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Earth Tremors a wake-up call for mandatory testing of buildings – GSA

Accra, Dec. 11, GNA – The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) says the earth tremors experienced in parts of Accra over the weekend should be a wake-up call to property owners and institutions to have their buildings tested for conformity to Ghana’s Building Code before any major disaster strikes.

Professor Alex Dodoo, the Director-General of the GSA, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, reiterated the call for mandatory stress tests to be carried out on all buildings and properties used by the public within the next 12 months to ensure public safety.

He said with the new Ghana Building Code in place, it is necessary to begin testing all buildings as it is the case in developed countries, where buildings are tested at every stage from the soil, to the laying of the foundation through to the roofing stage and final completion as well as fire and electrical installations.

Professor Dodoo was speaking in the aftermath of last Sunday’s earth tremor which occurred in parts of the capital, Accra.

Experts have warned that all the geological processes that led to major Ghanaian earthquakes in the past are still on-going.

The Geological Survey Authority says there are signs that the fault lines are active and could result in an earthquake at any time.

Some parts of Weija, and Gbawe in the Ga South Municipality of the Greater Accra Region on Sunday morning experienced an earth tremor that shook buildings and created fear and panic among the residents.

“You can even build to your own specifications but the reason you have to undertake an independent testing and examination of buildings, especially from a third party agency, mostly a government agency, is to ensure that you meet the state’s requirements,” he said.

Professor Dodoo said it is in the interest of the country for all buildings used by the public, including government buildings and private ones accessed by the public, to undergo the necessary tests and be certified.

“The audit of buildings, offices, malls, markets and places of worship and the issuance of a stress certificate to those who pass the test, would enhance confidence in the public,” Professor Dodoo said.

“The stress test allows the identification of weaknesses in the building for rectification and subsequent certification of structural integrity”, he said.

He said with passage of the new GSA building code, the GSA as well as private accredited laboratories should now start testing buildings and giving their certificates to the district assemblies for use as the basis of issuing relevant building permits and certificates of occupancy.

Professor Dodoo said in earthquakes situations, ill-constructed structures are the ones that kill people and advised that all buildings within the identified areas must be quickly examined to avert any disaster.

He said there is also the need to take note of contemporary issues that could have led to the loss of lives and property including the ceiling collapse at the Accra Mall, the building collapse at the Legon Mall and the warnings regarding possible collapse of buildings in Kasoa.

He urged Ghanaians to move away from the usual laissez faire attitude and protect themselves by having their property independently tested.


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