What most contributors to NHF don’t know about FMBN

In order to address the housing challenges faced by many Nigerians, the then colonial government set up The Federal Mortgage Bank.Though the bank has been in existence since 1956, most contributors to National Housing Fund(NHF), do not know much about the functions of the bank.This article will enlighten you on the functions of this institution.

It is the apex mortgage bank in Nigeria,founded in 1956. As at the time of its establishment, it was known as the Nigeria Building Society (NBS). It was formed as a joint venture of the Federal Governments and Eastern Governments of Nigeria, and the Commonwealth Development Corporation. It was renamed to Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in 1973 after the Federal government was given full control of the National Building Society through the Indigenization Act.

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In 1994, the FMBN acquired the status of the apex mortgage institution in Nigeria with the proclamation of the Mortgage Institutions Act 53 of 1989 and the FMBN Act 82 of 1993. The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria introduced a savings scheme called the National Housing Fund. It is a form of savings that organize and manage long-term funds from the federal government, banks, insurance companies, and Nigerian workers to promote the giving of loans at lower interests to contributors. Over the years, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria has undergone different kinds of reforms to promote and meet its mandate.

The Federal Mortgage Bank provides long-term credit services to mortgage banks in Nigeria and other mortgage institutions at rates that will allow the mortgage banks and institution grant loans to individuals who want to acquire their own houses. It encourages and promotes the establishment and development of mortgage institutions at federal, state, local, and even rural levels. It encourages the growth of the required of lasting secondary mortgage institutions to meet the housing needs of Nigerians. The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria gives licensing authority for secondary mortgage institutions in Nigeria.

It monitors and regulates the activities of mortgage institutions in Nigeria. It collects and manages the National Housing Funds in a manner that conforms to the provision of the National Housing Fund Act. The Federal Mortgage Bank also mobilizes both domestic and foreign funds into the housing sector, and it is the link between the mortgage market and the capital market.

From time to time, the bank also introduces different innovative mortgage-related programs and products to achieve its mandates. The main goal of the Federal Mortgage Bank is to advance home-ownership among every Nigerian by creating mortgage markets with a sustainable financing system.

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria partners with mortgage institutions with the technical and financial capacity, who are interested in delivering affordable housing to the low and medium income earners.

SOURCE:Affa Dickson Acho with Agency reports.

Federal Government social housing project ready for commissioning in Nasarawa

In its quest to tackle housing challenges in Nigeria, the Federal Government, through the Family Homes Fund is set to commission the first batch of 600 homes recently completed in Luvu, Nasarawa State.

Speaking during a tour of inspection of the project, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Imeh Okon, disclosed that she was on the tour of inspection to see the level and completion status of the project.

She said “The Federal Government has invested in the project with the private sector to provide affordable social housing to the low-income earners so we came to see the progress and see if we can bring the Vice-President to commission the houses”.

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Speaking on the affordability of the houses, she said “The initial plan we had was people that earn as low as N30, 000 monthly can be home owners, so if you have a minimum of N30, 000, you can own some of these houses”.

On her assessment of the project, she said “The buildings have been completed, and as you can see, people are already living inside, so we are just going to make most of the common areas very presentable for the people that are living in to stay and be able to enjoy the environment.

Speaking further she said “Everything is ready as far as we are concerned, there is water there is light, and you heard from what she said (One of the residents) is convenient for her, and this is the first time in her life, she owns a property herself”.

She assured Nigerians that the present administration is working to give hope to Nigerians who desire to own a home.

“The administration of President Buhari cares about the poor, and that is why this is a key concern for him to make sure that people with low-incomes can own a home, N30, 000, is not much, if you are ready to put one third of that on the table to be able to get mortgage to purchase these houses.

This is just one site, we have several across Nigeria, so even if we are starting in Nasarawa right now, we have in Ogun, we have in Delta, and we have in Kano. So what we’ve done here today, we are still going to go round those sites that are ready, to see the readiness, to also publicize it for Nigerians, to know that we have similar projects in other states. The tail end is to have it in all the 36 States, as many as we can, so it’s going to go everywhere, not just people that are close to Abuja”. She said

Also speaking during the tour of inspection, the Managing Director of Millard Fuller Foundation, the project contractor, said ‘’what you see is the first two phases of the project that is going to deliver affordable housing to Nigerians, I feel extremely privileged to be working with Family Homes Fund, with the Federal Government of Nigeria to deliver housing that is truly affordable at long last.

