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Change in use of building could lead to its early collapse — expert

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Mr Bisi Adedire, Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Lagos Chapter, says a change in the  use of a building could lead to its weakness and early collapse.

Adedire gave the assertion on Friday while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

He said that most buildings in the state had been converted to purposes different from their initial designed purposes.

The Town Planner noted that change in the use of a building amounted to additional pressure on the building, resulting to the weakness of its structural stability, which could cause its early collapse.

“Presently, most residential buildings in Lagos State have been converted to warehouses, where heavy goods, equipment and machines are packed.

“When a building designed for residential purpose to be occupied by 10 people is converted to commercial use and occupied by over 100 people, it will definitely affect its structural stability,’’ he said.

According to him, it is outright illegality to change the purpose of a building without obtaining an approval permit for such conversion from the government.

Adedire said it was also illegal to attempt to change a residential building to a commercial building, within an area still zoned as residential, which he said had became very common in Lagos.

He, therefore, warned residents of the state to refrain from illegal conversion of buildings to purposes different from their original purpose.

Adediran explained that the Lagos State planning law allows for conversion of buildings, provided they conform with the master plan of its area of location, but an approval permit must have been applied for and granted before such conversion is carried out.

“The essence of the approval permit is for the regulatory body to ascertain that the building will be structurally fit for the purpose it will be converted into.

“But what is unacceptable is to convert a building into a use different from what it was initially designed for; it means putting an additional load on the building and it can lead to its early collapse,’’ he said.

He lamented that most of the buildings within the state were built without the requisite approval permit or due regularisation with the agency and as a result, do not conform with the building specifications and standards of their locations.

The Town Planner, however, emphasised the need for LASPPPA to relax the conditions and requirements for obtaining their building plan permits, saying that the high cost was a major constraint why most homeowners were reluctant to apply.

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