Home News Gerrard Building: Construction began before LASBCA issued provisional approval

Gerrard Building: Construction began before LASBCA issued provisional approval

Gerrard - lagospost.ng

The Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) has reported to a coroner’s inquest on the collapse of a 21-storey building in Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos on November 1, 2021, that construction of the three high-rise blocks began months before provisional approval was granted.

This assertion was made by the counsel for LASBCA, Mr A.S Odugbemi while questioning Mr Muritala Olawale, the Managing Director of Prowess Engineering Nigeria Ltd and former consultant structural engineer to the project.

Olawale had withdrawn his services due to disputes on how the project was structurally executed in a letter dated February 20, 2020.

During the coroner’s court proceedings, Odugbemi disputed the contents of paragraph 17 in Olawale’s oath, saying that late Femi Osibona, the Managing Director of Fourscore Heights Limited, had informed his team that provisional approval for the project’s construction had been given.

According to Olawale’s statement on oath, Osibona `presented a copy of the provisional approval from the Lagos State government to the team and ordered them to start construction on the site.

Countering Olawale’s claims, Odugbemi said that the team had begun construction without LASBCA granting Osibona a provisional planning permit in January 2019, adding that LASBCA granted provisional approval in April 2019.

“Will you be surprised if evidence is provided to you right now that work had started before the provisional planning approval was granted in April 2019?” Odugbemi asked.

In response, Olawale said “I will be surprised. All the approval processes were being handled by the client (Osibona).”

Olawale did not provide a specific response to Odugbemi’s inquiry on whether the three high-rise blocks were covered by a general insurance policy as required by law, but he mentioned that a soil sample was conducted at the site prior to construction by another company.

“We have submitted the result of the soil test of the site to other panels investigating the collapse.”

On November 1, 2021, Block B (21-storeys) of the three high-rise buildings (Blocks A, B, and C) located on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos collapsed, leaving 46 dead, and 15 survivors. One of the dead was Mr Femi Osibona, Managing Director of Fourscore Heights Limited, the project’s contractor.

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