Author: Maduekeh Chiedu .O.
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka
The physical environment of man is littered with so many manmade structures (buildings and the like) which are usually ordered by regulations and some form of control; the overall objective being to maintain a sequence that would ensure that structures are cited with regard to a bigger plan and that such structures when completed would live up to and fulfill the functional requirements for which it was constructed. Buildings are meant to provide shelter as a result of which they are often exposed to varying weather and climate changes some of which are detrimental to building structures. Scientific measurements have shown beyond doubt that the earth is getting gradually warmer and that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is on the increase. This has led to a deviation of climatic conditions ranging from predictable to sometimes unpredictable and extreme climates. Many were quick to point accusing fingers to the activities of man as the main causative agent of climate change; however, some of the changes in climate have also been linked to some natural phenomenon. This research seeks to determine the link between climate change and the built environment in order to identify the role of regulation in mitigating the effects of such changes on the built environment. Pursuant to this, five broad objectives were pursued and they include to assess the effects of climate change on building structures; to investigate the relationship between climate change and existing legislation relating to building developments and to assess the measures which can help to reduce the impact of climate change on buildings among other things. Furthermore, efforts were also geared towards evaluating the impacts of statutory authorities in ensuring compliance with statutory provisions relating to building control and regulations, determining if available information(s) regarding the effects of climate change is well disseminated among the populace and assessing the suitability or otherwise of the staff expected to enforce building control and regulations in various local government areas. Data was sourced and obtained from the three senatorial zones of Anambra state (three local governments from each of the three senatorial zones) south east Nigeria using well structured research questionnaires. The data so collected wereanalyzed using mean scores and standard deviations while hypothesis were tested using one sample T-test and Regression model. In conclusion, it was clear that changes in climate adversely affect building structure; furthermore, existing legislations have not really taken cognizance of the potential impact of climate change on the built environment. Based on these and other findings, appropriate recommendations were made among them being a call for constant dissemination of information on the effects of climate change as a way of ensuring compliance to regulations. The subcontracting of building control functions with adequate government supervision and the use of computer simulations to determine the likely effects of climate change on a building structure were also recommended.
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