When we started building here we were delivering houses for as little as N1.5 million and we are still trying to bring down that price because every Nigerian deserves to have a home, that is our belief and we are really privileged to be a part of the efforts of the Federal Government to deliver these houses”.

On the Categories of houses available he said “We have studio apartments, we have one bedroom apartments and two bedroom apartments, there are one or two, three bedroom apartments but we find that most people on that level will only be able to afford about two bedrooms” he said.

The tour of inspection was led by, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Imeh Okon, officials from the Office of the Head of Service, Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH), and officials of the Family Homes Fund.

Family Homes Fund, an initiative of the Federal Government, is aimed at facilitating affordable housing delivery by entering into specific partnerships with supportive State Governments, developers and International partners/agencies that can provide technical support and financing for project implementation.

SOURCE: Affa Dickson Acho

Why four storey building collapsed in Abuja – Panel

A panel set up by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to investigate the cause of building collapse which took place in Jabi on August 17 has submitted its report.

While submitting the report to the FCT minister on Wednesday, the chairman of the panel and Director-General of Nigeria Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), Danladi Matawal, said the collapse of the four-storey building was mainly due to ”poor structural and architectural pre-examination before the commencement of building in 2005”.

According to a press statement from the FCTA, the official said the work on the building was abandoned but recommenced in January 2018 ”without any proper revalidation of the building”.

Mr Matawal called for appropriate disciplinary measures against indicted officers.

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He also blamed the developer for unprofessional practices, especially in the commencement of work without adequate and comprehensive documents in place.

“There was a deficiency in the professional capability of the people charged with the responsibility of supervising buildings, from start to finish,” he said.

As a means of checking quackery in the building process, the chairman recommended the use of qualified FCTA’s pool of site officers and engineers at building sites.

The administration had set up a panel of enquiry to unravel both the immediate and remote causes of the building collapse, with a view to stemming future occurrences.

Meanwhile, the FCTA has said it will overhaul its Department of Development Control to strengthen to cope with the ever-increasing building activities in the FCT.

This was made known in the press statement signed by the FCTA chief press secretary, Cosmas Uzodinma.


The minister, who was represented at the occasion by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Chinyeaka Ohaa, said the FCTA is on the verge of breathing ”new life into the department to make it function more efficiently and give developers value for their money”.



 The minister said the FCTA is saddened by the incidents of building collapse in the country despite the calibre, number, and mix of professionals in the building industry in Abuja and other parts of the country.

He said activities of the department will also be decentralised to keep pace with service delivery.

He said the recommendations made by the committee would help to curtail these incidents to the barest minimum.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how activities in Jabi area of Abuja were put on hold when the four-storey building under construction collapsed on August 17.

The building was situated within Jabi/Utako park, directly opposite Panda shopping mall.


Why we are building REDAN House~chime

Reverend Ugochukwu Chime is the President of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, (REDAN). In this interview with Affa Dickson Acho, spoke on the real estate sector as a tool for gainful employment, the fundraising for the new REDAN building,and other issues in the housing sector.

Can you give us a brief background of yourself?

I’m a Surveyor by training, I’m a management expert by training, I’m a development consultant by training, I started working in the public service from 1980, I’ve had 15 years’ experience working in the public service, retiring in 1995. I’ve served as Chairman of housing corporation, I’ve served as consultant to banks, including Federal Mortgage Bank, so all my years have been in the lands and housing development currently I’m serving as President of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, and a Director in AG Homes Mortgage Bank.

Who is REDAN and what does REDAN actually do?

REDAN came into existence in 2002/2003, in response to the need for government to have an organised private sector investors who will be mandated to supply affordable housing for our citizens, the government under President Obasanjo constituted what we had the as the FMBN Technical board, under Professor Mabogunje,who now decided that, they should have this supply side organized into a group, whereby they can talk to them as a group and articulate themselves  to provide an enabling environment to create the needed growth in supply of affordable housing.

