Experts explore benefits of smart construction tech

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With smart buildings gaining momentum – and as the technology behind them becomes more sophisticated and prevalent, built environment experts have called for the adoption of smart buildings in line with global best practices.

Smart buildings are structures that use automated processes to control building operations in areas such as ventilation, heating, air conditioning, lighting, and security among other systems. Currently, some old structures have started to convert to smart buildings in some countries to meet up with the demands of modern time.

The experts spoke at the 17the edition of the 2018 Lagos Housing Fair (LHF), held in Lagos. The event, which is an exhibition of products and services in construction industry, featured all the professionals in the sector including building artisans.

Speaking on the theme of the event; “Smart Buildings”, the Chairman of organising committee, Moses Ogunleye, a town planner, observed that the issues of resource consumption; energy efficiency and technology application should be at the front burner in the nations’ quest for development.

According to him, with the era of climate change, and instances of extreme climatic elements, the designs of homes, construction and usage must be done with the consciousness of making the structures most pleasurable and comfortable.Toward this end, he explained that a smart building saves its owners so much cost in construction and maintenance in view of the role of housing in economic and social growth of a nation.

He noted that the choice of the theme is to allow for a searchlight on adoption of durable and energy efficient homes in the country.“As a country, Nigeria should not only be concerned with increasing the number of housing units in various states or settlements, efforts should be geared at ensuring that what is built by stakeholders meet the requirements of smart buildings. A smart home should serve the intended purpose, enhance ventilation, minimise water consumption and be safety conscious among others”.

Expanding the theme; the First Vice President of the Nigerian Institute of Building; ((NIOB), Biodun Awobudu said it is high time Nigeria converts some of its local buildings to scientific smart ones to join the league of nations adopting the option of smart building.He posited that smart buildings involve addition of scientific additives into building finishing. This he stated, would helped the country to improve on design and build a lot of homes with many technological inputs.

“Architects and building researchers should investigate on how to construct smart buildings. NIOB has been engaging our members to develop initiatives that could ease the cost of building”, he said.

On his part, the National President of Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Akinola George, an architect, said Nigeria should be inspired by the global trends in the use of smart buildings and not wait until the country is ready for the technology before moving in that direction.

According to him contrary to the most popular notion that the technology is expensive, it is rather cheap provided the necessary infrastructural investment has been put into place.For instance, he said, Nanotechnology has tremendously changed the face of paints production with its current ability to last for over ten years. He explains that smart technology in construction sector will make building development cheaper and help Nigeria out of a corruption riddled society.

“Smart building requires special intelligence based on real time interaction using data and innovation based eco-system in a sustainable environment. Professionals in the built environment must upgrade to a city based sensor network that requires energy management, efficient water management, smart lighting, efficient traffic monitoring and heat resistant coating materials among others”.

George called for advocacy, engaging government at all levels through affirmative and collective effort to develop policies that would benefit the built sector while artisans and other professionals must also develop their thinking minds and interest in technology for rapid transformation of the country.

On the demand for affordable homes for the people, Oba Akiolu declared that what the government needs to do is to provide basic infrastructure like; electricity, good road, water and other important facilities in choice locations for the citizen to conveniently build and own their personal houses. To him, such facilities are the most important needs in the quest to surmount the challenge of adequate and affordable housing in Nigeria.

“Government should provide welfare initiatives for the people, the private sector must also support efforts of the government like it is the practice abroad. For instance, three states government could come together, clear a very large expanse of land build houses for the people or go into agriculture and produce food in large quantity”.He charged housing professionals to collaborate in tackling the problems of building collapses, land grabbers and illegal development in towns and cities as part of efforts to achieve a smart building environment.

Victor Gbonegun

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