Damp: Causes, Effects, Prevention and Cure

Dampness in a simple term is when excess water molecule is on building which results to visible growth of mould and destruction or disturbance of wall surfaces and materials.


1 Rain If the roof is not well constructed to take out water rain, it may lead to dampness on walls due to leakages down from roof to wall.

2 Faulty Plumbing System-Leaking pipes will cause water to affect the building, which also leads to dampness.

3 Waterlogged soil-Moisture in the soil can rise up into the building through capillary action and cause dampness in building.

4 Area susceptible to extreme flood and bad weather condition.

5 Area close to canal/gully etc which can experience an overflow of water.

6 Using wet or unseasoned building materials.

7 Air conditioning system-When hot humid air comes in contact with materials cooled by the airconditioning process, it causes condensation on the liquid water on the surfaces.

8 Indoor activities-Which releases moisture into the air like cooking, dishwashing, clothes washing, bathing etc.

9 Roof- Leak from bad slate/tile or cracked concrete gutter will increase build up of moisture in walls ,timber and plaster.

10 Poor quality works-Water penetration through walls can occur as a result of inadequately installed roof covering,improper treatment or covering of oversite concrete.

11 Use of non porous or breathable coatings on walls-Such as fine cement render and oil paint. When moisture is absorbed through fine cracks in the coatings but can’t then evaporate back out through the waterproof surface.

12 Higher external ground level around the property. That is when the building level is lower to the road and the surrounding environment.



  1. It causes efflorescence which may ultimately result in disintegration of bricks, stones, tiles etc.
  2. Causes rotting of wood.
  3. Deteriorate electric installations.
  4. It may result in softening and crumbling of plaster.
  5. Causes petting off and removal of plaster.
  6. It may cause bleaching and flaking of paint with the formation of coloured patches.
  7. It may result in the warping, buckling and rotting of timber.
  8. It may lead to the corrosion of metals.
  9. It may cause deterioration to electrical fittings.
  10. It promotes growth of termites.

It creates unhealthy living conditions for the occupants.

  1. Causes corrosion of metallic fixtures.
  2. Deteriorate carpet & furniture’s.
  3. Causes spots on the floors and walls.
  4. Causes petting off and removal of plaster.
  5. Causes bleaching and blistering of paints.
  6. Causes effloresce.
  7. Dangerous for the health of occupants.
  8. Reduce the life of structures.



1 Introducing damp proof course during construction of foundation especially in waterlogged area.

2 Using raft foundation mostly in waterlogged area.

3 proper concrete mix ratio and fine aggregates which helps to make concrete impervious.

4 Adequate concrete thickness.

5 Using bitumen on concrete roof surfaces.

6 Mixing waterproof cement with concrete.

7 Using breathable paint.

8 cavity wall construction- This is shielding the main wall of the building by an outer skin wall leaving a cavity in between the two. The cavity prevents the moisture from travelling from the outer to the inner walls (Reason why hollow blocks are popular in Lagos, while solid blocks are used more on higher level grounds like Benin city etc)


1 Block every leaks from internal plumbing systems i.e replace damaged pipes and make sure the joints are properly sealed.

2 Repair leaking water and damaged overflow downpipes.

3 Repair damaged below ground drainages.

4 Pipe away rainwater from roof out of building either to main drain or soakaway.

5 Check and repair blockages to downpipes.

6 Avoid trees of strong roots too close to the building to stop cracks on walls and damage to pipes.

7 lower the groundfloor outside the building if possible.

8 Opening up a building to allow air to flow in and out is important-The problem with long inhabited buildings.

9 Use of vents in buildings

10 Breathable or permeable internal paints to allow the dispersal of moisture from a plastered wall.


Why Estimates goes wrong

Having the right estimate helps the contractor and clients in their planning and helps to reduce tension alot during construction. Variations eats deep into budgets and can really destabilises entire projects when is on the negative side.

(1)Unusual/ bad benchmarking-This is when you’ve done similar projects before and you use exact rates to cost the proposed ones not minding no two projects can be exactly the same. Topography, nature of soil etc can mess up your benchmarking.

(2)Unclear/Incomplete designs- The drawings when not adequately detailed may leads to assumptions of materials require. Often these assumptions are bloated and in other cases grossly inadequate.

(3)Untested Innovations/Techniques- Various techniques are used in construction with additional innovations, the estimator may be ignorant of some processes in constructionmethods which can cause serious oversite in estimating.

(4)Contractors desperation- Quest for job may make a contractor to quote a very low cost for a project just o escape financial lack/loosing the job to other competitors. This will surely bounce back and affect the entire project. An estimator and contractor that must cut costs by reducingonly rates without change in materials may run into such problems.