That was what led into the creation of REDAN, I happen to be the third president of the association, the first president was Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who was president from inception to 2009, after him we had Chief Olabode Afolayan, who was president from 2009 to 2015 February when I took over as the president and I’ll be handing over in February 2021.

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What will you say have been your major achievements as REDAN President?

We found out that there were a lot of issues on the acceptance of REDAN across stakeholders institutions,some felt that REDAN had come to displace them, some felt they were not ready for REDAN to come into existence, and within ourselves also, we didn’t have an effective structure for succession ,we also didn’t have the necessary tools, we also didn’t have the relationship with critical institutions that will help us play our role, the role of supplying houses, to Nigerians and therefore whittling down the millions of housing deficit we have.

So what we decided then was to tackle all these issues head on, by restructuring REDAN to have a succession in place. Because before I became the president, any developer could come in and become the President of REDAN and that distorted the flow that was in existence. But now we have a succession plan, so that the person who will take over after me is already known, and the person who will take over thereafter, by that means, we have sustainability. Policies ideas and promises that we have made as an administration, we made sure that the constitution was amended and accepted by all. We have also been able to go on advocacy with builders so that they can see the veritable need to have REDAN occupy their place in the scheme of things among stakeholders.

That role could not be played by any other organisation, we have the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, who are the professionals who are playing in the industry, but they cannot replace the business entities that play there. Basically we are investors in the building supply value chain. So we went on advocacy to let the people know the role we are playing, and the role we need to play, that role hitherto was been played decades ago by government housing corporations and individuals.

We’ve also been able to engage in data collection, and management with CBN, World Bank and other organizations, because it will be a walk in the dark if you want to invest in the real estate sector without knowing where the houses are needed, what kind of houses, are they going to be affordable.

So we have been able to engage with them to create what we call Nigerian real estate data collection and management program, in conjunction with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, CBN, Federal Mortgage Bank, NMRC and many organizations who are users of this sort of data, including Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, National Population Commission.

We’ve also been able to ensure that our members get the requisite skill set, by getting an MoU with the University of Lagos, via which our members will now be educated and informed about the value steps in land acquisition, land preparation to consultancy to deciding the use of the land and feasibility studies, economic survey to determine the type of houses, and how to integrate it to the financial issues and the financial intelligence that is required. We’ve been able to engage other partners to let them know where we can have a meeting point.

There have been issues of affordable housing, what solutions have REDAN proffered to solve this issue?

REDAN has proffered a cocktail of issues that will address affordability, some of them are within the ambit of REDAN, some of them are within the private sector, for instance, the issue of the cost of land and the issue of approval of building drawings, the issue of the transfer or title cost are within the domain of the state governments, now the issue of cost of funds is within the fiscal policy which is under the umbrella of the Federal Government, now the issue of building materials is also under the umbrella of the Private sector but these are manufacturers and trading organizations.

What we have decided to do, is to engage them meaningfully, both government and the private sector operators to know that we can have housing as a tool for huge employment generation, for Internally Generated Revenue (IGR),and for other socio economic improvements that we need. If only each of us can take a shave in terms of the interest, can we the developers reduce the price, can also the building materials producers look into how they can get us building materials at good prices? Can government also be able to manage the land administration policies and ensure that they give access to land as well as reduce the transaction time and cost on issues that pertain to land.

If the Federal government decide to create an enabling environment, for Direct Foreign Investment (DFI)? Because there is a funding mismatch currently, you can use short term funds to create real estate investment, real estate is a long term project that goes on for about 2, 3, 4 years, so these are some of the issues that are beyond the control of REDAN members, but we have come to appreciate that we are the managers of the interest of these stakeholders. So we have decided to meet all the stakeholders to map out a plan that will lead to affordable housing and increased turnover in the number of houses.

What kind of questions should REDAN be asking political party candidates in the run up to the 2019 elections?

What we are trying to do is to interact with the candidates and interact with the electorates, and let them know that the real estate sector is a veritable tool for gainful employment for the populace and a vantage tool for us to create something for ourselves.

I understand you have a fund raising coming up for a new building for REDAN,can you shed more light on this?

