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This study investigated the assessment for controlling of dampness in an existing building in Nigeria. The study came as a result of the prevalent issues in the number of cases of building collapse in Nigeria especially in Lagos State. The descriptive research design was adopted for carrying out this study. Data were collected and analysed with the use of SPSS. The study had the following as the research objectives: to identify the prevalence of dampness in an existing building in Nigeria, to survey the effects of dampness in an existing building in Nigeria and to inquire the reasons for dampness in an existing building in Nigeria.



1.1   Background to the Study

A building delivered to the satisfaction of the client is one that is accepted as being of high standard and built using good machineries. This is bound on the premises of estimated cost. Recently, the Nigerian construction industry is currently witnessing a number of high-profile building collapses especially in Lagos State. During this year, the property and environment column of the Vanguard Newspaper emphasized the prevalent of collapsed building in all the nooks and crannies of the country, with Osun State inclusive. Building collapse is an occurrence that is beyond technological and scientific explanation. There can be no failure of a building without a prior failure of some building components. The technology of construction can never guarantee complete elimination of some degree of failure because of the fact that structures settle down, however slightly, on completion, as a result of consolidation of subsoil imposed by the weight of the structure.

Depending on the magnitude of this movement, failure can develop. Professional bodies tend not to accept the responsibility for the incidence of building collapses as a result of component failure in Nigeria but rather put the heavy blame on the occupants. Rather, each of the bodies that represent town planners, quantity surveyors, engineers, architects, builders and building organisation will often seek to attribute blame outside the profession. The loss of materials and money cost of remedial measure, infliction of permanent injury, loss of life and so on, which result from building component failure, are both monetarily and psychologically significant. The rate of failure of building components in Nigeria is a cause for concern and as such demands urgent attention. Precautionary measure will start once designers take a total measure of their designs and become sensitive to the financial and psychological implication of any failure of the building components both during and after completion.

Some numbers of Nigerian structures are often inadequately maintained and even badly situated in term of location and windows, doors and other building elements and facilities frequently show evidence of lack of maintenance and repair. Certain residential and office buildings in Lagos, Nigeria have not seen right significant maintenance or show little signs of maintenance since they were constructed, some years back. This is evident as there many cases of building collapse in the state. This lack of maintenance by authorities and occupants of these structures often leads to reduced lifespan of these buildings as stated by Melvin (1992), which invariably defeat the purpose for which they are put i.e. to ensure that the nation’s stock of buildings, both as a factor of production and accommodation, was used effectively as possible.

Studies have revealed the effects of countless factors affecting maintenance and defects of buildings. Adejimi (2005) revealed twelve factors affecting the maintenance strength of building as design resolution, structural strength, specified materials strength, maintenance manual, safety measures, skill maintenance personnel, maintenance plants and  environmental factors. While Olagunju (2012) identified factors that influence the level of maintenance of public building standard. In the study eight factors were identified to be significant to physical condition of public building. The variables include architectural components condition, interior and exterior factors like; electrical wiring, toilet facilities, roofing, discharge of waste water component condition of walkways within the building surroundings. To evaluate the factors affecting building defects, Addleson (1977) concluded that natural factors can be summarized into three group of dampness, movement and chemical and biological change. Lack of adequate care and fallibility of people that initiate, design, construct and maintain buildings, accentuated by their educational, practice and commercial environment are the ultimate factors responsible for defects of building.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Most buildings in Nigeria are faced with maintenance challenges resulting in decreasing and ultimate defects of various levels. While the 1984 version of BS 3811 defined maintenance as the combination of all technical and associated administrative actions aimed at retaining an item and bring it to a level in which it can be performed its expected function, BS 3811(1974) defined building maintenance as work done to keep a building in, or restore it to its initial state, or to a currently acceptable standard. To retain implies that defects are prevented from developing by carrying out work in anticipation of failure. To restore means that minor defects had already occurred before they are corrected. For facilities to continue to perform its expected functions, some degrees of improvement are therefore needed on the longevity of the building as standards of comfort and amenity arise where there are primary requirements for maintenance. The acceptable standard must not be less than that necessary to meet them and the acceptable standard must sustain the utility and value of the facility. This study will therefore investigate the assessment for controlling of dampness in an existing building in Nigeria.

1.3   Research Questions

This research will be carried out to answer the following research questions:

i)             what is the prevalence of dampness in an existing building in Nigeria?

ii)           what are the effects of dampness in an existing building in Nigeria?

iii)         what are the reasons for dampness in an existing building in Nigeria?

1.4   Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to investigate the assessment for controlling of dampness in an existing building in Nigeria. The specific objectives include:

i)             to identify the prevalence of dampness in an existing building in Nigeria

ii)           to survey the effects of dampness in an existing building in Nigeria

iii)         to inquire the reasons for dampness in an existing building in Nigeria

1.5   Significance of the Study

        This study will help to intimate the government by giving them power to enforce law  and safe guard the lives and properties of the citizenry that lives in housing general and life of the buildings by ensuring strict enforcement of housing and safety policies. It will also enlighten developers on the needs for them to involve professionals in construction in order to avoid structural failure and collapse of buildings. It will serve as a foundation upon which research of this kind can be conducted and will also add to the related literature in the area of urban and regional planning.

1.6   Scope of the Study

This study will be carried out among selected housing estates in Lagos State, Nigeria. Information collected from these workers shall be subjected to further analysis and the results got from it shall be final.

1.7   Limitation of the study

The study will be faced with a lot of challenges and one it the problem of finance. There is not going to be enough funds to print questionnaires and to also transport the researcher to meet the desired respondents. Another one is time; the researcher is currently busy with the demand of his academics. A lot of assignments are available for the researcher to do and coupled with his desire to read and learn at the same time. These are the major challenges of this study.

1.8   Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Assessment: the evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something.

Building collapse: A building undergoes progressive collapse when a primary structural element fails, resulting in the failure of adjoining structural elements, which in turn causes further structural failure.

Controlling: determine the behavior or supervise the running of.

Dampness: the presence of unwanted moisture in the structure of a building, either the result of intrusion from outside or condensation from within the structure. A high proportion of damp problems in buildings are caused by condensation, rain penetration or rising damp.


Adejimi, A., (2005). Poor Building Maintenance are Architects Free from Blames? A Paper Presented at the ENHR International Conference on Housing; New Challanges and innovations in Tomorrow’s Cities. Iceland 2005.

Addleson, L., (1977). Technical study 3. Diagnosis; principles and procedures (AJ guide to building failures), Architects’ Journals, Vol. 165, pp.415-19.

Melvin E., (1992). Plan, Predict, Prevent: How to Reinvest in Public Building Special Report no. 62. Chicago, Illinois: APWA.

Olagunju, R.E., 2012, Predictive Modelling for Sustainable Residential building Maintenance in Developing Countries: A Nigerian Case. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business. 4(6);1237-1283.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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