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Lagos, Architects’ firm up New Affordable Housing Scheme

A tripartite agreement has been reached between Lagos State Government, Nigerian Institute of Architect (NIA), Lagos Chapter and Sterling Alternative, an arm of Sterling Bank Plc to reduce housing deficit in the commercial capital.
Under the Joint Venture deal, Lagos government is to provide land while the architects provide affordable housing design, which will be financed by Sterling Alternative Finance.
The designs will emerge from winners of the yearly design competition “Affordable Home designs, which winners were selected from students and young professionals categories last week. The participants will be assembled in a boot camp by Sterling Alternative Finance for the actualisation of the initiative.

 

The design competition was the highpoint of the Lagos Architects Forum 2019 titled LAF 10.0, “ Architectural Regeneration 2- The Lagos Response”. Babalola Tobiloba won the first prize in the Associate category with a project titled ‘Tiwa Tiwa’ while the second prize went to Daniel Osuda for ‘Rubicks Village.’

The yearly event organized by the Lagos Chapter of Nigerian Institute of Architects, attracted participants and exhibitors from allied built and construction industries, academia from Nigeria and abroad.Speaking at the closing ceremony, Chairman of the chapter, Fitzgerald Umah noted that the partnership was the response to the architectural regeneration, which was central to past fora.

 

According to him, Sterling Alternative bought the idea to ensure that homes are affordable to the lower cadre of the society who actually needs the housing.Also, Executive director, Corporate and Investment banking Sterling bank Plc, Mr. Yemi Odubiyi said the interest of the bank on affordable housing was not an accident , stressing that conversation on affordable housing has been on for over 30 years and the partnership was the bank’s response towards finding solution to the affordable housing through alternative finances.

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According to him, Sterling Alternative Finance is a non interest financing system that should be utilised to ensure that houses are affordable for majority of citizens. Mr. Odubiyi noted that the bank decided to venture into affordable offering following past experiences in high-end projects which witnessed down turns.He stressed that affordable housing offers a different scale with higher demand but inadequate supply .

The bank, he said, will provide the funding solution for the housing units , while the architects support with designs and cheaper materials.

Meanwhile, Umah said the theme of next year LAF 11.0 would focus on “Architecture Now, The City of Lagos Next 25 years”.On the issue of building collapse, Umah urged governments nationwide to implement and enforce all existing laws, relating to the urban space in their respective domains as a proactive step towards curbing the menace of building collapse.

Lamenting that building collapse has remained a menace in the country with the highest rate being recorded in Lagos, he said there was also an urgent need to engage the services of certified professionals in the building environment for all construction projects.

According to him, the Institute had in 2017, presented a document to the Lagos State Government titled ‘Architects Intervention Programme,’ which if implemented would help to checkmate the recurring incidence of building collapse.
“The document is aimed at enhancing the building plan approval process in Lagos, to ensure that only qualified professionals are engaged in construction projects.

It would also ensure that relevant professionals take ownership of projects designed by them.“Not until this happens, we will still be faced with this unabated and recurring challenge. “Our government must not be seen to be paying lip service to resolving the issue of building collapse.

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“The phenomenon has taken the lives of hundreds of innocent citizens with attendant loss of properties and economies in many occurrences over several years and still counting,’’Umah said.Earlier in his remarks, the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode urged architects to develop standard designs that would enhance urban regeneration, infrastructural development of the state.

Ambode said architects have vital roles to play in the urban renewal and infrastructural development of the state, stressing that the forum should be a platform for addressing and proffering solutions to infrastructure challenges of the state.

The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Housing , Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, said the government is presently working towards promoting building designs that will be affordable to low-income earners. The focus, he said, is to create a liveable environment within the city using social housing components.

“Architects as the key drivers in housing development need to work together with other allied professionals, to develop the designs that will facilitate regeneration of Lagos State,’ ’he said.He expressed hope that the forum would add value to infrastructure development of the state, to make it a true mega-city, and equally proffer lasting solution to the menace of building collapse in the state.

He assured the architects of the state government’s collaboration and readiness in providing the enabling environment for the professionals to strive.

Also the President, Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), Mr. Ajayi Dapo, urged the Lagos State government to intensify more efforts to effect a comprehensive urban renewal of the state. Dapo said that most parts of Lagos metropolis have been overdue for renewal, particularly the Lagos Island and Ijora- Badia area of the state.

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