On the 11th of December 2018,by 2pm at the International conference centre Abuja, we will be having a REDAN House launching, where we will invite REDAN members, developers and partners for us to sit down together, see how far we have come and see the necessity for us to be able to have a house for ourselves, a house whereby we can have  a library, where you can go to for information and data, it will be a shame for us to continue to build houses for people and not have a house that we can call our own, we’ve gotten a land, a very good land in a good location that will give us what we want. Already members of the EXCO, who brought out this vision have contributed the sum of 67 million Naira and that for me is mind boggling and it shows the level of commitment.

We are looking forward to raising over 300 million Naira to have the total package of the house and the infrastructure we need, my tenure will be ending in February 2021, and I intend to have that house completed so that my successor to the office of REDAN president will not have to use a rented apartment as we are doing now and we have also make provision for us to have a memorable plaque in front of the building for donors, and the six highest donors will have halls named after them, so that generations to come will know that these great men at a time when there was a clarion call for those who will rise and do the needful and build a house for REDAN, these ones responded.

SOURCE: Affa Dickson Acho



Benefits of prefabrication and modular building construction

The construction industry is no stranger to volatility. It is commonplace to notice that the industry exceeds the market expectations and prove business analysts wrong during booming phase and nose-dives to its nadir during financial melt-down.

With a view to the ups and downs in the local and international markets, a lot of industries are coming forward to embrace the idea of prefabrication and modular building construction. Thanks to its proven ability to address financial, quality and environment related concerns, this industry stands up to the challenge of growing residential, commercial and industrial needs across the globe.

The unique selling point of Prefabrication and Modular Building Construction, which is reportedly predicted by various reliable sources to grow at CAGR of 6.50% between 2015 and 2020 totaling USD 209 billion by the end of the decade, is minimizing cost and maximizing ROI. Dani Yuliadi, ST. of Bali Prefab, an island-based company creating prefabricated wooden buildings in Bali and shipping them to an increasingly larger circle of satisfied customers worldwide, comments that the tropical climate in Africa is prospective and profitable for the continent more so when it comes to importing the prefabs materials.

Amela Buljubasic, of APEC Smart Steel Structures APEC Smart Steel Structures notes that the technology in prefab homes will rapidly become prevalent worldwide. Modern architecture designs are better suited for prefab homes construction because of the model illumination, and contemporary design that is cost saving.

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The following are some of the advantages of modular building:

Time and cost savings

Time is money and time saved is money saved, an additional income. This is all the more significant in the construction industry where delay in project delivery is the order of the day. According to Wael Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Export Business Unit Manager Icon Construction and development , prefabricated houses is a better solution to the construction industry since it can be  used in more than one project,  be easily rearranged  with different layout designs all according to the client needs, with easy mobiling motion.

“One other merit is that as opposed to permanent built homes prefab homes can be demounted and moved from place to place with ease hence reducing accommodation problems, costs and saving time that might have been wasted in looking for rental houses,” said Mohamed.

In addition, Bertrand Gosset from KLH Massivholz GmbH in Austria says that Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) prefabricated panels take a short period of time to construct, having a dry construction method with quick readiness for occupancy hence saving time and money.

The failure of timely project delivery does not only take a toll on the reputation of the contractors and sub-contractors but also triggers cost over-runs. Aniek Flemmings of Frisomat  in Belgium comments that cold-formed steel prefabs are very easy and fast to assemble. They are very light in weight, which makes them easy to transport, but at the same time offers the same strength and solidity as hot rolled steel.

In addition to generality, the concept of Prefabrication and Modular Building Construction does not give in due to its indoors production feature. It is not at all affected by external factors like changing weather conditions or logistical unavailability as more than 90% of production cycle is completed indoors. It relieves the end users from extra cost and delays.

According to André Lubbe of Modular Homescor Buildings , prefabricated houses are 30% cheaper and quicker to construct than conventional building methods. He further added that the quality materials used and value for money are major aspects that make prefabricated houses unique and popular.

She further added that modular home construction can reduce the overall development cost by up to 40%. The primary challenge in Kenya has been delayed construction due to unexpected cost of construction; homeowners can now be sure that after paying for the products and services there will be no further charges during the construction.

