Shelter, is one of the basic needs of human kind. Apart from giving protection from elements of nature and providing storehouse for personal possessions; shelter in accordance with contemporary modern standards, must offer such infrastructure and services that would make dwellings conducive. The need for a decent and safe home cannot be overemphasized, right from the Stone Age when man dwelt in caves to the present age of sophisticated buildings and superstructures, man has always been caught up in the struggle to provide for himself a safe and comfortable dwelling place. The built environment, in any country, determines the nature and pace of national development and the citizens’ quality of life. It has a major influence on the progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs), which were aimed at reducing poverty worldwide. The surge in urbanization has increased the need for more houses and this has influenced the massive growth in housing stock over the years.
In recent past, the incidents of collapse buildings in our urban environment where most of these structures are located has continued to give the government, members of the public and concerned professionals in the construction industry a cause for great concern. The incidence of building collapse in Nigeria is reaching an epidemic proportion. Some estimates show that in the last 12 years, probably no less than 30 buildings have collapsed around Lagos alone, in fact from the research conducted by Ayedun and others 13 building collapsed in Lagos in 2006. Other major cities are not spared – Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan. And each time, there is a tremendous loss of human lives and properties and severe injuries to people around there. In response to the problem, various stakeholders’ workshops, seminars and proposals have been put forward to arrest the scourge. In Lagos State the government in 2010 promulgated a new legislation on Urban and Regional Planning and devoted a part of the law to measures to address the problem.
This paper examines the provisions of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development law and the problems of building collapse in the state and argues that though the efforts of the government in making the law is laudable, there are still room for regulatory improvement in order to nip the menace of building collapse syndrome in the bud.
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