A Professor of Civil/Structural Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Chinwuba Arum has re-emphasized the importance of Quality Control in the construction industry. Arum, who delivered the 125th inaugural lecture of the University on Tuesday, 20th April, 2021 said to achieve the quality required in construction work, site engineers should ensure that at every stage of the construction work, the various aspects of quality control are exercised on site, particularly in respect of concrete batching; placement and compaction; provision of adequate concrete cover to reinforcement; regular casting of cubes or cylinders from different batches of concrete. He also said timely testing to check uniformity of concrete quality and ensure production of concrete that satisfies minimum strength requirement should never be compromised .
Arum who titled his lecture: The Structural Engineer’s Mandate: A fascinating game of “Add and Drop” said the mandate of the Structural Engineer is to design the load – carrying framework of structures, ensuring that the designed structure has adequate strength, stability and rigidity to safely transfer the load applied to it to the ground without suffering collapse or service failure. To attain this, he said it is important to design concrete mixture of high strength and also design a durable concrete capable of withstanding harsh environmental conditions for a long time. He said part of the mandate of the structural engineer is to “make decisions at every stage, decide on the criteria that govern the design and take account of them (add) and what criteria are subservient and therefore ignore (drop) or pay less attention to them”.
Professor Arum, currently Dean of School of Post Graduate Studies (SPGS) admonished the government, industry and the academia to partner so as to provide necessary funding for taking the developed sustainable construction materials and the other research outputs from the laboratory to the market place. In view of this, the Don urged the government to identify suitable industry partners and mandate them to pay some Research and Innovative Tax in addition to the already established Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) which should be used exclusively to facilitate the market readiness of the research output from the academia.
Arum, a Federal Government of Nigeria Scholar in Ukraine and Russia (1981 -1987; 1988 – 1992), a Best Graduating Student, Civil Engineering Department, Kharkov Institute of Municipal Engineering, Ukraine in 1987 and Best Lecturer, Civil Engineering Department, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia (2007 – 2008) also recommended a synergy between the academia and industry by way of signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU). He said “the academia, particularly the University, is best placed to conduct research which generates knowledge while the industry is best positioned to practically use the knowledge generated by the academia through innovation in order to generate money. The University and the industry can work such that some fraction of the money generated will be retained by the industry while another fraction should be dedicated for funding more research for knowledge generation”. He called on the government to provide enabling laws to sustain the collaboration and provide seed money to kick start the suggested MoU above.
Addressing the professional bodies and regulatory agencies, Professor Arum said “the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) should work with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) and other agencies charged with the regulatory controls of construction works to impose a ban and rigorously enforce same on the use of steel reinforcement bars of non-recognizable origin for construction works, unless such bars have been tested and confirmed to conform with contract specifications”.
Similarly, he called on COREN to ensure that the Engineering Regulation Monitoring Programme it established is rigorously enforced for all construction projects, whether government or privately promoted and impose severe sanctions on contractors found using sub-standard products, and on client’s representatives caught compromising.
Arum, a member of many professional bodies also recommended that only COREN registered engineers act as Engineer’s Representatives whether a project is promoted by government, private organization or individuals.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Professor Deji Ogunsemi commended the excellent delivery by Professor Arum. He described him as a distinguished scholar with many distinctions who has made remarkable contributions to the academia in his chosen area of study and research