“Modular home system is a low-tech, scalable and affordable building solution to improve and expand social infrastructure. In industrialized countries, a common approach to affordable housing is to prefabricate building components. In many developing countries, however, bad road conditions tend to make that option impracticable and even causes problems for standard brick-and-mortar construction. The bricks may get damaged during transportation from the factory to the construction site. Hence, the need for new, customized solutions that are suitable for developing countries – solutions that are low-cost and adapted to local supply chains”, said Camalynne Botes of Moladi Formwok

Good insulation

According to Julian Dalton of Park Home Modular Units in South Africa, prefab units have good insulation properties and a lifespan of 20 plus years provided they are correctly maintained. They can also be tailored to the customers’ requirements and specification. All finishes and fittings can be designed according to the budget and application of the unit.

Environment Friendly

The evolving patterns of prefabrication and Modular Building Construction method has made it possible to manufacture homes which are not only fit-for-purpose but also eco-friendly.  The top advantages of prefabricated buildings are significantly shorter building cycles from designing to the finished building as well as the use of sustainable re-growing materials, such as wood. Wasteful material is smaller in volume if compared to conventional method of construction.

According to Cornelia Sailer, Chariman of the Supervisory Board of LiWooDHolzmodulbau  AG, a German company that is specializing in prefabricated timber buildings and use sustainable and re-growing materials such as wood,the solid timber constructions are built as innovative cross-laminated timber construction (CLT) which are supplied by KLH. In addition to this general ecological concept regenerative thermal sources are used as heating and cooling system of the building.

LiWooD works with a so-called field factory, where the factory for the completion of modules is built adjacent to the building site. All the component parts are delivered in time to the field factory where they are assembled to ready modules. With a crane the modules are stacked and stapled and thus the building is completed in a very short amount of time.

She added that timber buildings also have short construction durations due to a high degree of prefabrication and can be used in earth quake regions. It is possible to finish a building for Social Housing to accommodate 50-60 families in less than 6 months above foundation. So we can deliver a fast and eco-friendly building for the use as Student Accommodation and Social Housing.

The use of Steel in prefabricated modules, further enhances its eco-friendliness. Steel is a very efficient material and a small quantity can achieve higher load-bearing capacity. Light Gauge Steel, used in a skeleton method of prefabrication, is very light and can be easily handled during manufacturing and installation keeping aside the requirements of noisy equipment. Steel is a recyclable material and more than 50% of it can be used for another purpose, if need arises.

Furthermore, according to Erwin of Perfect Places in South Africa, prefabricated buildings are of better quality compared to conventional buildings since they have a high tolerance of different weather conditions.

Superior Quality

Apart from affordability, it offers high level of quality as majority of structure’s parts are built indoors with total adherence to QHSE and ISO standards. The quality of prefabricated modules is unquestionable because it follows the same building codes of conventional houses. According to Bian Mofei of Prefabmarket in China, a structural steel building system offer better stability because it has better earthquake resistance behaviour and it’s much lighter to ship comparing with PC or RCC structure system. They can also be manufactured in large scale, which lowers the prize.

Quick accommodation in remote construction sites

Liam Cafferty from Kwikspace  in South Africa mentions that, prefab facilities are useful where rapid infrastructure is required. Prefabricated buildings and services are convenient when located in remote areas and building materials are scarce to source. The prefab facilities on-site ensure the project is kept on track and that personnel are pleased with living conditions far away from home.


Joni Rantasalo Sales and Marketing Manager, ADMARES Group notes that Modular Building technology such ADMARE’S innovative off-site allows for buildings to be completed up to 85% in factory settings instead of traditional construction site. This ensures consistent high quality, minimum material waste and reduced energy consumption with construction time on site reduced by 70-90%.

Firas Jaber of Tempohousing Ghana Ltd notes that speed of construction is unmatched everywhere on the planet by any other system of construction and also knowing what to expect without surprises is a big advantage.

Steel-framed modular units that come together to make up functional building equipped with the systems needed to run a building of the 21 century which Tempohousing  offers for instance is great on transport savings as many units can travel on a truck and erected once at destination.



600,000 Homes Lay Vacant Across England

A new study has revealed the shocking extent of England’s empty homes crisis, with more than 600,000 homes remaining vacant. The study, conducted by Good Move, has found that a third of empty homes are classed as long-term vacant, after being empty for more than six months.

