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PROJECT TOPIC – INTEGRATING SOME GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL METHODS IN ASSESSING FREQUENT BUILDING COLLAPSE IN AKPUGO, NKANU WEST L.G.A., ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

INTEGRATING SOME GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL METHODS IN ASSESSING FREQUENT BUILDING COLLAPSE IN AKPUGO, NKANU WEST L.G.A., ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT

Over the years, the people of Akpugo in Nkanu West L.G.A., Enugu State, South-East Nigeria have suffered from frequent building collapse without knowing the cause. This study integrates geotechnical and geophysical techniques to evaluate the factors responsible for this phenomenon.Areas with cracked and non-cracked buildings were studied to assess the geotechnical properties of the soils. Samples were taken at different locations and subjected to x-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), grain size analysis, specific gravity, Atterberg limits, permeability, compaction and triaxial tests. Electrical resistivity method was also used to delineate the geo-electrical layers and to image the lateral variations of the sub-surface. Results revealed that problematic zone (areas with cracked buildings) have low permeability (4.018– 7.016×10-7m/sec), lower angle of shearing resistance (10 – 14o), and medium to high plasticity index (25.1 – 38.33), while the Non-problematic zone (areas without cracked buildings) have higher permeability (1.55 – 1.925 x 10-6 m/sec), higher angle of shearing resistance (15 – 18o), and low plasticity index (18.1 – 19.4).

The X-Ray diffraction results of the problematic zone revealed significant amount of smectite which has a very high swelling and shrinkage potential. The presence of significant amount of smectite in the soils of the problematic zone may be a strong factor in the structural problems. The electrical resistivity profiling clearly delineated the boundary between the problematic zone and non-problematic zone and showed that the problematic zone has lower resistivity values (2 –25m) while the non-problematic zone has higher resistivity values (20–170m).

INTRODUCTION

1.1 PREAMBLE

Building collapse essentially refers to the structural failure of a building or failure to transmit the weight of the structure to the ground evenly without any problem. This can also mean the inability of the subsurface to carry the weight of the building where the weight surpasses the allowable bearing capacity of the ground causing uneven settlement of the building. Loss of lives, severe injuries and huge economic losses in millions of naira are mostly associated with building collapse, (Ayedun, et al, 2012; Matawal, 2012) Building collapse is one of the major disasters that occur frequently in different parts of
Nigeria and other countries in the world (Gambo et al, 2013). The incidence of building collapses in Nigeria has taken an alarming dimension owing to the frequency of its occurrences. It is on record that hardly a month passes by without a case of collapse building being recorded (Kingsley, 2010). Each of these collapses carries along tremendous effect, socially, economically, psychologically and environmentally, that cannot be easily forgotten by any of its
victim. While the rest of the World has advanced technologically and have been able to surmount the present challenges we are facing, we are yet to address these problems holistically (Felix,2012).

Major natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes are some of the major causes of building collapse in developing and developed nations of the world. In West Africa, especially in Nigeria, the menace of collapse building is most common in our major cities like Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Abuja etc. It is however not limited to those big cities even the rural areas share in the menace. The sad event is that the building failures in the rural areas are not reported like the once in the big cities. It is therefore a difficult task to track down the complete record of building collapse in Nigeria. Worse more the exact number of casualties is never known or reported (Augustine 2012). In Nigeria, the common causes of building collapse have been traced to bad design, faulty construction, use of low quality materials, hasty construction, foundation failure, lack of proper supervision, ineffective enforcement of building codes by the relevant Town Planning Authorities, lack of proper maintenance e.t.c. (Folagbade, 2001 and Badejo, 2009).

INTEGRATING SOME GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL METHODS IN ASSESSING FREQUENT BUILDING COLLAPSE IN AKPUGO, NKANU WEST L.G.A., ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

 

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

A building, once properly constructed is expected to be in use for a very long time. Over the years, the people of Obinagu Uwani in Akpugo, Nkanu West L.G.A. Enugu State, Southeastern Nigeria (Fig. 1) have suffered from building collapse without knowing the real cause. Buildings are built and major cracks appear after sometime (Figs 2), these cracks eventually cause the building to collapse (Fig. 3), but in some areas, the buildings don’t have cracks (Fig. 4). The real cause of the cracks are not known by the people, some believe it is ancestral curse, while others believe it is a problem from the soil and some believe is from the root of trees.

INTEGRATING SOME GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL METHODS IN ASSESSING FREQUENT BUILDING COLLAPSE IN AKPUGO, NKANU WEST L.G.A., ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

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