–By Olufunke Johnson
A professor of Building in the University of Lagos, professor Olumide Adenuga has called for the adoption of preventive maintenance system by maintenance managers (or the appropriate authorities) of both public and private buildings.
Professor Adenuga was speaking at the J.F Ade Ajayi Auditorium, University of Lagos during his inaugural lecture titled Building Maintenance: An A posteriori culture in Nigeria- the Quest for Economic sustainability.
The Building guru whose research concentrated on three pivot areas of construction namely: Maintenance Management, Procurement Methods and Innovation of New Construction Materials said the goal of preventive maintenance is to reduce the incidence of breakdowns or failures in the plant or equipment to avoid the associated costs.
The professor of Building said preventive maintenance is periodic and also a result of planned inspections as maintenance is done according to calendar after predetermined number of hours.
The UNILAG Don outlined the benefits of planned preventive maintenance systems as known task scheduling, known cost and cost measurement and known labour resource needs.
He bemoaned the rate at which both public and private buildings in Nigeria lack adequate maintenance and monitoring, attributing the trend to the general absence of a maintenance and thrift culture “ it is an unfortunate but glaring fact that our buildings are in very poor and deplorable conditions of structural and decorative disrepair, being more or less refuse dumps and natural homes for rodents and vermin and in spite of billions of naira being spent to erect and commission imposing and iconic buildings, they are soon abandoned to face premature but rapid deterioration and dilapidation”.
He said in spite of the laudable efforts of government at ensuring buildings are not neglected, it is discouraging to observe that more attention is still given to new constructions than the maintenance of existing ones with the unfortunate results that buildings are left to waste, deteriorate and decay at an alarming rate.
The UNILAG Don gave some factors responsible for the initiation of the process of deterioration among which are human aspects as some maintenance staff lack maintenance culture, adding that the effect of deterioration can be minimized or slowed down by taking corrective actions at the appropriate time by persons responsible for the maintenance of structures.
He gave other factors as occupants’ misuse of buildings, chemical factors, which has to do with interaction of certain material with the surrounding environment which causes corrosion, Faulty Design, faulty construction, faulty materials, faulty system and environmental aspects which refers to exposure of building components to atmospheric agents such as air, rain, moisture, gases, radiation and surrounding soil.
Citing other authorities during his lecture, Professor Adenuga gave other causes of structural defects in Nigeria as Improper supervision of projects during construction, failures caused by foundational problems, social-Economic Habits of Nigerians as some patronize non-professionals for building designs for fear of paying appropriate fees to qualified people, owner-contractor syndrome, in that some owners usually want to build by themselves, buying cheap and inferior building materials without any idea of what type of materials should be bought for a particular job and using the so-called direct labour all in a bid to save cost as well as constructional problems having to do with some wrong developers wrongly believing that by compromising slightly on materials quality, the overall effect on the structure will be little and the monetary gain will be large.
He however recommended that to facilitate the implementation of planned preventive maintenance, reasonable care should be taken at the design and construction stages of building development in the selection of materials and the construction method, adding that the principle of cost-in-use should be borne in mind while making these selections with a view to ensuring adequate future maintenance of the building.
Professor Adenuga also recommended that prompt corrective maintenance or repairs should be undertaken where faults are detected in buildings to avoid further deterioration or spread of the defects or faults. He said occupiers of buildings should be adequately educated to report defects as soon as noticed, to the maintenance manager (or maintaining authorities) of the property to enable quick inspection and allow for early remedial section to be taken. He added that government should make positive efforts in encouraging individual home ownership as studies have shown that owner-occupiers maintain their properties better than the best of tenants amongst others.