(5)Pressure of over reduction by client-In the bid to save money yet still maintaining good quality and standard, many clients puts pressure on their contractors to reduce the cost of construction beyond reasonable/acceptable level. Out of ignorance on anybody’s part the client request may be acceeded to by an unscrupulous contractor/estimator which will cause bitterness and dissapointments afterwards as project progresses.

(6)Not employing a Qualified Quantity Surveyor before and after project construction- Qs’es are not only needed before construction, as work progresses they are useful for guiding our expenses, deployment of materials, payments of workers,proper records on financial activities and variations etc. Overall they help guide and keep you focus on your project, as they help to notify you of financial implications of every decision taken concerning the project before it is executed.

(7)Unexpected Environmental situations-Environmental factors can slow the wheel of progress on site and ultimately affect cost. Consider flooding which can slow the work,destroy some materials and jerk up the cost of construction.

(8)Human Incursions/Nuisance-Construction time can be affected when social miscreants disturbs construction. Settling them may take unexpected delays, material could be lost which will affect the cost.

(9)Market fluctuations-Of course prices of materials especially cement fluctuates alot in this part of the world. There are more construction activities in the dry season, hence higher demands on construction materials which also raises the cost of these materials. If you already have a lower markup, the estimate will no longer be adequate, variations must be added which will overshoot the initial budget.

(10)Change in specifications-As project progresses, design changes and clients new requirements will affect the estimate no matter how small the changes.

(11)Redesigning or Remodelling-Again when you adjust initial designs like internal walls been shifted to make some rooms more spacious or redesigning the elevations can cause a big difference in cost of construction.

(12)Procurement Timing-You must procure some materials intime to avoid higher cost.

(13) Not buying in bulk or purchasing ore than required can also affect your estimate greatly.

(14)Inadequate or wrong measurement of plan-If there are errors in reading the plan or attention not being paid to details during construction, the estimate will run into problems.

(15)Wastages-Though there should be room in the estimate to cater for wastages , however without proper management on site you may record wastages that will affect the estimate.

(16)Accidents-Insurance will have to cover for accidents onsite if there is any but for anyone without insurance and there is an unexpected occurences the project will have to suffer the bills.

(17)Improper or absence of statutory legal documentations- If right approvals aren’t gotten or there are issues this may cause stoppage of work, paying penalties etc which will also affects the estimate.

(18)Dispute on Property-For a project that will be disturbed by legal problems this will ultimately affect total cost of construction due to delays etc

(19)Theft of materials on site

(20)Logistics and Preliminaries,process hurdles


Advantages of Steel in Building Construction

As industrialization and search for better ways of construction, the need to also look at the possibilities in using steel more can’t be overemphasized.

(1)Speed of Construction- Construction with steel is fastest among the different materials of construction , most time you fabricates from your factory or shops and only installs on site.

(2)Low cost- In comparative high volume buildings constructing with steel becomes cheaper because you cover greater spans with steel.

(3) Longer spans- This is good especially when you are thinking of avoiding too many columns especially in auditorium that requires good view from the audience.

(4)Malleability- Under certain condition steel becomes malleable and can be shapen to any form which helps to achieve the designer’s vision.

(5)High Strength-Steel has good strength, thats one of the reasons is used for lots of multistorey structures. it can withstand pressure and can be very stable compare to others.

(6)Slenderness-Steel doesn’t take so much space compare to others. The design networks of steel structure can also be aesthetically pleasing.

(7)Good design flexibility and versatility.

(8)Lower weight- You obviously can’t compare the weight of a building built with concrete to that of steel.

(9)Recyclability and sustainability-Street is reusable as you can dismantle and reassemble elsewhere with little or no defects, very sustainable as it can’t be damaged by pests nor does it requires preservatives or glues. Is inorganic so it can’t rot.

(10)Modifiable-You can also adjust steel construction with a degree of ease.

(11)Reliability and Predictability- Due to high strength steel is quite useful in construction and very reliable, its stable and predictable.

(12)Mass production and availability-The steel can be mass produced during fabrication which gives room for efficiency and speed.

(13)Durability-Because is not organic, better resistance to fire etc it lasts longer than most construction materials substitutes.

(14)Minimal waste-Steel has minimal raw material wastes.

(15)Maintenance-You do less maintenance with steel as it doesn’t really degenerate in any form for a very long time.

(16)Fire Protection-Better resistance against fire outbreaks.

(17)Less weight-The weight is far less to most structural materials hence requires simpler foundation construction.

(18)Lower floor construction depths- Concrete floor averagely is 6″ or 150mm but steel won’t require such thickness to be used as a floor.

(19)Because of its slender nature, more space are available for other integrated services like electrical, CCTV etc.

(20)It is safe to handle with hands by workers using it on site.

Benefits of buying an approved building plan land from a developer

1-Sign that most papers have been legalised for you to have an approved building plan, especially in Lagos where you must have your C of O or governor’s consent, your survey is also registered with the government. Hence you are sure that lots of legal works have been covered for you, of course you can spend a whole year processing these documents.