The city of Liverpool takes the crown for the most vacant properties, with a staggering 10,512 properties laying empty last year. The data comes despite efforts by Liverpool City Council to reduce the amount of unused homes with a free matchmaking service to introduce buyers and sellers of empty homes, in a bid to bring more empty homes into use.

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Birmingham follows closely behind, with 10,386 empty homes. The city famous for its Bullring accounts for 17% of West Midlands’ total number of unoccupied homes. The Yorkshire city of Leeds has the third highest number of empty homes throughout the country, with 10,263 properties vacant. Leeds’ empty homes equates to 14% of Yorkshire and the Humber’s empty homes.

The North West has the most unoccupied properties, with 102,847 homes laying empty across the region, and 38% of those being vacant for longer than six months. Liverpool has the most empty homes in the North West, and the country as a whole, with 10,512 properties that are not in use in 2017.

Following closely behind the North West is the South East, with a staggering 86,693 vacant properties last year. Of the 86,000 empty homes, 29% of those have been unoccupied for longer than six months.


Affordable Housing Is Not About Flats-Alex Awiti

In this article Dr. Alex Awiti (founder and director of the East Africa Institute at the Aga Khan University in Nairobi), takes an in depth look at the issue of affordable housing in Kenya and goes beyond just the architecture or design of it and dives into the urbanism and policies that needs to guide it.

He cites what he describes as “unwieldy, rogue urbanization” as a chief culprit in Kenya’s housing crisis, highlighting a lack of synergy between land use planning, infrastructure design and efficient governance.

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Few issues are more important to the developing world than the provision of affordable, safe and livable housing. Many scholars now believe that Africa is in the throes of a housing crisis. With Africa’s population expected to reach 2.4 billion by 2050, small towns, medium size towns and mega cities will be stretched beyond breaking point due to inadequate housing and associated infrastructure such as water and sanitation, schools, open spaces and public transit.

The 2010 Constitution establishes the right to housing as an enforceable socio-economic right. But a majority of Kenyans lack access to affordable and decent housing. For example, households that live in rental housing spend about 47 per cent of their income on rent and associated costs. Moreover, 61 per cent of urban households live in slums such as Mathare and Kibera.

The supply of new housing units is currently estimated at 50,000 annually. Kenya’s housing crisis is exacerbated by an urbanization rate of about 4.2 per cent, which means that we add about 500,000 new urban inhabitants annually who need decent homes, not slums. President Uhuru Kenyatta has an ambitious plan to add one million houses annually over the next five years. Although details are scant, Kenyatta seeks to mobilize diverse sources of financing and leverage private sector partnership to provide affordable housing across the country under his Big Four Plan. The government will make land available by appropriating parcels from state corporations such as East African Portland Cement, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya Prisons, the Ministry of Agriculture and perhaps the Kenya Railways Corporation.

Kenya’s housing crisis is inextricably linked to land use planning, especially in urban areas. The urban housing crisis has everything to do with unwieldy, rogue urbanization. In the past decade, large infrastructure investments have fuelled virulent speculation, distorting land and house pricing, and urban spatial form. Moreover, our inability to link land use and urban planning to road infrastructure design and development has led to the emergence of suburbs that lack basic amenities and have now made our cities and towns disconnected, crowded and costly.

Decades of inattention to land use planning and urban and municipal governance has not only brought Africa to the cusp of a housing crisis, it has destroyed our sense of community living. We no longer think of our neighborhoods as places that meet in close proximity, basic life needs such as schools and safe recreational spaces for our children, places of worship, healthcare, business and commerce and, yes, jobs and efficient public transit.

President Kenyatta’s focus on affordable housing provides an opportunity to rethink the structure and form of Kenya’s rapid urbanisation and to reorganise the vast and unplanned rural land. Affordable housing must not be about rows upon rows of stacked up apartment units on cheap land in places such as Kitengela, Kajiado and Mavoko. Affordable housing must be about holistic, economically vibrant, socially cohesive communities that are part of thoughtful urban and rural design, which connects households, and especially youth with decent jobs.

SOURCE: The Star Kenya




London real estate lures overseas clients despite BREXIT ‘no deal’ fears

Central London has seen sustained levels of both leasing and investment activity so far in 2018 and corporate property consultant JLL anticipates that the final numbers will match, if not exceed those recorded in 2017.

