Collapsed Ofankor building had no permit — Institute of Engineering
The Institute of Engineering Technology Ghana (IET-Gh) has said a preliminary investigation into the collapse of a three-storey building last Saturday at Ofankor, near Accra, has shown that the project did not have any permit.
Consequently, it said the assembly and the developer of the infrastructure must provide answers as to why the project, without a permit, was being put up.
The President of the IET-Gh, Henry Kwadwo Boateng, said that in an interview with the Daily Graphic last Tuesday.
He said when he heard the news of the collapse of the building, he directed the chairman of the building and civil division of the institute to gather information on what actually happened and whether the developer had a permit or not.
“So we gathered some information and the fact is that the developer does not have a permit and in the course of the project, I think the assembly went there to stop them , but the developer continued without heeding the caution the assembly gave them,” he said.
He said the institute’s checks revealed that the developer was outside the country and that she gave the work to someone to see to its execution.
The President of IET-Ghana said in all the number of occasions the assembly went there the place, which was fenced, was locked up, thereby impeding access.
However, Mr Boateng said the initial report said the last time the assembly went back to the place was the day before the building collapsed on Saturday, and that “it was at that point that the engineer who accompanied the assembly to the place realised that there was serious structure defects with the building indicating failure.”
The President of IET-Ghana alerted the caretaker and told him to evacuate everything from the structure with the intention of pulling it down.
Moreover, he said the assembly had asked the developer to submit the structural integrity and drawings to assess how safe the project was before the permit could be issued.
“They did not submit any drawing neither did they submit the structural integrity,” he said.
Despite that, Mr Boateng believed that the assembly could have used the security agencies or gone to court to stop the development.
Mr Boateng charged prospective developers to always seek the services of licensed architects, engineers and surveyors when embarking on development projects.
He said it was better to seek the services of professionals to prevent such incidents from occurring and to save them the cost of building again.
On last Saturday’s issue, he expressed concern about the swift manner the debris was cleared from the site, adding that they had tampered with evidence.
“Before daybreak on Sunday, everything had been cleared.
The evidence has been tampered with and we are concerned about that.
“When you engage a licensed professional you have established a contract and once a building collapses you can take the person to court and take back your money,” he said
In a related development, the Engineering Council of Ghana has said it ordered the clearing of the debris though investigations were yet to be conducted into the incident.
It, however, said it would conduct investigations with what was left.
“Since the building was in a walled compound, strict instructions were issued to the caretaker of the project to keep the place locked and nothing interfered with on the site until Monday when a technical team from the Engineering Council was to visit.
Unfortunately, by the time the team got to the site on Monday, the owners and caretakers had cleared and disposed of the entire debris away from the site,” a statement issued in Accra, said.
It, therefore, said with the current situation, detailed forensic investigations on the collapse would be more challenging.
Together with its partners — (Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Police Service, NADMO, Local Government Service and Architects Registration Council, as well as the various professional institutions within the built environment — it said the council would nonetheless do its utmost to ensure that it “undertake as much investigation as possible.”
It reminded the public that anytime there was a disaster such as a building collapse, the location became a crime scene and any attempt to tamper with anything on site was also a crime and hampered effective investigations into the disaster.
“The critical outcomes of this investigation will be shared with the relevant state authorities, as well as the general public, together with recommendations to guide all affected parties,” he said.