Substandard buildings

It is unfortunate that several lives were lost through collapsed buildings following the rainstorm that ripped through Lusaka on Friday.

Any loss of life is regrettable as life is precious.

But one thing is evidently clear that there is something wrong with the law pertaining to building standards in Zambia.

It is either the law is abused or there is generally the lack of inspection by those charged with the responsibility.

While it is not alien for buildings to collapse world over because of external causes, the reasons that trigger building in Zambia to collapse are obvious as they result from poor  workmanship, lack of building supervision and the propensity of building owners to cut corners by economising on standards.

There appears to be no strict rule or probably total disregard for quality and specification of materials used in most buildings after construction of building and houses was liberated.

Any Jim and Jack can start up a business of selling building material such as bricks without caring for either standard or quality.

There is simply no one to guide the manufacturers of bricks on the right mix of materials in the process of producing quality bricks.

Even when the building materials are taken to the construction site, especially house construction sites, these are unserviced plots.

The building departments of most if not all local authorities in the country either are inadequately manned or do not exist thereby allowing for poor quality buildings.

The result is when the rains come, there is a lot of building collapsing while roofs are ripped off.

This haphazard way of town development should come to an end and the local authorities should up their game.

There is need for councils in the country to employ strict enforcement measures on construction so that only building which pass the standards are allowed to be occupied.

Local authorities should not allow unplanned building to mushroom all over their jurisdiction without approval.

They should ensure that their Building Departments are properly manned to inspect old and upcoming structures and make recommendations on unfit buildings so that those structures are rectified to avoid disasters

Even the regulation of unplanned settlements should not be done under political pressure but when the local authorities are satisfied that town planning and standards have been met.

The developers in some of the unplanned settlements should be given ultimatums on meeting the required standards in construction by urging them to use quality building material.

This is the only way that what we witnessed in Lusaka can be avoided or minimised.

We have said losing a life is regrettable and it is even more so when the cause could have been prevented.

The local authorities should beef up their buildings departments and ensure that staff did their work. 

Categorized | Editorial

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