An investigation has been a called for some members of staff of the University of Lagos following the collapse of the school’s central library complex.
The incident which saw no life lost happened on Thursday when the seven-storey building, which is still under construction collapsed.
Some workers of the university stated that collapse might have been caused by the use of substandard materials, a situation they alleged was made possible because of the shoddy way the contract was awarded as well as the competence of the contractors.
A report into the collapse had it that the building collapsed while workers were still working on the site.
It was learnt that a part of the suspended floor shifted, making the left side of the building to collapse.
According to Punch, the project was a fixed contract by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund with counterpart funding from UNILAG.
The project consultants are ATO Architects, Landmark Structure Engineers, Tuber Consult Quantity Surveyors, IFC Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, CPMS Project Manager and Dutum Company Limited.
The UNILAG workers called for a probe of the roles of the project consultants.
The workers, who preferred anonymity for fear of victimisation, expressed sadness that a project that had huge sums of money allocated to it could be awarded to just anybody.
One of the workers said, “Everybody in the community is annoyed that huge funds are set aside to put up a nice structure but it is not up to the second floor and it’s already collapsing.
“How can you be setting up this kind of structure and employ the services of local contractors? This is where I became suspicious that the contractor could be making use of casual workers. The casual workers make use of head pans to convey concrete mix and this means that they can’t get the correct measure of the materials they are using. What we expected was that there would be the deployment of modern construction equipment for this massive project.
“Another thing that fuelled my suspicion was that the project signpost was just like an artistic work. For the part of the building to collapse at this stage, then, we need to question the kind of foundation the building has; this is nothing but corruption. We want the contractor to be probed because if the building had been completed, we would have had casualties.”
According to the report, the members of the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria met with the UNILAG Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, over the collapsed building.
The VC while reacting to the collapse stated that the UNILAG Council Chairman, Dr Wale Babalakin, had ordered an investigation into the matter after he was briefed.
Ogundipe further told the team that he had notified the investigative panel his observations about the contractor, his alleged inadequacies and the slow pace of work.
The Head of Communications, UNILAG, Taiwo Oloyede, while speaking on the incident stated that a panel had been set up to look into the matter.
Oloyede stated, “The building under construction did not collapse; what occurred on the construction site was a partial collapse of the formwork during concreting.
“The management has set up a committee to look into the situation and submit its report as soon as possible; probing the contractor may not be necessary now since it was not the building under construction that collapsed. Anyway, as earlier said, a committee has been set up and the contractor will be called upon to brief it on the situation.”
Similarly, the Head of Communications, TETFUND, Gbenga Arolasafe, also stated that the matter was under investigation.
He said, “I can’t give you an official response; there is nothing to hide; we have seen it and we have a procedure for authenticating and investigating what has happened before taking decisions and we have started work on it.
“I can’t say anything now until the report is out; we can’t jump into conclusions until we get our facts and figures right. By Friday, at the latest, we should have a response.”
When contacted, the representative of the main contractor, Dutum Company Limited, Temitope Runsewe, insisted that the building did not collapse, adding that what happened was a form of displacement.
“No, the building did not cave in; there was just a formwork displacement; it is still under construction and it got displaced. Allow the professionals to present their report and it will be provided to whoever is interested in it,” he stated.