Renowned architect, Dr. Olanrewaju Towry-Coker, has revealed the probable cause leading to the collapse of a seven-storey edifice under construction in Banana Island, Lagos State.

Dr Towry-Coker insisted that after an on-the-spot-assessment visit to the site, one of the major cause of the collapse was that there was no way the reinforced concrete columns of the collapsed seven-storey building in Banana Island, Lagos, could have supported the structure because according to him, “they were just too narrow in thickness,” adding that to a trained eye, it was obvious they were already beginning to show signs of buckling.

Architect Towry-Coker, a former Commissioner for Housing in Lagos State between 1999 and 2003, stated this in a statement he personally signed and made available to the media, to share his thoughts and comments on the latest in the series of building collapse in Lagos.

The renowned architect said in his statement, “I had the rare privilege of visiting the site of the latest collapsed building in Banana Island yesterday afternoon, 13th April, in order to be in a position to comment in a knowledgeable and professional manner.

“I was met by the General Manager, GM, of the Lagos State agency and other officials whose purview it is to monitor building permits, and infractions there, and this afternoon and I can tell you that the officials that I saw there yesterday afternoon, were very concerned about the situation they found themselves in.

“The GM recognized me from my tenure as the Lagos State Honourable Commissioner for Housing, 1999 to 2003, and was as a result, extremely helpful, as I mentioned to him that I needed to be educated on the possible causes of the collapse as I had already been contacted by electronic media outlets.

“What I also noticed was the fact that, there was no way, the reinforced concrete columns, could support the seven storey, structure because they were just too narrow in thickness, and it was obvious to a trained eye that they were already beginning to show signs of buckling!

“I looked for the names of the design team on a signboard and, all I saw was a name on a site lift, which was apparently the name of the company as well as the contractor who was also the ‘architect’ and ‘engineer’!”

Dr Towry-Coker added that from his findings, it was obvious that “the project was designed by unknown ‘architects’ and ‘engineers’ and being built by ‘unknown’ persons!”

Wondering how earth such anomaly could be possible in Lagos Island, which he described as “Lagos State construction hub since the 1800s,” Dr Towry-Coker applauded the decision of the Lagos State government to enforce a blanket ban on all construction activities in Banana Island, till a proper inventory is made of all high rise buildings in the enclave.

He continued, “This is not only a very prudent approach, but it’ll also help to prevent further building collapse on the Island, as competent and experienced structural engineer members of the national professional body, are brought in to assist in the assessment.

“This was my public recommendation after the collapse of the Four Score building in Ikoyi, less than two years ago.”

Towry-Coker, PhD, is an internationally renowned architect, elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2016, and remains the only Nigerian architect ever, to have been elected to the level of Fellow of the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects.

He also holds a Masters of Arts, MA, degree in Law, obtained from the University of Law, Bloomsbury Campus in the United Kingdom, and a published author of the book: ‘Housing Policy and Housing Delivery in Nigeria: Lagos State As Case Study.”


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