2-Time is also a big factor, you can move to site and start working the very day you buy the land. This will help to reduce and save time if you want to start immediately.

3-Authentication of plan- Approved plan is a pseudo authentication of your plan to meet up with basic standard. For a fresh design that needs to go through the process of approval, the plan may be rejected if you aren’t meeting up with their regulations, but in this case that has been taken care of, so you have more time to engage in other tasks.

4-You are likely to save money because for a plan to be approved the petitioner probably knows more about his ways around building approving process, unlike giving it to an inexperienced person to do it for you.

5-Inflation-There is also the risk of inflation catching up with the price of materials for the period you have to wait for the approval process

6-It also shows there is acceptable and standard drawing for your building project . That also verifies you are going to have a good house.

7-Of course there won’t be any form of harassment from the town planning authorities.
8-The best price – the first properties released usually go for the cheapest, because the developers need fast early sales. Once they meet their financial requirements, they often up the purchase price on the remaining properties to make up for lost profits.
9-The buyer has one point of contact allowing for more accurate completion estimates.
There’s no confusion about roles and responsibilities. Not only does the buyer know who to contact, a developer also knows they’re responsible for every step of the process.
10-There’s a single vision for the property. When a developer knows they are going to be building and selling the properties, it’s often easier to make decisions about planning, architecture and even landscaping.
11-There are fewer delays in building because some tasks can be done in tandem when the same company is doing the both the developing and construction.
12-A developer takes a long-term, holistic view of the investment allowing cost-savings passed on to the buyer.
Developers and builders have distinct goals that can sometimes be very different. When a single company is managing everything, the buyer benefits from a single focus. The property is managed and constructed from one viewpoint making it easier for the buyer and more cost effective.

Benefits of Storey Buildings

Despite some disadvantages of storey buildings, the advantages far outweighs the disadvantages. Some are enumerated below.

(1) Extra height gives good view, distinct and clear view from surrounding structures unlike one floor bungalow that may have been covered with perimeter fence.

(2)The buildings are more visible from a distance to one floor bungalow

(3)Distinct separation of private area from public area. For a two storey duplex, the bedrooms are taken up while the living rooms that are accessible to visitors are left downstairs, this is good for privacy and less noise around the bedrooms.

(4)Security-You can isolate the upper floor from the ground floor with a security door by the staircase in case of any attack. Burglars can’t easily access the upper floor through the windows. It also gives you a clear view of in case of any intruder lurking around the fence.

(5)Interesting features-Storey buildings can be interesting, climbing through a well designed staircase looking at the structure in whole can be quite pleasing to the eyes.

(6)Better aeration- More space is created for effective air circulation as the upper floor create rooms for additional rooms and windows and are most unlikely to be blocked by adjacent walls/fence.

(7)Increase of space-Of course there is far effective use of land space per square meter.

(8)Storey buildings adapts well to sloped site, a creative architect can design a very aesthetically pleasing building with such soil.

(9)Social Issues- In some clime, it is taken that those on storey buildings usually look down on those downstairs.

Advantages of a one floor bungallow to storey buildings

Apart from the space required, a one floor bungallow has lots of advantages over a storey building some of them are (1) Lighter foundation: The weight of a floor bungallow is far less to a storey building hence you’ll require far less materials to that of a storey building.

(2) Few or no columns/pillars in the house: Depends on design and nature of soil you may not need concrete columns in a floor bungallow. For most storey building you will need it to help transmit load from upper floor to the soil.

(3) Lower fire risk: It is easier to escape fire incidence and the electrical works on a storey building is more complex which can also leads to fire incidence if there are defects.

(4)Easier Maintenance:Plumbing pipes, electrical installations and the building generally are easier to maintain when is only a floor bungallow. You can easily remove plumbing pipes and replace , unlike a multistorey building that may have pipes embedded in concrete.

(5)One floor bungallow can be easily expanded as long as there is adequate land for for the expansion. Storey building ca be quite complex, you need a lot of engineering input and cost for expansion.

(6)Easier evacuation: In emergency, you are already on the groundfloor, you can jump through the window and you also have closer access to the external door which will help you to move out of the building quickly.

(7)Cost of Construction: From the professional fee,labour costs which will be far higher in case of a storey building to the materials that will be used like scaffold, iron rods, wood ,cement etc in higher quantities to a floor bungallow.

(8)Climbing stairs: For the aged,climbing stairs could be a daunting task.

(9)Possibilities of falling and injuring yourself in a stairway

(10)Just like ‘6’ ease of moving in and out is harder for a storey building

(11)Banging/stamping/pounding on floor upstairs may cause discomfort to occupants downstairs but this can’t be possible for a floor bungallow.

