Anambra: Collapsed school building not approved – NBRRI

The Nigeria Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) has said that the preliminary evidence before it shows that the collapsed Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha centenary building did get necessary approvals from relevant authorities.

Chairman of NBRRI technical team on building collapse in Anambra state, Prof. Akaolisa Ezeagu, said this when the team visited the site on on-site assessment Saturday.

Akaolisa, who is the Head of Civil Engineering Department Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, attributed the collapse to foundation problems which were as a result of disconnect between the building team and the Technical Engineer

He said buildings of such magnitude should be subjected to all construction approval processes including those from central authority.

According to him, “For now, what we have seen shows some areas of concern which point towards the foundation problem.

“We have seen that there was a gap between the technical engineer and the construction team in terms of the foundation the technical engineer prescribed and the one the construction team used.

“Again, the document they gave us had no approval stamps by any known authority, which should not be the case.

“The drawings we saw had no stamp of any central approval to show that it had been studied and given a seal of approval to. commence.

“This type of building should get approved from a central body in the state which will thoroughly go through the documents submitted by the architect, engineers and look for gaps and where there is none, construction will be approved,” he said.

Ezeagu who described the incident as unfortunate said the essence of this exercise was for fact finding which involves establishing negligence, concern and possible improvement.

He said the team had collected samples a series of tests including soil, granite, reinforcement and cast for beams.

The expert expressed worry over number of building collapse in Onitsha metropolis and recommended a for so there is a detailed research on the type of soil and the height of building it could carry.

He commended the school and building team for cooperating with the NBRRI Technical Team by providing them all the information that would aid their investigation.

“We have interacted with the principal of the school and the Consultant and the building team has supplied us with all the information including building drawings, building calculations and soil investigation

“There are areas that are originally designed for non high rise buildings and if you must build high rise buildings in such places, then you must go the extra mile.

“Based on the history of this area, the highest floor here is three or four and if you want to go for six floors, it requires that you must do something different from what other people here have done,” he said.

Ezeagu said the details of their findings would be captured in a report which would be gazetted and accessible to members of the public upon conclusion as soon as possible.