The Engineering Council of Ghana has described the recent spate of building collapses in the country as a national emergency. The Council, which is responsible for regulating the engineering sector in Ghana, says it will set up an emergency team to investigate the causes of the incidents and take action to prevent future occurrences.
The move by the Council comes after four incidents of building collapse were reported in less than two weeks, resulting in the loss of lives and injuries. The Registrar of the Council, Mr Wise Ametefe, says a permanent team will be established to respond to such disasters in the future and offer technical support to Assemblies to enforce building regulations.
The Council has blamed the incidents on poor supervision by the Assemblies, noting that preliminary investigations at the disaster sites revealed that the owners of the buildings either did not obtain permits or extended the buildings beyond what was approved.
Mr Ametefe called on professionals in the Assemblies to ensure that buildings submitted for approval are properly vetted before permits are granted. He said the outcome of the investigations would make a case for punitive measures to be taken against persons found to have flouted the law.
For the most part, the Council’s call for urgent action on building collapse is timely and appropriate. It is unacceptable that people continue to lose their lives due to poor building practices and lack of enforcement of building regulations. The Engineering Council’s efforts to investigate the causes of the recent incidents and prevent future occurrences should be supported by all stakeholders.
In a nutshell, the government and relevant agencies must take the necessary steps to enforce building regulations and ensure that all buildings meet the required standards. Owners of buildings should also be held accountable for any violations and punished accordingly. It is only by taking a collective approach that we can prevent the needless loss of lives and property due to building collapse in Ghana.