NECOM House, Lagos, Nigeria


We invented a unique waste disposal method on this 32 storey fire damaged office building in the centre of Lagos to make safe, complete 12 weeks early and secure additional profits.

NECOM House is a 32-story skyscraper in Lagos, Nigeria, constructed from concrete in the 1970’s by Costain and was the tallest building in Nigeria and West Africa. It was the headquarters of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) – a less flattering acronym suggested locally it meant ‘Never Ever Power Again’. In the early 1980’s the building was nearly destroyed by fire and Costain, as the original main contractor, were awarded a contract to make it safe.

The heat of the fire had caused the floor reinforcement to spall the concrete cover onto the floor below, which together with damaged fixtures, fittings and equipment, all had to be cleared and each floor successively supported over the entire 32-stories.

The contract was originally tendered on the basis of bagging up all the waste material and hand carrying down the stairs – a pains taking and highly labour intensive operation. However, we designed a novel waste disposal method in which the access shafts on the front of the building could be used as refuse chutes and at the bottom, a hopper was fabricated in order to dissipate the energy from material falling 32 floors. A conveyor belt was then placed under the hopper and material discharged into a truck. We sourced various scaffolding and propping systems throughout Nigeria, which were subsequently installed as each floor was successively cleared.

The building was made safe and the contract completed in half the scheduled time with a significant return in profit.


Posted on

1st January 1986