(12)Carrying materials, furniture etc in and out a storey building is harder.

(13)Storey buildings also have psychological effects on lower surrounding buildings, it gives feeling of someone looking down on people at lower level.

(14)Higher building will also block a proportion of air and sun from getting into closer lower buildings.

(15)And for town planning authority , they will charge you more to get approval for a storey building

(16)Storey buildings can also block clear views of people enjoying the landscape of an area.

(17)Storey building can be a threat when they are close to the airport.

How to build a duplex in one month

Supervising your building or executing your building project without being shortchanged is always the greatest fear of a would be owner.
Understanding that building project costs a substantial sum especially when the taste is high for a salary earner, it is imperative to minimise lost from unscrupulous contractors and nothing can be as fulfilling seeing your house grows from conceptual stage through foundation and ultimately to completion. The objective is to be able to build your house during your leave off work which is usually one month.
For a businessman or a salary earner that can only affords a leave of one month, you can be a witness in the process of building your house, however you need good planning in time,money allocation,labour and materials.
For this project we will discuss a storey building and we are assuming on a fairly stable soil that can allow for a strip foundation.
To get it right, you must be conversant with the stages for an average building project which I will list as follows
1-Clearing of site —————————————cutlass etc
2-setting out ————————–profiles,pegs,nails,rope,builder or advance instruments
3-Digging ——————————— digger,shovel
4-Casting of foundation———————————-cement,sand,granite/gravel,water,iron rods for pillar base
5-foundation blockworks——————————- blocks,cement,sharpsand,water
6-laterite filling———————————-Filling sand
7-Ramming———————————————ramming machine,water
8-oversite concrete or german floor——————–iron rods,hardcore,dpc membrane,cement,sand,granite,water
9-Blockwork on groundfloor to window base—————sharpsand,cement,water
10-blockwork from window base to lintel level———–sharpsand,cement,water
11-Lintel —————————————-wood,iron rods,nails,granite
12-Blockwork after lintel —————————————–blocks,sharpsand,water
13-23.First floor concrete decking ———————– iron rods,sharpsand,granite, water,planks,2b3 wood,nails,binding wire
24-Blockwork on firstfloor to window base————- sharpsand ,blocks,cement,water
25-Blockwork from window base to lintel level———–sharpsand,blocks,water,cement
26-Lintel ——————— granite/gravel,sand,cement,1by12 planks,nails, binding wire
27-Blockwork after lintel to roof beam/ ———–sharpsand,blocks,water,cement
concrete facial/parapet
28-Roof beam/concrete facial/parapet———–granite,sharpsand,cement,planks,2by3 ,nails
29-Roof—————————————-wood,nails etc
30-Roof covering—————————— aluminium,stone coat etc


To get the program of work right you must atleast have an idea of the manpower required for each task because this will help you to request for the right numbers of people else artesans will always be shut in numbers thereby prolonging the time you could have used and work will spillover to the next day.
For the plan above, we will consider tasks,materials,finance required and the labour for our planning.
There are tasks that can go independently, identify such and use it to reduce your time frame, this is important in program of work.
For effectiveness, provide materials for each task two days before the task therefore money must be ready and the labour calculated before the task.
DAY 1-clearing,purchase setting out materials,digging equipments,water(borehole)
DAY2-setting out,order foundation casting materials,order for short pillars iron rods
DAY3-digging,order for foundation blocks,order for sharpsand,granite,iron rods
DAY4-casting of foundation,cast precast lintels for groundfloor windows ,order for filling sand
DAY5-foundation blockwork,cast short pillars,get ramming machine or manual rammer
DAY6-filling-order for oversite concret/german floor materials-iron rods,
DAY7-ramming,order for blocks for grondfloor to window level
DAY8-placements of iron rods etc
DAY9-oversite concrete/german floor,order for blocks from window base to lintel level,cast firstfloor precast lintel
DAY10-blockwork for groundfloor to window level,order for blocks after lintel
DAY11-blockwork from window base to lintel level,order for decking materials
DAY12-lintel,blockwork after lintel level
DAY13-DAY23 decking, order for blocks for first floor to window base
DAY24-blockwork on firstfloor to window base
DAY25-blockwork from window base to lintel level,order blockwork after lintel to roof
DAY26-lintel,blockworks to roof
DAY27-roof beam, order for roof covering
DAY29-roof covering
You have to realise to achieve this you must be able to give an estimate for labour required for each task,the project may also cost more due to speed.
The most problematic of the stages are those of concrete and woodworks, so for every other tasks, give two days to order for material, for the concrete we may need 7 days to prepare for the task.. Some stages that goes independently will help to save time as well.
For the window lintels, know the dimensions of the windows from the plan, cast the lintel by using a board that can accomodate the length and the allowance needed seven days before you’ll need to place the lintel.
Now lets give an estimate for manpower for each task
DAY1= clearing for one plot-3 persons
DAY2 =setting out(one builder,one bricklayer,one labourer)-3 persons
DAY3= digging-for digging know the total trench from your structural or architectural plan, take one partition to be 3.6m and by experience one labour to 4 partitions=11.4meters trench for each labourer. For the plan above our total trench is taken as 114m, divide by 14.4=8 labourers
DAY4 =casting of foundation-also know the volume of concrete you’ll cast, take 2m3 for each labour and divide .For instance, the totall for our plan is 12m3. Divide 12m3 by 2m3=6 labourers
DAY5=Calculate like day4
DAY6=foundation blockwork-, a bricklayer is required to lay 100 blocks per day, so know the numbers of blocks you’ll need then divide by 100. For our plan we need 1000 blocks for 4 coaches, divide this by 100=10 bricklayers . Add one labourer to a bricklayer as well, that is we need 10 bricklayers and 10 labourers to serve them.
DAY7=filling-one labourer should be able to tip one tipper load of 20tons , so for 13 trips we will need 13 labourers for our plan.
DAY8=ramming-use of mahines or 2 labourers/100m2 surface area
DAY9=iron rods
DAY10=oversite concrete-calculate total volume and divide by 2m3 for each labourer. 26/2=13 labourers for our plan
DAY11=Calculate like day6
DAY12=Calculate like day6
DAY13 TO DAY23=FIRSTFLOOR CONCRETE DECKING-for woodwork use surface area of standard 2 rooms i.e 2(3.6 x 3.6) for a carpenter .Therefore for a total surface area of 168m2 divide by 26m2=7 carpenters. For concrete divide total volume by 2m3 i.e 26m3/2=13 labourers. for iron rods use 2 iron benders/ton.
DAY24=Calculate like day6
DAY25=Calculate like day6
DAY27=roof beam,calculate for concrete,woodworks+iron rods as shown previously
DAY28=roof,calculate for wood
DAY29=roof covering

