Development of a Leadership Model for Effective Reduction of Building Collapse in Nigeria


By Okolie, K.C (PhD),1   Okorie, V.N (PhD) 2, and Ikekpeazu F.O (PhD) 3

  1. Department of Building, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State
  2. Department of Quantity Surveying, University of Benin, Edo State
  3. Department of Architecture, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State



Cities all over the globe face tremendous challenges in the areas of urbanization and overpopulation. The rapid growths in population among industrial cities have over stretched the demands and provisions of buildings. To meet the high demands of buildings in major urban cities, clients and their professional advisers have abandoned their important leadership roles to quacks. As a result, more buildings collapse in our major urban centers making headline news. Currently there is little or no literature on leadership and building collapse in Nigeria. This study seeks to fill this gap by reviewing existing literature for leadership research in the context of 21st century building process. The aim of this study therefore is to examine the importance of leadership for effective building process and provision in the Nigerian construction environment. It has been proved that success of any organization is dependent upon the strength of leadership. This investigation was based on selective literature for leadership research with possible application in building collapse. The emerging findings show the importance of leadership with regard to building collapse. A conceptual model illustrating the relationship between leadership and improved building performance was developed.

Keyword: Building collapse, leadership, model, panacea, Nigeria,

1.0 Introduction

Buildings collapses in the Nigerian major urban cites continues to engender an excessive number of fatalities, injuries and property damage. The recent building collapse of synagogue church of all nations’ guest house at Ikotu in Lagos State made headline news in all the local newspapers. The death of over 117 people mainly of other nationals and 250 injured that came to seek the face of God should be a serious concern to the key project stakeholders, governments and individuals. Statistics show that in every one month 3-5 buildings collapsed in the metropolitan city of Lagos only. This is translated to 35-60 buildings in a year. These colossal economic losses associated with buildings collapses in terms of human lives, property damage and cost of medical care to national economy is unacceptable. It is disheartening to note that the causes of building collapse are often attributed to a single factor, but more often there is a combination of multiple factors. The collective leadership roles of the key project participants give rise to building failures and disasters (Iyagba, 2009).

Leadership has been determined to be relevant in the 21st century building process as it has been proved that exceptional organisational performance could be achieved through leadership traits/behaviour. Poor leadership and unethical behaviour in terms of commitment, collusion, bribery, negligence, fraud, dishonesty, and unfair practices are prevalent in the Nigerian building industry (Iyagba, 2009). This state of affairs calls for concern by all the stakeholders, government, individuals and the general public with regard to achieving sustainable, livable, and viable cities for the teeming population.

Failure in buildings can occur during construction and during use (Dare, 2002). Any types of failure resulting from construction activities could be traceable to poor leadership and lack of commitment by the key participants. Studies conducted by the construction development board (CIDB, 2011) of South Africa to determine the causes of poor building quality: clients’ perspective identify the following factors as contributing to poor building quality and performance, poor leadership and lack of commitment existing in clients organisations, inadequate provision of financial resources for the project; lack of certified skilled labour; poor equipment; inadequate enforcement of building regulations, and use of inferior materials. Similarly, Iyagba (2002) states that political decisions have negative impacts on building industry performance in Nigeria. There are instances where contracts are awarded to contractors who are not capable of undertaking the necessary work (Iyagba, 2002). The resultant effect is building failure or total collapse.

Building failure could probably be attributed largely to design or construction related factors and the roles of clients and their appointed agents in not ensuring quality (Spangenberg, 2009). It has been noted that absence of planning approval and improper soil investigation contribute to unsafe structure or failure (Iyagba, 2002). However, a critical review of the causes of building failure points to management ineptitude and clumsiness, which is a manifestation of poor leadership. Reducing the spate of buildings collapse in Nigerian major urban centers requires transparent leadership, commitment and attitudinal change among the key project leaders. As it has been proven over the years that leadership is a key component of successful organizations.

Previous research work focused on causes of building collapse in Nigeria such as: deterioration phenomena of buildings (Ikpo, 1990); building disaster and failure (Iyagba, 1991); an assessment of collapsed buildings in Nigeria (Dare, 2002), and the menace of sick buildings (Iyagba, 2009). Set against these previous studies, this gap may be connected to clients’ poor leadership in terms of appointment of competent professionals, lack of commitment and unethical behaviour by designers, corruption and compromise among town planning officers, presence of sub-standard materials in our market (Fakolade, 1996), poor leadership relative to inadequate financial provision for building project in the bills of quantities (BoQs) (Olatunji, Sher and Gu, 2011) and contracting organisations’ poor leadership at all levels of management (Howarth and Watson, 2009). Thus, identifying the critical leadership related behaviour of the key project leaders during project planning stages will reduce the spate of building collapse in Nigeria. As stated earlier in the abstract, this study seeks to fill the leadership gap in the building delivery process by reviewing existing literature for leadership in the context of 21st century and highlight leadership roles of the key project leaders for effective building delivery in Nigerian construction industry.


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About the Authors

Dr. Kevin C. Okolie

Nnamdi Zikiwe University
Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria




Dr K. C. Okolie is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Building at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka Anambra State Nigeria. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Construction Management from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth South Africa. His research interest lies in the development of Building Performance Evaluation Methodology, Health and Safety Management and Built Asset Management Systems. His published papers and articles on Construction and Facilities Management have appeared in many international conferences and peer reviewed journals. Dr Okolie can be contacted at [email protected]


Dr. Victor Nnannaya Okorie

University of Benin Ugbowo
Edo State, Nigeria



Dr Victor Nnannaya Okorie
received his first degree in quantity Surveying from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu State, Nigeria in 1995; Masters’ degree in Construction Management from University of Lagos also in Nigeria and PhD in Construction Management from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 2014.

His research interest is on construction health and safety (H&S) with focus on culture, behaviour and leadership in relation to construction health and safety performance. Dr Victor can be contacted on [email protected], [email protected]


Dr Felix Ikekpeazu

Nnamdi Azikiwe University
Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria



Dr Felix Ikekpeazu
holds a Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arc) and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Architecture, specializing in Housing delivery systems. He joined the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Anambra State after serving as Chief Architect at the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture. His research interests are in Housing delivery systems, Green buildings and Energy efficiency in buildings. Dr Ikekpeazu is a Registered Architect and has published in many local and international journals. He can be contacted at [email protected].