£12.2 billion of central London offices have been traded in the first three quarters of 2018 following a strong Q3 performance where £4.3 billion of transactions were recorded. These latest year-to-date figures are only 6 per cent down on the corresponding period for 2017, a year that saw record investment volumes of £17.7 billion.

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Currently, £4 billion of assets are identified as under offer and another £4 billion of stock on the market and although this suggests that activity towards the end of the year will remain strong, it also highlights the lack of investment opportunities compared with the same period of 2017 when £16 billion was available.

Take-up of offices across central London reached 8.3 million square feet at the end of Q3 2018, with 3.1 million sq ft leased in the West End and 4.5m sq ft in the City.Active demand remains well above the 10-year average, with over 9 million sq ft of enquiries currently searching for space – with demand spread across the occupier spectrum.

Looking towards the transition at Brexit, and especially in the event of ‘no deal’, the leasing market could become relatively subdued as occupiers reconsider embarking on any new commitments in the short term.This will be relatively mild, however, as most demand is driven by unavoidable lease events rather than expansion, says JLL.

Julian Sandbach, head of Central London Capital Markets at JLL, said: “At the beginning of the year it seemed unlikely that investment volumes would reach similar levels to the bumper numbers we saw in 2017, and now it looks possible that they could even be surpassed. Despite the degree of uncertainty around the outcome of Brexit, London continues to attract significant levels of overseas capital who continue to target prime assets.

“As the record levels of foreign capital demonstrate the majority of international investors feel that whilst London is subject to some short-term uncertainty, the long-term prospects for London as a global gateway city with a secure investment platform, underpinned by the long-term commitments of occupiers, remain unchanged.”


Six reasons why a building may collapse

Buildings collapse due to wide range of reasons. These include natural disasters such as cyclones, hurricanes and the like. However, these causes are not usually related to the African experience. The causes of building collapse are mostly man made, and so, we can say to a large extent, that man is the architect of his own undoing.

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  1. Weak Foundation

One cannot build a house on a shaky foundation.

There are two things to consider in building foundations. The first is the solidity of the soil. The solidity of the soil determines the strength of the foundation, and great care has to be taken in building on weaker soil to avoid building collapse.  For instance, the specifications of foundation in a swampy area would be stronger than a region where the soil is hard.

Thus, construction professionals should take this point into consideration to ensure the foundation is properly done in order to ensure long lasting structures and preserve lives and property.

The second point to consider is the heaviness of the building. For instance, a building such as a multi-level car park would require a stronger foundation than a simple two bedroom flat designed to accommodate two people, because the weight the building is designed to carry has to be taken into consideration when erecting the foundation.

  1. Design Inadequacies

Another reason buildings fall is as a result of the failure to follow structural designs. Before a building is erected, there are structural plans and designs set up to serve as a guide for building among other reasons. When the plan is not properly followed, it could lead to structural lapses which may ultimately lead to collapse. It is important to follow the structural designs, and make proper adjustments where necessary on paper and when erecting the building.

  1. Poor Workmanship

Construction is more often than not left in the hands of unskilled and incompetent construction personnel. Unskilled labourers are bound to make mistakes in the building process, especially in mixing ratios. These mistakes caused by unskilled workers may lead to a host of problems that may lead to collapse. Invest in trained professionals to give you a long lasting structure, so pay now and reap later.

  1. Wrong Building Use

There are instances the building is used for purposes beyond the original intention. For instance, if the local shopping complex in the scenario above was originally designed to be a three bedroom family bungalow, and subsequently changed to a three story commercial building housing various businesses such as  beauty salons, hardware stores and a nightclub, collapse was bound to happen, as the building was carrying  a load beyond its original capacity.

  1. Substandard and Counterfeit Building Materials

Substandard and counterfeit materials are the bane of any structure’s existence. The market is full of building materials of different levels of quality, and sometimes it may take a trained eye to spot the difference between original and counterfeit products (See note #3). However, many choose to purchase substandard materials in order to shave building costs, and that saved cost today may lead to a collapsed building in the future. Be wise and buy high quality building materials.

  1. Failure to Enforce Building Regulations

A major problem in the construction sector is that the lack of proper regulation. Some builders erect substandard buildings without proper approval, and where approval is obtained, deviate from the previously approved plan.