How to calculate timber works in concrete lintel

A lintel in architectural terms is defined as a structural horizontal element/block/material that spans the space or opening between two vertical supports.
Is a loadbearing member of part of a building that is usually placed over entrances, windows,arcs and other openings in the building.
Lintel can be of wood,concrete,bamboo,steel etc depends on the materials for construction, for our study we are working on concrete lintel which is commonly used in the tropical region like nigeria.
The lintel must bear loads that rests on it as well as its own load without deforming or breaking. Brick stone or ordinary concrete are weak in tensile strength, so they can only be used for a limited span 6meters maximum ideally, but iron/steel can be used for longer lintels. Reason you need to introduce adequate iron rods in the concrete lintel to be able to resist the compressive stress of concrete and span longer openings.
To cast the concrete lintel in a building you’ll need to consider the doors,windows, beam by the entrances, beam by the entrance porch between two or more columns, ars in the interior and exterior.
Now knowing the numbers of planks you are going to use, you must first have at the back of your mind the length and breadth of each plank which is 3.6m or 12ft by 0.3m or 1 foot.
2 bedroom bungalow plan

For the plan above, we have two options, for a building with a lot of openings you can simply run the lintel as a beam round the entire perimeter blocks, but for others with less openings the conccrete lintel should be placed ontop of openings giving allowances on right and left for the beam to rest on the supports thereby transmitting load through the blocks or whatever the vertical supports to the ground.

Calculating for windows and doors openings only, check opening in sides A,B,C and D dimensions.
A -1200mm or 1.2m, 2400mm or 2.4m
C-1.2m,1.2m and 2.4m
D-1.2m,0.6m and 1.2m
For each openings remember there must be an extension to allow the concrete lintel to overlap both ways. The longer the openings the longer the space you should provide for the concrete to overlap. From experience 30% of the opening should be be used for the two sides overlap.


For our calculation 2(30% of window)+window
For side A
– 1.2m will be taken as 2(30% of 1.2)+1.2=1.92
– 2.4m will be taken as 2(30% of 2.4)+2.4=3.84
For side B
– 2.4m will be taken as 2(30% of 2.4)+2.4=3.84
For side C
– 1.2m will be taken as 2(30% of 1.2)+1.2=1.92
– 1.2m will be taken as 2(30% of 1.2)+1.2=1.92
– 2.4m will be taken as 2(30% of 2.4)+2.4=3.84
For side D
– 1.2m will be taken as 2(30% of 1.2)+1.2=1.92
– 0.6m will be taken as 2(30% of 0.6)+0.6=0.96
– 1.2m will be taken as 2(30% of 1.2)+1.2=1.92
Now planks will be used to support the concrete both sides and under the concrete which is the top of the opening.
For ease of calculation. Add all lengths i.e 1.92+3.84+3.84+1.92+1.92+3.84+1.92+0.96+1.92=22.08
Divide the sum by a length of plank which is 3.6m
22.08/3.6=6 planks
Now multiply by 3 because you need the planks for two sides and under
=18 planks for the windows.

