In a bid to stem the recurrence of building collapse, the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) on Tuesday warned residents to desist from converting buildings from the original plan to suit their purpose.
Mr Olalekan Shodehinde, the General Manager, LASBCA, gave the warning in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
Shodehinde said that most buildings in the state had been illegally converted to purposes different from their initial purpose.
According to him, it is outright illegal to change the purpose of a building without obtaining approval permit for conversion from the government.
He said it was also illegal to attempt to change a residential building to a commercial building within an area still zoned residential.
He explained that the government allows for conversion of buildings provided it conforms with master plan of the area.
“An approval permit must have been applied for and granted before such conversion can be performed.
“The Lagos State Government periodically reviews the master plan of the city. Therefore, whatever change one wants to make on his/her building must conform with the subsisting master plan of the area.
“What is unacceptable is to use a building in an area for a purpose different from the government designated purpose for that area.
“So, if you want to change the purpose of your building, all you need do is to follow the due process and apply for ‘a change of use permit’ and once granted, you are free to do the conversion,’’ Shodehinde said.
He said that to obtain a building approval permit was not as expensive as presumed by most residents of the state.
He appealed to every owner/developer in the state whose property was not covered by a valid building approval plan to regularise the property and ascertain the structural stability of their building.
Shodehinde lamented that most of the structures within the state were built without the requisite approval plan or due regularisation with the agency.
He said that most of the buildings did not conform to building specifications and standard.
“To obtain building plan approval is not as expensive as most people think. It takes only 28 working days for an applicant to get the building approval plan.
“The parameters for determining the payable amount depends on the size of the building or the purpose for which the building will be used.
“An average size of building on a plot of land will cost a maximum of N250,000 to N300,000 to obtain its approval plan.
“If compared to the whole cost of constructing the building, which might cost about N50 million to N60 million, it is infinitesimal.
“So, I don’t think paying N300,000 will deter people from following the due process,’’ Shodehinde he said.