Building collapses: Regulators must up their game

The source of the poor construction material isn’t really relevant—they might have been appropriate for a smaller edifice with less weight to support. The real culprits are those who commissioned the building, the various professionals who designed it or were in charge of its construction, and the authorities who allowed its construction without ensuring that all security and safety regulations, rules and norms were strictly respected.

Editor,

RE: “Laxity in construction sector regulation is unacceptable” (The New Times, February 20).

The source of the poor construction material isn’t really relevant—they might have been appropriate for a smaller edifice with less weight to support. The real culprits are those who commissioned the building, the various professionals who designed it or were in charge of its construction, and the authorities who allowed its construction without ensuring that all security and safety regulations, rules and norms were strictly respected.

Incidents like these should keep all of us worried at the possibility that the construction safety regulators across the country may be sleeping on the job, literally and figuratively. The outcome may then be that even when many a building is completed without mishap we cannot be sure there are no dangers lurking within the edifice that just a little seismological shaking or a heavy downpour and subsequent weakening of foundations or the edifices’ substandard material may not lead to collapse with fatalities and serious injuries. Just imagine if this church had been completed, and then years in the future with the building full of worshipers, it had collapsed over them.

In addition to ensuring appropriate safety standards are followed in the design and construction of new edifices, regulators must undertake regular inspections of already existing edifices—especially those used by the public—to ensure they are not death traps for unwary citizens.

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