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Ways of identifying substandard buildings


By Echeburu Oby

Nigeria has suffered its share of building collapse in the past with several cases of buildings collapsing and killing scores of people. 

With the reoccurring situation of building collapse, that has led to various worries about the standard and strengths of some buildings we have in the country. Viewpoint housing media has seen reasons why the public needs more enlightenment on being able to detect substandard building and ways on easing down the numerous cases of building collapse.

The fact remains that buildings do not just collapse. There are always warning signs. In many cases, the building control agency of several states in Nigeria carry out a non-destructive integrity test.

This integrity test according to professionals is to ascertain the structural stability of the building. This helps the agency know if such buildings can be renovated or re-engineered.

Substandard buildings are building that do not meet the set standards, these are building that constitutes high level of risk to the well-being of the occupants and its neighbors.

Most substandard buildings can be identified by cracks also known as thermal movement which is one of the most powerful causes of cracks to appear on the walls of buildings. If overlooked, this could eventually lead to the collapse of that particular building.

Another thing to look out for are sloppy or deformed sliding. Sliding is what protects the building from the moisture and the elements. Which can be found on the inside or outside the walls of the buildings that are well constructed. When not kept in good condition, it can deteriorate and result in weakening of foundational structures; which often leads to building collapse.

Peeling paints are one of the major signs to look out for when in search of a property, peeling paints signifies that either the building is wearing out or the materials used during the construction of the house are substandard products.

Leaking roofs are another form of challenge that comes with substandard buildings, most people can’t identify a leaking roof from mere looking at the property from the outside but once there’s access into the building, traces and marks of water on the ceiling/POP will be there and it indicates that it’s a leaking roof.

Bad drainage system can be spotted from outside the property, a building where the drainages are blocked or clogged, it’s obvious to say that there is no proper drainage system. With that you are prone to ill health because mosquitoes breed in such places.

Molds and water stains on walls, there is usually one way mould and rot are caused – Water got to a part of the house that should not be wet. Professionals prefer to call this ‘moisture penetration.’

When there is an excess of moisture that can’t escape within the structure of a house, it is called a damp.

The natural tendency of moisture is to spread out from wet parts of a house to the dry areas. The moisture would also move downwards under the influence of gravity. Your house construction should allow for this. If this does not happen, it could result in clay lump walls collapsing


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