Top 15 Common Construction Errors In Nigeria

If you’ve ever wondered why there has been a good number of building collapse in Nigeria over the last decade, we’re here to give you an idea into a few minor things that are commonly played down on Most construction sites that might often result to these failures!

In most cases, it could be argued that these common errors do not really have an effect since the construction is often small. But from the Engineering aspect, we are aware that failure does not just occur, it takes years and decades for minor errors to results in catastrophe and so we are listing these for your perusal!

We are listing common construction errors that are easily spotted in Construction sites within Nigeria and we hope you and others that would come across this article find the need to make amends.

Best Definition for Construction Errors

In Construction, Construction errors are mistakes or problems that happen during the process of building structures like houses, bridges, or roads. These mistakes can happen for various reasons, like using the wrong materials, not following the right building plans, or not paying attention to important details.

Imagine building a tower of blocks. If you don’t place the blocks correctly, the tower might wobble or even fall down. Similarly, in construction, errors can make structures unstable or less safe. These errors can be small, like using the wrong nails, or big, like not following safety rules.

It is important to avoid construction errors since they can lead to the appearance of cracks on walls, leakages in roofs and in some cases, outright collapse of a structure.

Different types of Construction Errors with Examples

Professionally, there are numerous types of construction errors that can occure during construction. These includes but not limited to;

Foundation Errors: These occur when the base of a building isn’t properly designed or constructed. It can lead to instability and settling issues. For instance using a raft Foundation where strip is required!

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strip foundation before foundation concrete is laid
Strip foundation shortly before concrete is laid

Structural Errors: These involve mistakes in the main framework of a building, like beams, columns, or walls. They can weaken the structure’s ability to hold weight.

A Common example is using a triangular reinforcement system where rectangular shaped column is required

Material Errors: This happens when the wrong materials or poor-quality materials are used in construction. It can result in weaker and less durable buildings.

For instance, using timber where Steel is required!

Design Errors: Mistakes in the building’s design, such as incorrect measurements or poor architectural planning, can cause construction problems.

Plumbing and Electrical Errors: Errors in the installation of pipes, wires, or fixtures can lead to leaks, electrical issues, or safety hazards.

Imagine living in a flat under the water tank, but anytime the tank gets filled, water comes directly into your flat!

Safety Errors: Failing to follow safety guidelines can result in accidents and injuries on the construction site. This can affect lives during and after construction

Environmental Errors: Not considering the environment and local regulations can lead to legal issues and harm to the ecosystem.

Erecting buildings or facilities without proper Environmental, Society, Economic Impact assessments!

Timing Errors: Delays or rushing through construction can affect the quality of work and the overall schedule.

A good example is Knocking off formwork before the recommended time is a perfect example. Something that can lead to weak concrete!

Budget Errors: Going over budget or not managing construction costs properly can lead to financial problems.

Inspection and Permit Errors: Skipping required inspections or not obtaining the necessary permits can result in legal trouble and unsafe buildings. This is why structural collapse is rampant since most unprofessional work men would use wrong mix ratio thereby weakening the strength of a structural elements or the entire structure!

Common Construction Errors Observed in Nigeria

Having described construction errors, highlighted the types of errors with a few valid examples, let us see the actual errors as observed in construction sites around Nigeria! This is to help the common man understand the impacts of his decision and choices as it affects structures around him.

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The construction errors you’ve listed can have significant effects on the stability and durability of structures. Here are some potential consequences for each error, along with relevant codes that are often ignored in Nigeria:

Lintel on Windows and Doors only: This can lead to uneven distribution of loads, causing structural imbalances and potential cracks. (Code: Nigerian Building Code NBC 2019 Part 3, Section 3.2.2)

Lintel On All parts of a building, not on windows only
The right distribution of lintel

Reinforcement after Erecting walls: Late reinforcement can weaken the structure’s ability to withstand forces and may result in structural failure. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 3, Section 3.6.2)

Walls erected without columns or pillars
Walls erected without columns or pillars

No Damp Proof Membrane (DPM): Without a DPM, moisture can infiltrate walls and foundations, leading to deterioration and instability over time. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 4, Section 4.3.2)

Damp Proof membrane before oversight concrete
Damp Proof membrane before oversight concrete

Wrong Aggregates: Incorrect aggregates can affect the concrete’s strength and durability, potentially causing structural issues. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 6, Section 6.3.2).

For large construction works, gravels are not to be used. It would be very wrong to use gravel since gravel is rounded and prone to roll away thereby weakening the concrete!

Wrong Materials for Road Construction: Using substandard materials can lead to road deterioration, compromising safety and functionality. (Code: Nigerian Roads and Bridges Standards and Guidelines)

Exposing the Structure for Too Long: Prolonged exposure to the elements can weaken construction materials and reduce the structure’s lifespan. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 3, Section 3.8.3)

Knocking off Formwork before the Minimum Time: Premature removal of formwork can result in weak concrete structures. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 6, Section 6.4.3)

Concrete Placement Without Proper Vibrating: This can lead to segregation or concrete surface with uneven spread of the various materials. Results to weakness in the structural elements and sometimes, these elements could be knocked off further leading to wastage.

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3 Reinforcements Instead of 4: Insufficient reinforcement can compromise the structural integrity of the building, especially in earthquake-prone areas. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 3, Section 3.6.1)

Adopting Wrong Mix Ratios to Save Money: Incorrect mix ratios can lead to weak concrete, reducing the structure’s strength and longevity. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 6, Section 6.2)

Load Bearing Walls Instead of Frames: Inadequate structural systems can result in instability and limited architectural flexibility. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 3, Section 3.1)

For a building to be stable, durable enough to serve its purpose, the design has to be followed! For most high rise buildings, framed structure is always recommended. It would be wrong to arbitrarily adopt a load bearing wall and ignore the recommendations of the Engineer!

Subjecting Structures to Wrong Use: Using a structure for a purpose it was not designed for can lead to excessive stress and early deterioration. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 3, Section 3.1)

Building Without Professional Oversight: Lack of professional guidance in construction sites can result in construction errors and safety hazards. (Code: Nigerian Institute of Architects, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Institute of Building Codes of Professional Conduct)

Building Without Approval: Unauthorized construction can lead to legal issues and may not meet safety standards. (Code: Town and Country Planning Act)

Managing Materials: Poor material management can lead to the use of substandard or contaminated materials, compromising the structure’s durability. (Code: NBC 2019 Part 6, Section 6.1)

Ignoring these codes and construction errors can compromise the safety, stability, and durability of structures in Nigeria, leading to structural failures, safety hazards, and costly repairs in the long run. It’s crucial to adhere to these codes and best practices to ensure the longevity and safety of buildings and infrastructure.


Image Credits: Google


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Hi, I'm Richard Nwachukwu! It is my job to handle the content aspect of this great organization and I'm determined to ensure you get it all right as long as you're handling a construction project in Nigeria!

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