Collapse Buildings And its Causes

Firstly, collapse building and ist causes have bee one of the trending issues facing the society today. On the other hand, a building is a permanent or temporary structure enclosed by walls and roof, including all attached apparatus and equipment.

The importance of building to mankind cannot be over emphasized. A building cannot be removed without cutting into ceiling, floors or walls. When any of these mentioned elements failed, it leads to a collapse of the entire building.

Collapse Buildings And its Causes - substandard materials

On the other hand, Collapse building as a whole occurs when part or the whole body of a structure fails and suddenly gives way. the structure, as a result of this failure, could not meet the purpose for which it was meant for. Building collapse is an extreme case of building failure. In building collapse, the super-structure crashes down totally or partially.

The failure in a building element which is caused by a defect in the element as a result of the inability of the material making up the components of such building elements to perform its original function effectively, is what finally lead to building collapse. Buildings are meant to provide conveniences and shelter to the people in them. But the same building has been a dangerous trap to the same people and properties. A building is expected to meet certain basic requirements such as buildability, design performance, cost-effectiveness, quality, safety and timely completion.

Building Expectations

Generally, buildings are expected to be elegant and functional but many projects that are constructed do not meet any of these basic requirements. The recurring incidence of building collapse, some of which claimed innocent lives is a consequence of this. There are many factors that cause building collapse in Nigeria and the world at large. They are, structural design and quality management which entails material variability, testing variability, judgment factor, contractors’ variability, poorly skilled workmen and unprofessional conduct.

There are other several reasons why buildings collapse. These are grouped into two namely: (1) natural cause (2) man-made cause

Natural Cause of Collapse Building –

below are some of the natural cause of building collapse also call natural factor

Differential Settlement

This is a natural phenomenon that occurred when the soil beneath the structure (building) expands, contracts or shifts away. It is a term used in structural engineering for a condition in which a building support (foundation) settles in an uneven fashion, which often leads to structural damage (collapse).

Groundwater – Collapse Buildings And its Causes

this water is refers to any water below the surface of the earths crust, it is an integral part of the water cycle and it interacts directly with the water present on the earth. Ground water has great effects on building structures. The effects may include, flooding, swelling of clay, reduction in bearing capacity, hydrostatic uplift pressures, chemical attact and cracks on walls.

Shear Strength – Collapse Buildings And its Causes

Shear strength of a soil is indicative of its resistance to erosion. Specifically, it is defined as the resistance to deformation by the action of tangential (shear) stress. Soil shear strength is made up of cohesion between particles and resistance of particles sliding over each other due to friction or interlocking.

Manmade Cause of Collapse Building

some of the man made cause or factors are outline below.


Most buildings collapse mainly because of structural failure. This in most cases occurred when the specific designed load for the building (structure) is exceeded. This mostly happen in major cities as the building owner increase the load by adding to the existing structure to increase the number of occupants from the earlier planned number for the structure.

When considering over loading, it is important to know that it is in three different types; dead load, live loads and wind loads which should be looked out for during construction else, the building and occupants are subjected to danger.

Non professionalism –Collapse Buildings And its Causes

Many designs are done by non-professionals and many projects are carried out by non-professional also. When this two factor take place in a building project, there is no gainsay that the building will be subjected to advance mistakes that will be over look saying “it doesn’t matter” which will matter than matter in the later days.

Inadequacy in Design

Before the design of the building plan, a proper investigation should be carried out on the location where the building is to errected. if this activity is not carried out, it leads to inadequacy as many factors will not be put into consideration when designing or executing the project. In such conditions, manipulation of these factors will occur just to fulfill all righteousness. These manipulated factors will later surface leading to different damage on the structure since the appropriate condition were not meet at the initial stage.

Design Disobedient –Collapse Buildings And its Causes

This is a situation whereby the project executor failed to adhere to the designer instructions as laid down in the plan.  Once any of the instructions of the designer are omitted or not followed, there is every possibility of that building having fault which can lead to collapse. Whenever a change of earlier planned for building structural design to a more complex design that was not accounted for occurred, there will be increased on the weight hence putting tension on the columns leading to collapsing.

Incompetence in engineering practices

Concrete determine how long a building stay or last. Improper concrete mixing as incompetence done by engineers can destroy this expectation. The mixes give the building its durability. 
before concrete will be approved for a particular job, it ought to have passed through three different stages which are batching, testing and curing. A building will be subjected to danger if these three tests are not well carried out on concreten.

Substandard materials –Collapse Buildings And its Causes

Most of the building materials used in many buildings are substandard. In other words, the materials do not meet the required strength as required by the designer.  Most of the materials used in our building construction are counterfeit. Ranging from the cement to steel bars. If the engineer is not cautious then a building will end up collapsing because substandard materials can never guarantee a building’s strength.

Poor workmanship

This occurs due to poor supervision and poor role allocation. In this case, if the building owner or engineer does not supervise the builders, they may mix the material poorly.
There are also incidences when instructions of how to go about work on site are influenced by the owner even when he/she has little or no knowledge about the job.
Such inconveniences lead to inefficiency and quack work on site since all specified measures and materials are not followed.

Age out –Collapse Buildings And its Causes

Building materials have a time frame at which they can hold up after use. The expiring time frame of buildings ranges from 50 to 100 years. 
Once these years elapse then this particular building should be brought down. 
This is not always the case in Nigeria. This is when a building is deemed to expire.


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