos South Local Government Area
30
structural defects - Building beyond the number of  approved floors 
6.
Another building collapse in Ebute Meta
Three (3) Suspended floors - completed
July 2013
Ebute-Meta, Lagos
7
Non -adherence to Demolition order
7.
Construction goes wrong in Umuahia
Not stated - under construction
May 2013
Umuahia, Abia State
7
Not stated
8.
The abandoned church building
Church building
December 2011
Angwan Dosa, Kaduna
5
Demolition gone wrong
9.
Bank of Industry building collapse 
Nine(9) out of Twenty-one (21) Suspended floors - completed failed
March 2006
Broad Street, Lagos Island
25
Prior Fire incidence coupled with heavy wind and rain
10.
House No. 12, Hadeja Road, Kaduna
Three (3) Suspended floors - completed
July 2013
Hadeja Road, Kaduna
4
Age of Building
Table 1: Some Prominent Building failures in Nigeria. Source: The Punch Newspaper(4)
Furthermore, P.N Okpara (2007)(5) identified other major Causes of building collapse / failure in Nigeria to be;
            "..poor workmanship, use of cheap and inferior materials, wrong interpretation of building design, inadequate supervision, non adherence to due process in building    construction, lack of maintenance culture, greedy attitude of contractors Professional     in competence, the activity of the quacks, the use of plans approved for one storey   building for multi, storey building and the nature of the soil"(5)
This goes to re-iterate that, Clearly, building consultants have a frontline row to play in addressing this menace to society.






3.0 BUILDING COLLAPSE  IN THE GLOBAL SCENE
3.1 The American Scenario ;
Evidently, Nigeria is not alone in the global scene regarding the issue. Wardhana and hadipriono (2003)6 published a study that exposes the state of the menace in America.
Table 2: American States Ranked By Building Failure Frequency. Source: Wardhana et al (2003)(6)

Figure 1: Total Number Of failed Buildings In America Distributed By Year. Source: Wardhana et al (2003)6
The same study compiled the total number of failed buildings in America from 1989 to 2000 and presented the information in the bar chart shown here. The study identified the principal causes of the failures as: poor design, poor detailing, construction defects, poor building maintenance, material deficiencies and external causes such as climate and weather were identified as the enabling causes(6).
3.2 The European Scenario:
A parallel report by the Swiss Reinsurance Company(7) conducted in Europe, found that Soil subsidence due to Climate Shift above other factors was the major reason most buildings failed in Europe. It concluded that :
            "..Soil Subsidence risks are likely to increase in a changing climate. But the damage           potential also depends on the stability of building structures and their foundations"(7)

Figure 2: Subsiding House in London. Source : Swiss Re(7)
Soil subsidence was a phenomenon constantly resulting from the changing climate and weather of the region. It is defined as the downwards displacement of the ground, due to prolonged drought- (dryness of the earth crust) leading to tearing and hence shifting of tectonic plates on which buildings were resting. This subsiding house amongst several others in London, UK is being supported against collapse by metal struts. The report showed that incidents of soil subsidence were increasing in frequency and severity with climate change across Europe. The table below shows some of the prominent cases of building failures in Europe from 1990 to present.


S/No.
Event
Building Type Affected
Date
Location
Estimated Number of Casualties
Acclaimed Cause
1.



Stadium


1992


Bastia, France
-
-
2.
Marja store collapse
Commercial Building
1994
Tallinn, Estonia
5
-
3.



Sports Hall
1997

Halstenbek
, Germany



0
-
4.



Embankment dam


2000


Romania


0
Cyanide Spill
5.
Bridge
2001
Portugal
59
6.

Schneebergerhof Vestas V80 Wind Turbine collapse



Wind Turbine


2003


Gerbach, Germany


-


-
7.
Airport
2004
Roissy-en-France, Val-d'Oise, France
7
-
8.
Stadium roof
2006
Bad Reichenhall, Germany
47
-
9.
Apollo Theatre
Theatre
2013
London Uk
76
Prior Fire incidence coupled with heavy wind and rain
Table 3: Some Prominent Building Failures in Europe. Source: Wikipedia  - Abridged (8)

3.3 The Asian Story:
Sixty(60) percent of the world's population resides in Asia(9). This poses a huge demand on infrastructure, and buildings are not left out. To add to this, Asia has sadly been a favourite target for  several natural disasters. including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, drought, storm surges and tsunamis.

Figure 3:  Floodwaters in Manila in September 2009, after tropical storm Ketsana hit the eastern side of the northern Philippines. Photograph: Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA (10)
Needless to say, Such occurrences only leave buildings devastated to state the least. Entire buildings are removed and those that survive are left weaker than ever.

S/No.
Event
Building Type Affected
Date
Location
Estimated Number of Casualties
Acclaimed Cause
1.



Foot bridge


2001


Japan


258
-
2.
Kadalundi River rail bridge
Rail bridge
2001
India
57
-
3.


Cooling tower under construction


2016


76
-
4.




FlyOver Bridge


2016


Kolkata, India


0


-
5.
Dharahara earthquake
19th Century Tower
2015
Kathmandu, Nepal
200
Earthquake
6.


Five(5) Suspended Floors -completed


2013


Mumbai, India


93


Structural Defect
7.

