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Experts: Infrastructure limits skyscrapers construction in Nigeria

Dearth of infrastructure has been blamed for low level of construction of skyscrapers in Nigerian cities to solve accommodation problems.


According to housing experts, skyscrapers are good for the economy, but absence of infrastructure such as electricity to power the lifts (elevators) is one of the limiting factors.
Commenting on Housing Development Group platform, former President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Mr Steve Onu, said that absence of required support infrastructure was a major obstacle to tall buildings’ construction in Nigerian cities.

Apart from electricity, he explained that skyscrapers would require a lot of sewerage and water supply systems, wondering if the nation has capacity to handle these.
“Then how do we handle sewerage systems and water supply systems,” Onu said, adding that individual boreholes would not be able to serve a project of about 50 floors.

Although Lagos and Abuja could boast of few high-rise commercial and office developments of 20 to 25 floors in the last 10 years, these cannot be classified as skyscrapers. Skyscrapers, according to a report from Standardmedia.co.ke. are very tall buildings that define a city’s skyline.

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It noted that the term originated in the United States of America (US) in the late 1880s during the building boom in Chicago and New York. “At this time, buildings that had more floors than the surrounding buildings were called skyscrapers. These days, buildings that have at least 40 or more floors are designated as skyscrapers,” it read.
Studies from Bahrain, United Arab Emirate and Kuwait indicate that the design of the skyscraper itself can contribute positively to the environment by lowering pressure on natural resources and providing habitants with an enjoyable living environment.

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However, fast-growing Africa presents a wide range of investment opportunities from agriculture, infrastructure, minerals, industry and even manpower, which has seen it attract whopping investments in real estate and other infrastructure.
Conesquently, Onu raised posers about the capacity of Nigerians and the government to maintain a central sewage system if all the systems (building) are linked to it.

The town planner said the issues raised in the report were reminders to architects so that they could be more creative and for planners to review cities’ subdivision regulations especially in the central business districts to accommodate such developmental principles.

Founder of the Assured Group, Mr. Adewunmi Okupe, an architect, maintained that shortage of electricity has limited most housing innovations in Nigeria.
He pointed out that skyscrapers could help in solving accommodation problems in major cities and reduce pressure on land, saying that absence of infrastructure was a major setback.

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He described a situation where someone is living on a 40th floor without electricity to power the lifts as “something else.”
Another expert noted that housing remained a multifaceted issue, adding that infrastructure provision was germane to all. “The bottom line of issues raised here is that housing is an integrated issue. Piecemeal approaches will not do,” he said.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international organization of civil engineers and architects based in Chicago, ranks the heights of buildings based on three criteria: the height of building from the lowest level to the architectural top, excluding antennae and flagpoles; the highest occupied floor; and from the lowest level to the highest level, including antennae and flagpoles.

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Skyscrapers were originally created in the USA as a symbol of economic strength and increasing global business operations. Unsurprisingly, according to Standardmedia’s report, most of the tallest buildings in the world were located in the US.

Dayo Ayeyemi

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