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Design for safety in construction in Nigeria: a qualitative inquiry of the critical opportunities

Design for safety in construction in Nigeria: a qualitative inquiry of the critical opportunities

Umeokafor, Nnedinma ORCID: 0000-0002-4010-5806, Okoro, Chioma ORCID: 0000-0001-5377-6054, Diugwu, Ikechukwu ORCID: 0000-0003-2087-7910 and Umar, Tariq ORCID: 0000-0002-1197-8181 (2021) Design for safety in construction in Nigeria: a qualitative inquiry of the critical opportunities. International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, 41 (2). pp. 476-494. ISSN 2398-4708 (Online) (doi:

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This study investigates the critical opportunities for design for safety (DFS), the potential statutory (and non-statutory) health and safety (H&S) responsibilities of designers including DFS and its workability in developing countries.
Interviews were conducted among 28 multi-designers including Architects, Civil Engineers and Builders and the data was analysed thematically.
The study revealed that the likelihood of designers, clients, etc. inclining to change because of the infancy stage of H&S in developing countries, making it ‘fallow’ for H&S was a barrier. The opportunities for DFS include the willingness of designers to develop DFS skills and knowledge, which results in a welcoming attitude towards DFS. Further, the success recorded by professional bodies on other regulatory matters and designers’ greater inclination to comply with DFS when professional bodies are involved in the regulatory process of DFS remain key opportunities for DFS.
To the knowledge of the authors, this is the first study that examines the opportunities for DFS in developing countries when it is (or not) supported by statute and the need to advance the understanding of DFS in developing countries through qualitative enquiry.
Practical implications
For statutory-backed DFS to achieve the objective at the optimum level, the role of professional bodies in the regulatory and sensitisation processes, geographic differences in DFS legislation enforcement, nuanced and strategic design and enforcement of any legislation that will support DFS should be taken into consideration.
Social implication
A grassroots collaborative approach to developing and implementing DFS in the country and the exploitation of the zeal of designers to have DFS-related knowledge, is recommended.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited. Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited. This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact
Uncontrolled Keywords: architects; civil engineers; safety in design; design risk management; safe design, prevention through design.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
T Technology > TH Building construction
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > School of Engineering (ENG)
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2023 10:59

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