Role of Project Managers in Mitigating Collapse of Structures in Nigeria

By Abbas Badmus

Over the past decade the situation with project execution and construction has become alarming. The collapse of residential buildings, sub-standard execution of roads network, bridges, industrial plants and other projects continue to cause risk amongst residents, users and workers of such establishment. From the beginning of COVID in 2019 to date, multiple disasters have occurred on projects that accommodate people, as well as traffic routes such as road networks and bridges.

In 2021, over 20 residential buildings collapsed killing workers and occupants of such buildings. In Lagos alone, the amount of new storey buildings construction that have witness fault lines and poor use of materials are numerous, such cases have led to building collapses at Akanbi Crescent in Yaba in Feb, Oyingbo around Ebutte-Metta in May and the famous 21 storey building collapse in Ikoyi that killed tens of workers including the contractor and developer. Also, poor construction of bridges has compounded the problems associated with structure failures. On May 2021, in Kogi state, a multi-million Naira bridge collapse a week after construction, and in Imo State, the Okorocha’s Second Inland Bridge was ruined due to poor structural design in July, causing waste of funds and manpower inputs. These failures are strongly attributed to poor project management and dearth of implementation of due process. In 2022, this form of mismanagement has also continue to take the tool on several on-going projects in the country with the attendant consequences insight if proactive steps are not taken now.

What Is the Role of The Government and The Concerned Authority to Mitigate this form of Disaster?

In this regard, The Chartered Institute of Project Managers of Nigeria (CIPMN) was established in 2018 by Act, no 3 and Gazette No 15, Vol 105 with the responsibility for registering and disciplining its members. The Institute’s formation was a necessary intervention to checkmate quacks in the sector, discipline erring project managers, maintain status quo and improve the project management profession. The Federal Government of Nigeria made it deliberate to establish the Institute under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. And because of the significance of the project managers towards sustainable and quality infrastructural development. it is believed that project execution will be monitored and supervised over the project implementation and execution stage of proposed or ongoing projects across the Federation. Subsequently, mitigating the risk and potential disaster that may be caused by unsupervised projects. The Institute’s mandates are well spelled out, but the problem is the impact of this Institute is nowhere to be found.

Since the establishment of the Institute in 2018, the institute have not been able to impact the project managers community or improve the professionalism of the discipline. By now, Nigerians should have expected an institute with increased certified members that have undergone assessment and validity test to ascertain their level of project management and also on the verge of generating revenue for the Federation. The slow pace of achieving the mandates set for the Institute by the Federal Government allowed for the President to appoint a sole Administrator in February to stabilize and set structures for the Institute. But this process has been stalked because of the court cases leveled against this appointment by the dissolved registrar. This selfish act had continued to have negative impact on project monitoring and evaluation that can reduce failed construction and project execution. The Federal authority need to put it foot down to fast track the ongoing judicial proceedings, in order for the sole administrator to resume on her mandates and speed up processes and procedures of having a robust Project Manager Institute that can compete with order regulatory bodies.

In conclusion, the role of project managers in sustainability of the Nigerian built environment can not be over emphasized. Project Managers will play the leading role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing out of various projects in the Federation. They will also be accountable for the entire project scope, the project team, resources, failure and success of the project as well devise mitigation plan for project sustainability.

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