Is to run the lintel round the perimeter, so calculate the perimeter from plan.
A=9.4m+1.35m(wall that leads to front entrance door)
C=9.4m+1.2m+1.2m (walls that leads to door behind- both sides)
Add all the dimensions 9.4+1.35+9.0+9.4+1.2+1.2+9.0=40.55m
Divide by 3.6m as a length of plank=11 planks
multiply by 2 for both sides of lintel=22 planks
Now you need to add the base of the windows which the sum is 22.08m from previous calculations, we use this because planks will also be used to brace the planks at the base of concrete.
22.08 divide by 3.6m =6 planks
Total planks=22+6=28 planks

For the door follow same process,
All doors are taken to be 0.9 (900mm)
2(30% of 0.9)+0.9=1.44
Doors are 8 in numbers
1.44 x 8=11.52m
Divide by 3.6m (remember 3.6m or 12 feet is the length of a plank=3.2 planks
Then multiply by 3 =10 planks for the doors.
TOTAL ALL add 28 plus 10=38 planks if the concrete must run round.
OR 18 plus 10=28 planks if the lintel will only be restricted to window areas.

Causes and How to avoid cracks when laying blocks.

Laying blocks without cracking requires some basic steps to watch out for. If you are careless the probability of having cracked walls will be high.
These amongst others are the causes and how to avoid them-
(1)Wrong block moulding mixture-Cement and sand mixture for sand needs to be properly checked which is usually between 1:6 to 1:8 depends on types of constituents.
Very good mixture for a 9” block will produce 30 pieces worst it should not exceed 50 on any account.
Stone dust are also added in a proportion to give a stronger block, trying to save cost by using inadequate cement, sand ratio will weaken your walls and can lead to cracks.
(2)Wrong cement mortar mixture-Mortar is what you use as the bond between one block and the other, the blocks are expected to be adequately bonded by the mortar, if this is weak it can also affect the block and can lead to cracking.
(3)Wrong laying pattern-Blocks should be set on each other in herringbone manner see diagram——


Laying the edge of one block on another causes cracking along the mortar line when is not broken by locking it up with other blocks, The vertical mortar line is the weakest point and should be broken by walls, straight line from top to bottom will cause cracking.
(4)Weak Foundation- Weak foundation causes unusual settlements and movements on foundation that will ultimately affects the blockwalls ontop, this surely will cause cracks from foundation through the walls . Cracks could be horizontal or vertical, the horizontal requires serious structural remedy because that may be due to uneven settlements.
(5)Plumbness or straightness when laying your blocks can also adversely affect the blockwork especially when is terribly done.
(6)Boring holes indiscriminately-Electricians and plumbers are major culprits on site when it involves creating holes on blockwalls. Caution needs to be taking when creating these holes which are used as scaffolding else you will have crack walls or you can go for total free standing scaffolds.
(7)Long, successive horizontal and vertical blockworks without concrete breaks- laying blocks on each other with any height beyond 3.6m without a corresponding concrete break will create pressure on blockwalls which can also cause cracking especially when the blocks are not strong and loadbearing.
(8)Wet blocks-Blocks are supposed to be left to dry and strong before usage, usually it takes minimum of 48 hours to cure, using blocks under 24 hours is not advisable and it leads to cracking.
(9)Mishandling of blocks-Proper care should be taken when blocks are in use.
(10)Impurities in mixture-When there are dirts in constituents ,expect a weak block which will surely leads to cracking.
(11)Improper or wrong materials will not help save money but will create problems, for instance using sand gathered from drainage gutter.
(12)Loosely compacted blocks during moulding will also affect the block which will lead to cracking of blockwalls.
(13)Inadequate concrete support incase of load.
(14)Shrinkage-When you build on a clayey soil which contract and expand. Clay causes movement in foundation and when the foundation is shallow it will affect the blockwall.
(15)Using fresh blocks
(16)Using unclean sand with clay just as stated in ‘14’,clay contracts when is dried and expand when it is wet, these movements causes cracking.
(17)Flooding-Areas susceptible to longterm flooding will also experience walls cracking, water can go underneath foundation, weaken the foundation and cause movements which will affect the blockwalls and leads to cracking.
(18)Differential settlements in foundation-Please check to make sure where you are building, the problems of differential settlements does not arise.
(19)unevenly compacted fill. When you fill the foundation with laterite but you didn’t ‘rammer’ or compact very well the areas with loose soil will affect the blockwall on top of it and cause cracks.
(20)When one side settles on rock which can’t have any further settlement with a corresponding soil area that is required to settle, expect cracking of walls especially when the block spans across.
(21)Poorly designed structure without adequate planning of walls joining each other.
(22)When you have extremely rich mortar mix, this will also affect block and make it to crack, especially when you want to remove and place elsewhere. It causes wall stiffness, there should be room for the wall to breathe.
(23)Rapid loading of blockworks-When you have a deadline and you put too many blocks on each other you are most likely to have cracks.
(24)Removing props or construction supports too early will create tension on the blockwall which can lead to cracks
(25)When you have deciduous trees with roots growing underneath the foundation.
(26)Natural disasters like earthquakes,winds,tremor,volcanoes etc
(27)Free standing walls-This is caused by bad designs when you have too many walls not locking with other walls. The isolated walls are likely to crack
(28)Rising damp around building.
(29)Poor drainage will make water gather around building which will ultimately affect the walls.
(30)Mining activities around building will cause vibration and affects the wall which can cause cracking especially when it involves blasting of rocks etc with explosives.
(31)Very short lintel (concrete) ontop of windows, doors and other openings will affect the surrounding blocks and cause cracks.
(32) No oversite concrete or german floor.

