THE incident that occurred in Lusaka where a building caved in and killed a worker at the site is one among many incidents that have continued raising questions on the competence of some architectural works.
What happened in Lusaka’s Katungu area is a wakeup call for the citizens to engage well qualified architects otherwise many buildings around the city remain a death trap especially with the coming of the rains.
It is common knowledge that some people opt for shortcuts when undertaking some construction works and end up compromising on quality, and sadly the results have been shoddy works and to the extreme, loss of lives which could easily be avoided if qualified architects are involved.
As the Zambia Institute of Architecture (ZIA) suspects, there could have been some flaws in the construction of the building in Katungu area especially that most buildings in the townships do follow some standard.
While we cannot condemn before an actual assessment is done on the collapsed building, a lot of people have observed as the design of the facility did not follow the standards.
Most of the businesspeople are not interested in following procedure when erecting these buildings and are always in a hurry to finish with minimal expenses and start operating without thinking of the safety of the workers and customers.
ZIA has denied any of its member’s involvement in the design of the building meaning some crooked architect could have been engaged to do the works at a cheaper rate.
It is surprising why most Zambians interesting in building do not engage qualified architects before proceeding with their construction.
It is high time Zambians and any other national residing in Zambia opted for professional expertise before and in process of construction of works so that advice could be given to avert disasters that lead to loss of lives.
ZIA should intensify countrywide checks of most building works going around the city and eventually countrywide because some structures remain a serious death trap waiting to happen.
Talking about buildings been a death trap, what has happened to the unfinished building on the corner of Katondo Street and Freedom Way.
The 11-storey building has remained an eyesore for more than 28 years poses a danger to the public especially those that trade within the area.
Is there not a time frame a certain structure should be allowed to remain unfinished and how often do ZIA and the Engineering Association of Zambia pass through and check these facilities.
We should not wait for disaster to happen, as was the case in the Katungu area, for relevant authorities to visit a site and conduct tests.
Routine checks within the townships and compounds should be encouraged so that all those found wanting can be stopped and advised to construct a building based on guidance from qualified architects.
It is sad that the profession of the architects has been infiltrated by unregistered and unqualified individuals whose designs may not respond to the basic design principles and requirements thereby posing a danger to occupants.
The only challenge is for all the councils to ensure applications that are granted planning permission are done by registered architects not these quacks that have invaded the profession and offer sub-standard services.
It will also be incumbent on the members of the public to engage services of local registered architectural firms that have diverse and experienced architects to carry out any magnitude of building projects.
Doing so will not only beautify the buildings to be in an acceptable manner but save lives especially of the young men working at these sites.