A statement made in Parliament by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Wa East, Ameen Salifu, on the recent collapsed six-storey building at Nii Boi Town in Accra and others in Accra and Kumasi – resulting in the loss of human lives and destruction of properties – has compelled the First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton Odro, to direct the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing to come and brief Parliament on what measures the Ministry was taking to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring.
Also invited was the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, who had been asked to come and furnish the House with existing building laws and how they are being enforced.
The Wa East MP had indicated that the collapsed buildings, notably the Melcom Supermarket, Sakaman Methodist Church, all in Accra; another storey building in Kumasi and the recent one at Nii Boi Town in the past two years, had resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives and properties which could have been avoided.
The MP said it was sad that after the Melcom incident almost two years ago, no concrete measures had been put in place to prevent further collapse of other buildings.
“Mr. Speaker, critical to these unfortunate collapse of buildings is the bad and unprofessional approach to planning by bodies such as the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Town and Country Planning Department who look on while rules and regulations are violated with impunity,” Mr. Ameen Salifu observed.
The Wa MP said the surest way to avoid recurrence of such mishaps was to act firmly to do away with the existing habits that result in the incidents.
According to him, buildings collapse mainly due to bad designs, faulty construction, weak foundations, use of unqualified people in the construction industry, building on inappropriate soils and non-enforcement of laid-down rules and regulations regarding construction of buildings.
He therefore called for the building inspectorate divisions in all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to be strengthened to enable them carry out regular monitoring of new buildings being put up.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Asuogyaman, Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, said the various assemblies should be blamed for such incidents, stressing that the Melcom incident should have been a wake-up call for metropolitan and municipal assemblies to do the right thing as regards construction of new buildings in the cities and towns.
The Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, said as much as government takes the blame for some of the incidents, property developers must also ensure that the proper thing is done when it comes to putting up high rise buildings.
He said while those officially charged to ensure that standards are met do their work, developers must also ensure that they engage qualified engineers and artisans to work for them.
“Mr. Speaker, investing in building is a life-long investment which involves huge sums of money, so I will entreat both private and public developers to ensure that quality work that meets the specified standards is done”.
“Mr. Speaker, when a new classroom block is built, within six months, serious structural defects start showing, indicating that those supervising those public buildings did not do their work well,” he said.