How To Avoid Paying The Dreaded Omonile Signing Fees Scam In Lagos And Ogun.

One of the greatest Scourges associated with buying an Omonile land is this dreadful affliction called “OMONILE SIGNING FEES to sign a Deed of Assignment” so as to drain the pockets of Land buyers. Nothing inflicts greater pain and evokes more emotions as much as this topic when it comes to buying Land in Lagos or Ogun State. These Omoniles have devised a method to establish an alternative Land taxation system whereby they do everything possible to grab as much as they want financially from a prospective buyer.

They invent all sorts of silly, idiotic and devilish fees to scare the buyer and make it mandatory to pay these fees no matter how absurd it sounds. Truth of the matter is that it’s nothing short of a day light robbery to frustrate a buyer for their own selfish means. These fees they coerce buyers to shell out end up in the pockets of Village Chiefs or influential members of the community to expend for their own selfish gain. They use the money to drink Ogogoro, settle outstanding debts or marry new wives. The enlightened ones amongst them see this as a get rich quick avenue to buy new clothes, buy flashy cars to pose around town, wear swanky clothes and generally show their mates they have arrived. This stirs up some form of jealousy in the other communities and they quickly set up a committee to draft a higher price list that should cripple the buyer financially who is interested in buying a land in their community.

These Omonile Signing fees to sign a Deed of Assignment are hardly used to develop the communities that they claim it’s for. When an enlightened Buyer sees in between their scams, these Community leaders or Chiefs will do everything possible to intimidate you, send thugs to scare you or beat you up, destroy or break down your fence or foundation and generally make life very uncomfortable for you violently until you pay them the money they demand from you. If you go to the police to report, the police will tell you to go and settle with them, if you become stubborn, these people would forcefully take over your land till you pay up. They are merciless, cruel, bloodsucking, greedy and downright selfish and they are not remorseful about their ways.

Below is a Real Life Sample of an Omonile Demand list for Land Payments before you can take possession of your own land after you have paid Millions to Acquire it. Even Without you even shelling out 1 Kobo on their Land, You are required to pay over N1Million Naira for very senseless and silly things. Can you Imagine this Day light Robbery?
The Lagos state Government is trying to pass a bill to stop these criminals hiding under the State Properties Protection Bill 2013 but I haven’t seen anything in the bill so far that will scare or prevent these people from extracting more money from buyers. A paltry punishment sum of N200,000 fine or 2 Years imprisonment for any person found guilty of the section on forceful possession of land is ridiculous to say the least and I am sure the Omoniles will snigger at the bill in case any buyer uses it to threaten them.

Bottom-line the prospects of beating this people at their game looks bleak but i have devised a way to thump them at their own game and that is playing on their Greed and employing the Divide and Rule Tactics the British used on Nigeria to Conquer us on these Omoniles so as to minimize the huge payments of these Omonile Fees. I have been involved in so many Omonile Transactions for so many years and I have studied their way of life, how they think and how they react when it comes to Omonile Money issues and 80% of them follow a particular pattern.

So before you buy your Next Omonile Land, Follow these simple but effective tactics to prevent paying that Huge Omonile fee that could be used to do better things in your life or add to the beautification of the house your building instead of giving your life savings to one waif looking, hungry, greedy, lazy illiterate claiming to be the First son or “Olori Ebi” of the Seller.

1. Before you buy any Land at all, ask your Agent to find out the family or community that owns the property you intend to buy. Some of these Families are famous for their notoriety in extorting money from innocent purchasers that runs into their Millions a times. It’s best you keep away from such people. These Families are schooled in the Art of demanding for everything under the sun excluding the cost of the Land itself and until you do your house warming, you’re a Slave to them and a human ATM Machine. Most of them are located in Eti-Osa local Government and they are as dangerous as it gets. They keep army of thugs in case you get out of line and you are at their mercy. If you can avoid buying in those areas that have a checkered past please look for alternatives.

