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General News Fri, 31 Jan 2003

Developer Caused Collapse Of Building

The Committee of Inquiry into the collapse of a four storey building at Swalaba in Accra, on 12 December last year, has attributed it to the failure of the developer to follow approved building regulations and procedures.

It was also due to the engagement of an unprofessional and unqualified contractor and the use of inferior materials for the project.

In the executive summary of the committee?s report presented in Accra on Thursday to the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, Solomon Offei Darko, the committee, which used five weeks for its work, revealed that the contractor did not use any construction machinery such as concrete mixers, poker vibrators and scaffolding items required for that kind of structure.

It said that in the course of investigations, the commission found out that the developer did not give any statutory notice to the A.M.A before the commencement of work as required by law. Similarly, the developer, contrary to the law, failed to notify the A.M.A. as the building reached various critical stages of development.

?The setting out for the building did not conform to the approved site and block plans. In this regard, all setbacks observed were much less than approved distances. Consequently, the building as built was very different from what was approved in terms of site coverage, configuration of structural members, standard of materials, construction and supervision,? it said.

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The committee chaired by Prof Ralph Mills-Tettey, Management Co-ordinator of the Ghana Institute of Architects, also identified some irregularities in the architectural and engineering drawing.

Building Inspectors assigned oversight responsibility of the project also failed to exercise due vigilance as the work progressed, thus allowing construction to go on without compliance to due processes.

The Committee among other things, recommended that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development should direct all district assemblies to comply strictly to the provisions of the National Building Regulations 1996 (LI 1630).

This is because most of the irregularities noticed in the investigations were in serious contravention of the legislation.

?The Committee, in fact believes that this strict compliance alone is the panacea for preventing inexperienced and inappropriate persons either executing drawings required for the development, building permits or constitution without due process being followed,? it recommended.

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Presenting the report, Prof Mills-Tettey also called for the over-hauling and restructuring of the A.M.A Metro Town and Country Planning Department and Metro Works Department to ensure efficiency in the planning supervision and monitoring of structural developments in the metropolis.

The Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, in his remarks, expressed appreciation to the committee and assured that the recommendations would be implemented.

He announced that the assembly was in the process of streamlining the mode of issuing building permits as a way of avoiding delays in securing permits. It is recalled that a four-storey building being constructed at Swalaba in the Ahiedu Keteke Sub Metro area of Accra, collapsed on 12 December 2002.

There were no casualties. All the A.M.A officials directly responsible for the inspection of buildings in the area were interdicted while immediate investigations were ordered on 15 December by the government. The Committee?s report and recommendations were expected to reach the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development on 20 December last year.

Source: Ghanaian Times