Bridge
2013
Penang Island, Malaysia
4
-
8.
Commercial Building
2013
Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh
3,600
-
9.
Park building
2010
New delhi, India
-
-
Table 4: Some Prominent Building Failures in Asia. Source: Wikipedia  - Abridged (8)





4.0 Discussion On Findings
4.1 Summary Of Findings On Building Failure Across the Four Regions Studied:
S/No.
Region / Country
Major Identified Causes Of Failure
Estimated Casualty Over the Last Decade
Mitigationary Measures Established
1.
Africa (Nigeria)
·         poor workmanship.
·         use of cheap and inferior materials. wrong interpretation of building design.
·         Inadequate supervision, non adherence to due process in building construction.
·         Lack of maintenance culture.
·         Greedy attitude of contractors Professional          in-competence.
·         Activity of the quacks. Building Beyond Approved limit.
·         nature of the soil.
470
Largely Unaddressed
2.
America (U.S.A)
·         Poor design.
·         Poor detailing.
·         Construction defects.
·         Poor building maintenance. material deficiencies.
·         External causes such as climate and weather were identified as the enabling causes.
Un-captured
Green Building Solutions
3.
Europe
·         Soil Subsidence.
·         Climate and Weather fluctuations.
194
Pre-emptive approaches to Weather Control
4.
Asia
·         Natural Disasters : floods, cyclones, earthquakes, drought, storm surges and tsunamis.
·         Increased Urbanization.
·         Increased Industrial activities
4288
Still Largely Unaddressed.
Table 5 Author's Analysis Of Collected data.

4.2 Strategies to Reduce Future Risk of Building Collapse in Developing Countries
Figure 4 A WORLDWIDE SEISMIC CODE INDEX, COUNTRY-BY-COUNTRY GLOBAL BUILDING PRACTICE FACTOR AND SOCIOECONOMIC VULNERABILITY INDICES FOR USE IN EARTHQUAKE LOSS ESTIMATION (11)
An international study by four Authors from the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM),  Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 2011, reveals that Africa's building stock stands a huge potential for collapse over the next 475years if not checked.(11)   more than other continents. The call therefore is for Building Consultants in the region to rise up quickly to this great challenge.
5.0 Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
The recent introduction of a supportive course titled NIA Energy Efficient Building Design (EEBD) Programme for the Associate and technical members of the Nigerian Institute Of Architects is an applaudable development in line with the need to educate consultants better about the importance of green building. There has also been calls from other sectors such as the academia, in a paper presented in Lagos in April 2017, Godwin Idoro a lecturer from the university of Lagos, asserted that manually produced building blocks were causing 50% of the building failures in Nigeria. He went further to recommend that concrete block producers should be pre-qualified by a permit obtainable after approval to operate from a monitoring agency. Said permits should be renewable based on frequent inspection, control and monitoring of the production conditions of these concrete blocks. This Author is of the opinion that, If consultants understood more clearly the rudiments of Green Building Methods, and applied this knowledge in their choice of materials, design, siting, landscaping and building maintenance, as well as desist from illegal and greedy practises during and after construction, we would be way off the ground in this fight.
A second and major recommendation of this author is the development of an online based tool for measuring / evaluating energy efficiency of buildings during the construction and while it is operational. By this, the territory development authorities of very state can monitor the errors in buildings even before they are completed and habited. This will greatly help to reduce the cases of building failure.









6.0  References - Works Cited
[1] - http://downloads.globalchange.gov/usimpacts/pdfs/climate-impacts-report.pdf
[2] - https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/
3- http://www.emeraldecocity.com/tall%20buildings.html
4- http://punchng.com/10-tragic-building-collapses-in-nigeria/
5- Building Failures And Collapses: A Case Study Of Porthacort, Nigeria  https://www.ajol.info/index.php/joten/article/view/35692
6- Study of recent building failures in the United States- https://www.fep.up.pt/disciplinas/pgi914/ref_topico1/study_recent_build_failures_usa.pdf
7- The hidden risks of climate change: An increase in property damage from soil subsidence in Europe - https://www.biztositasiszemle.hu/files/201107/swissre_soil_subsidence.pdf
8- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_structural_failures_and_collapses
9. http://www.prb.org/publications/datasheets/2014/2014-world-population-data-sheet/data-sheet.aspx
10 -https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/sep/15/ensure-sustainable-development-asia-swelling-cities-climate-change
11- A WORLDWIDE SEISMIC CODE INDEX, COUNTRY-BY-COUNTRY GLOBAL BUILDING PRACTICE FACTOR AND SOCIOECONOMIC VULNERABILITY INDICES FOR USE IN EARTHQUAKE LOSS ESTIMATION - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258375629_A_Country-by-Country_Building_Inventory_and_Vulnerability_Index_for_Earthquakes_in_comparison_to_historical_CATDAT_Damaging_Earthquakes_Database_losses


Submitted by                                                                                                                                                                         
Chukwujindu Kosisochukwu Emmanuel  ANIA (Ph.D)                                                                                                       
Geometrix Consultants & Builders Ltd. No. 23 Waziri Ibrahim Crescent,                                                                                         
Off Abdulsalm Abubakr Way, Gudu, Abuja.                                                                                                                                 
Email: k.chukwujindu@gmail.com +234(0)81-416-811-89

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