2. When you have finished Verifying the Land you intend to buy, let them know of your interest in it but don’t show extreme desperation. These People are not interested in you or your well being, only the smell of your money matters to them. Fuel their Interest and water their throat that you have the money to pay for the land but you are interested in negotiating the total cost of all the fees you are to pay unless you would walk away because you have other options. If they are still adamant not to concede anything to you, issue them a photocopy of the check or bank draft for them to hold and tell them you are waiting for your lawyer to come and help you draw up the agreements for you. If they don’t hear from you after a day or 2, they will bombard you with phone calls asking you when you are coming to pay.

Any Omonile that holds a photocopy of a check or bank draft is already a Slave to you and is ready to do your bidding. If you give him excuses why you might not honor the check, he will ask you to name them. Tell him you still have to pay agency fees, legal fees, survey the land and this Omonile fees are a big hindrance to the transaction because it is over shooting your budget. The Omonile at this Juncture will personally revise the Omonile fees either through a drastic reduction or outright cancellation of the Signing Fees because they don’t want to lose the full figure of the land compared to the Omonile Fees they were craving for previously. If an Omonile or a disgruntled section of the Omoniles decides to still demand for that Omonile Signing fee, it would lead to an internal squabble amongst themselves to coerce the person or group to see the bigger picture with respect to the full cost of the Land they are about to miss if they stand their grounds for that Omonile Fee.


This Method only works if you are patient and steadfast to the cause. It’s your money not theirs yet so play with their greedy minds. Don’t let them see you as the timid and desperate one. Most of the time when they call you, refer them to your lawyer. They fear Lawyers and find it very difficult to convince lawyers to bend to their wishes

3. With respect to the nauseating “FOUNDATION FEES”, you can temporarily evade this one by telling the Omoniles that you will pay their Foundation fees when you want to start building properly. The Smart ones amongst them will quickly tell you that you must pay the foundation fees once you attempt to construct a Fence. Argue with them at this point in time and involve your lawyer. Tell them you will never buy a land and leave it unattended to without fencing it and if they want to bully you to pay Foundation money to them as Fencing Money, then know they don’t wish you well and you can take your money to another place.

Also add an extra sweetener by telling the Selling Omonile that you will give him the contract to supply the blocks and cement to fence your land round but if he insists on collecting the Foundation Fee now, you would not give him the business. Trust me he would go and fight on your behalf for them to forgo the fee now because he doesn’t want to lose your business.


The reason why this method works so well is because you are working on their inner greed and the need for them to get paid immediately. It is also an advantage for you to forgo this fee right now because even if you pay it now and you leave your land unattended to in months or years, whenever you feel you are financially buoyant to start work, you will just see another set of thugs or Families coming to demand you pay them for a new Foundation fee. Your protestation that you have already paid this fee to the accredited representatives of the Family will fall on deaf ears and you must pay this new set of people before you can start work. This form of Omonile Double Taxation is very rampart and you should learn from this to avoid being their next victim. Only pay the reduced and agreed Omonile fees once and pay it only when you want to start serious work on the land so that you know you’re paying to only one family instead of 2 or more Fictitious Families.

Fast Tip:Tell the Omonile that he would supply the Blocks like the ones in the picture below if he shelves the Foundation Fees now. He would look at the bigger picture and calculate the financial gains that would accrue to him and fight anybody that is ready to take away that business in exchange for a Foundation Fee
4. To be honest when it comes to the roofing or decking Money, there is very little you can do because they are monitoring your building for you so they see everything but there is still some light at the end of the tunnel. This tip applies to buyers who are buying it from an Individual who has bought from the family previously. Demand from him the receipts he previously paid to the family with regards to Omonile Fees. If he says he has lost them or he didn’t pay the Omoniles, use that as a veritable bargaining chip to cut the price he intends to sell the land to you because he is pushing you into the Lion’s den alone. Because he wants to close the deal, he will concede to the price so that you use that amount saved to settle the Omoniles.

If it is a Seller who claims to have gotten the Omonile Signing Fees Receipt from the Seller, Force him to take you to the Omoniles to confirm the authenticity of that receipt and to introduce you as their brother or sister so that they don’t draw up a new bill. A small token should be given to them rather in the form of drinks or presents or Brown envelope. This helps you eliminate paying a huge fee to them twice.

Lets all join hands to eliminate this Omonile Scams that are contributing negatively to the economy and pauperizing our wallets. Verify that land or property your interested in purchasing before you buy.

Barr. Matthew

Busy fighting omoniles over fake land documents! Call me on 08077943514 or 07036681104 for more info and find me on Facebook at Nairaland lawyer


YIM: barrister_matto

Twitter: @Nairalandlawyer