In an attempt to build houses for personal or public use, many developers have got their fingers burnt for failing to play by the rules. Dayo Ayeyemi reports.
In what could be referred to as a case of penny wise pounds foolish, a nine-storey building, still ongoing, has been marked for demolition in Lagos State on the account that its developers failed to secure appropriate statutory permits before commencing development.
Many housing developers have been cut in this web, hence the need for necessary steps to avoid such pitfalls.
The building, located on Dada Fayemi Close, Osapa –London area of Lekki Peninsula, Lagos, is already being pulled down manually by officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA).
When New Telegraph got to the construction site in Lekki, at the weekend, the structure was the only building raised to nine floors in the locality, while the others maintained four floors. Efforts to get owners of the building to comment proved abortive as there was no official on site to respond. Labourers on site were ordered out of the premises by the team of task force from LABCA without a word.
After much curiosity, our correspondent sighted a safety banner on the entrance gate to the building with the name of the developers as “Jordan Brooke Estates.”
Residents in the neighbourhood were not available for comment, except one Alhaja Alaba Makanjuola, that expressed shock over the demolition exercise.
Although she declined comment, she, however, observed that the building in question blocked her wi-fi.
General Manager of LABCA, Mr. Olalekan Shodeinde, said his agency had secured approval from the state government to embark on removal of illegal structures due to contraventions.
Removal of the building, he said, was hinged on the fact that the state government is desirous of preventing collapse of building to a very large extent, hence the need to pull down the nine-floor structure being constructed in the neighbourhood of approval limit of just four floors.
Besides, he said the building had no planning approval and was built on a road, turning a crescent to a closed street.
He said: “We want to nib in the bud incidents that happened couple of years ago where we had building collapses almost all the time in the state, causing loss of lives. Today, approval was granted and we have to commence the removal of the structure.”
He explained that the agency’s field officers discovered the site in September 2017, while the developer was served all the statutory notices, directing him to get necessary approval.
According to the LABCA boss, the developer came to the office with an assessment sheet that he had paid some money for approval, but “investigation we have with our sister agency in the Lagos State Planning Permit Agency (LASPPA) showed that there was no approval granted at all.”
“There was nothing in their records that the property has any submission with LASPPA,” Shodeinde said.
On this basis, the LABCA boss said the developer was advised to stop work, while officials of the agency moved in and sealed the site on October 2017. He said the developer was asked to regularise LASPPA.
Shodeinde said: “We continued monitoring but on March 2018, when we went back to the site, we found out that the site had grown to nine floors instead of five floors we left it in October.
“So we have to escalate the matter and the developer was not willing to conform to the rules of the game.
“Another major contravention was that the present Dada Fayemi close today was as a result of the building blocking Dada Fayemi crescent. The road used to be a crescent.”
The LASCA boss explained that his agency had been interacting with the developer to make it development fitted to the master plan arrangement for Osapa-London zone in Lekki Peninsula, Lagos, but was not ready to come to term with “build right” policy of government.
He said the agency had no drawings of the building, explaining further that Lekki Peninsula “does not have much strength to carry such imposing nine-floor development.”
The building was not approvable and that a major role of his agency was to ensure structural stability of buildings in the state.
He said that the agency embarked on manual removal of the building in phases due to closeness of the structure to adjoining properties.
“We communicated the approval to the developer that the building has to be removed and he was given a 14-day ultimatum. When the time elapsed, government had to moved in,” he said.
Shodeinde said that after 90 days, the owner of the building is expected to pay government the cost of removing the building, failure of which would result in forfeiture of the entire land.
Some of the housing experts, especially developers, who spoke with New Telegraph, expressed mixed feelings.
While some condemned government’s action, others said there was approval order for different zones in Lagos state, which prospective developers and home builders must comply with before commencing construction.
Abuja based housing expert, Mr. Francis Onwuemele, queried the rationale behind the demolition, citing some high rise buildings such as Peninsular Hotel, Oriental Hotel and others, which are over 14 and 20 floors as not too far from the area.
A former Managing Director, UAC Property Development Company, Mr. Hakeem Ogunniran, said there was an approval order document of Lagos State that should be a starting point for all developers.
He said developers must ensure that their building designs take cognisance of the document to get approval for development.
According to him, there are different approval orders for different zones in the state, saying that in Ikoyi, different streets have different approval orders.
“You may even have different approval orders for two different sections of a long street,” he said.
Managing Director, Ogun State Property Development Company (OPIC), Mr.Babajide Odusolu, corroborated Ogunniran, saying there was need for developers to confirm approval order in their area before development
“If the development was never approved, the developer has played Russian roulette and lost,” he said.
He advised developers to always do due diligence, inclusive of checking building regulations before commencing work.
A former Managing Director, Lagos State Property Development Corporation, Mr. Anthonio John-Bede, urged home builders to always patornise professional architects for their designs.
Besides, he said there was need for them to get planning information from the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development before deciding what to build.
Shodeinde urged all intending developers to always seek planning information and submit their building plans to the appropriate quarters for approval before commencing construction.
There is need for prospective developers to cut wastages by following the whole process of building approvals in order not to run foul of the law.