Government bodies, stakeholders, building and construction professionals have a huge responsibility to regulate the industry by enforcing building codes and regulations, conducting building and soil strength tests, sealing off buildings that are not built according to plan, and cracking down on unqualified construction professionals. This step will improve and regulate the building and construction sector, and lower the rate of building collapses.


Building a house takes time, money, effort. However, failure to do things the right way may lead to the misfortune of any builder- cleaning up the ruins of a house he has taken time, treasure and talent to build. In the light of this, it is important to take the above steps into consideration in order to build structures that are long lasting and do not pose risks to the things and people sheltered within them.


Overcoming the housing challenge through housing cooperatives

Housing problems in Nigeria are multi-dimensional. They occur both in the urban and rural areas. They are qualitative, quantitative, psychological and socio-cultural in nature. These problems are consequences of the inability and ineffectiveness of both the public and private sectors to meet the housing needs of the populace. As a result of this, any lasting solution to the Nigerian housing problem requires a multi- faceted approach.

Housing cooperatives emerged as a response to the desperate housing conditions of the working class particularly the middle income earners. In order to give hope to many working Nigerians who desire to own their homes, housing cooperatives were established, with the aim of providing adequate and affordable housing to Nigerians.

The operation of co-operative societies was first regulated by the coming into being of the co-operative societies ordinance of 1935. But even before the above stated period, there were successful attempts by indigenous groups at the traditionally styled co-operative societies commonly known as “Isusu”. The success of co-operative in Nigeria is such that, by 1965 there were about 5, 500 co-operative societies with a total of 358,000 members.

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Housing cooperatives are mutually owned and controlled by a group of members, pooling resources and lowering individual costs of all services related to the provision of housing.Housing co-operative society links co-operative members to financial institutions. Banks, government and other institution find it easier to deal with group interested in housing development instead of individual basis.

The housing co-operative society scrutinizes individual members’ credit wordiness for housing loans, negotiates better terms for loans and undertakes to generate such housing loans. Supervises or monitors the use of the housing loans/credit to avoid diversion, mismanagement or misapplication etc. in most cases, the problem is checked through the provision of building materials in kind to members by their housing co-operative society.

The co-operative may cover financing of the project by group contribution actual participation. The government or any institution may provide finances and materials, while the individual member of the co-operative society will provide the labour. To further assist in the smooth operation of co- operatives, specialized banks have long been established across the country to cater for their banking needs.

Housing cooperatives are increasingly relevant as a housing strategy for the urban poor in Africa. In Egypt, for example, cooperatives were established already at the beginning of the 20th Century, as part of the anti-colonial struggle. Housing cooperatives emerged as a result of individual initiatives with some State support in 1930. State support significantly increased from the 1970s on wards, when housing cooperatives also became part of a slum eradication strategy. Today, Egypt counts 2,320 housing cooperative societies accounting for half million dwelling units.

In Kenya, housing co-operatives were introduced in the 1980s. Although limited and under the control of the government, the National Cooperative Housing Union (NACHU) was established by the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU). Nevertheless, it managed to create partnership and be financially supported by international organizations allowing it to provide technical assistance and micro-finance loans for the development of lower income housing.

In many developed countries, housing cooperatives have been important driving forces in the promotion of a sustainable, socially inclusive, and equitable urban development; they are no longer only providers of affordable dwellings but also influential civil society actors playing an important role in defining how neighbourhoods and cities should look like and what they should offer to their citizens. In these countries, they are recognized as a viable strategy through which decent and affordable housing can be ensured to different categories of people.

If housing cooperatives are explored to the maximum in Nigeria, they have the potential to foster social cohesion and well-being by engaging in community initiatives and projects and contribute to enhance their members’ personal skills and confidence as they deal with administrative issues, finances, building, and maintenance.

To fulfill this role, however, housing cooperatives require strong civil society organisations, enabling policies, and support from the three-tiers of government, in the areas of tax exemptions, subsidized loans and grants, access to affordable land for example through partnerships with local and state  governments.

If these conditions are fulfilled, housing cooperatives can play an important and innovative role to overcome the Nigeria housing crisis, which finds its expression in approximately 17 million people currently lacking adequate housing or living in slums.

SOURCE: Affa Dickson Acho

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