The immediate past Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Toyin Ayinde, has said the spate of building collapse in the country is a signal that quality is being compromised.
Ayinde, who spoke at this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), stated that aside the quantity of building materials, labour is also a vital aspect of quality.
Ayinde was represented at the AGM by Mr. Moses Ogunleye.
He noted that though town planners, like other professionals in the build industry are facing challenges, it was rather unfortunate that the industry is at the receiving end.
“When incidents of building collapse still stare us in the face, it is a signal that quality is being sacrificed, but that really is the essence of ATOPCON, an association intended to foster quality consultancy services and healthy peer review,” he said.
Ayinde, therefore, charged the experts and others to ensure that the level of awareness for quality must be raised if professionals were to remain relevant to the built environment.
ATOPCON, he maintained, needs to enlighten professionals and other colleagues who might just see the association as another elitist movement designed to strangulate some people out of practice.
Rather, the former commissioner said the association was seeking to bring together experienced professionals, who could learn from one another, and thus cause an improvement in service delivery.
“There is no better time to convince more people to be committed to quality practice. There, indeed, lies our future. Sustainable systems have always survived on quality service, and ours should not be different. I therefore urge us to begin to think through the various challenges faced in the built environment and the construction industry, and to evolve viable solutions that will make us the pride of the society,”Ayinde said.
Similarly, a Mass Communication lecturer at the University of Ilorin, Dr. Kadijat Kadiri-Bello, while delivering a lecture titled: “Rebranding town planning firms,” said there was the need for town planners to rebrand and take their place in the built environment.
This, she cautioned, was not just about change in name, logo or colour, but also about professionals being open to adopting a consistent definition of branding, including evolving and sustaining transparency within their operations.
ATOPCON’s immediate past Lagos chairman, Mr. Joseph Akande, said it had become imperative for the body to evolve new ways to deliver services. If imbibed, Akande said, it would lead to great improvements in the image and integrity of town planners before the general public, clients and professional colleagues.
ATOPCON President, Mr. Olaide Afolabi emphasised that the aim of the association is to ensure the evolvement and nurturing of sustainable human settlement and cities.
This, he explained, would be achieved if its members promote urban and regional planning practice.
“Our message to the Lagos State government is that it should continue its efforts in the development of the city into a true mega city and ensure physical planning is used as an important and vital tool in guiding development plans, schemes and policies within the city.
‘’As is obtained in other climes, countries with sound, proactive physical planning and policies develop rapidly and sustainably. Lagos cannot afford to be left out in creating an enduring liveable city and, as town planning consultants, we have to live up to the calling of our profession and its ethics,” Afolabi said.