Infrastructure: Experts Urge Efficient Facility Management System

Experts in the built environment have advocated for efficient facility management system as a means of sustaining national infrastructure across the country. Speaking to Housing News in Abuja, vice chairman of Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Bldr.

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Samson Opaluwah noted that the cycle of failure of national infrastructure and facilities soon after commissioning could only be prevented by introducing efficient facility management system. He pointed out that the days of relying solely on maintenance management is over adding that part of the indices of measuring people’s civilization are their regeneration and sustainability profile. Opaluwah wondered how Nigeria could break away from underdevelopment when the leadership failed to focus on sustainable developments. He said though the proceeds from the sales of oil were largely invested on infrastructure that Nigerians are yet to reap commensurate returns given the absence of efficient management plans even as he called for an urgent action to reverse what he described as ‘ugly trend’.

“The world has moved on and we need multidisciplinary competency to stay afloat and be relevant because some professions will soon be lost to information technology as their expertise can be obtained by the click of a bottom. Let’s arise and jumpstart our development by acquiring current technologies and move on”, he added. The vice chairman enjoined professionals to adapt to the realities of the changing world and new technologies adding that they should not stick to 1970s technology and ideas in today’s emerging world without enrolling for fresh training. While noting that the built environment industries are the bane of national development, he maintained that the failure of other sectors could be traced to the improper structuring of the built environment components.

On his part, the managing director of Justin Okpu & Co limited, a facility management company, Prince Justin Okpu lamented that governments have often reduced the capacity and capability of growing the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP’s) through improper management and maintenance of private and public infrastructure. He called for urgent management of national infrastructure and the need to end serial abandoned projects adding that the role of facility managers are crucial just like other members of the construction team.

Okpu debunked claims that facility management is same with property management adding that it’s a multi-disciplinary profession needed to sustain developmental efforts since the world is changing rapidly.

He said that the unnecessary bickering between facility managers and estate surveyors and valuers was irrelevant, advocating for stronger collaboration between the two professional bodies so as to sustain infrastructure in line with current economic realities. Explaining further the role of facility management, Okpu hinted that it entails managing the built environment by making it conducive and safe for people and its equipments.

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“Becoming a core facility manager requires compliant with eleven competencies in skill sets and ability such as communication; emergency fitness with business continuity; environmental stewardship/sustainability; finance & business skill; human resource factor; leadership & strategy, operations & maintenance; project management; control; real estate & property management and technology”, he said. The facility expert stated that possessing such competencies is equivalent to possessing eleven certification which is a testimony of the huge task performed in facility management.

All Abuja taxis must be air-conditioned by October — FCTA

The Transport Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has released more guidelines for passenger service (commercial) vehicles, operating within the FCT.

Kayode Opeifa, the Transport Secretary of FCTA, stated this in Abuja on Monday after a meeting with all the Licensed Taxi Operators.

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According to him, all passenger service (commercial) vehicles such as High Capacity Buses, Mini/Mid Buses, Taxis, Tricycles and Motorcycles must carry red number plates.

“All passenger service (commercial) vehicles must be registered in Abuja and must carry FCT number plate with effect from Oct. 1, 2018.

“All Taxis operating within the FCT must be air-conditioned on or before Oct. 1, 2018.

“All passenger service (commercial) vehicles must carry two (2) valid certificate of road-worthiness from FCT Computerised Roadworthy Test Centre issued in the last 9 months,’’ he said.

Mr. Opeifa said that drivers of all passenger service (commercial) vehicles must be in possession of a valid driver’s licence and must be certified by the secretariat in line with relevant FCT Regulations.

He added that owners of the Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV) must show evidence of tax payment in the FCT.

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He noted that all Taxis with Operators’ Licence were allowed to operate in any part of the FCT, including all estates, hotels and government establishments.

“The Taxis with Operator’s Licence are allowed to pick and drop off the road when properly parked and not willingly obstructing traffic within existing traffic regulation.

“Tricycles are to operate only at the designated routes as approved and assigned to the particular operator by the transportation secretariat.

“Tricycles and Motorcycles are to be operated only by riders with valid FCTA issued Riders Card,’’ he said.

He said that all commercial vehicles including High Capacity Buses, Mini/Mid Buses, Taxis, Tricycles and Motorcycles are advised to visit the nearest Department of Road Traffic Service (DRTS) office for necessary Documentation and Certification.

The Secretary warned that henceforth, issuance of Operator’s Licence would be suspended till further notice.

According to him, also, existing operators are not to admit/register any new commercial vehicle into their fleet.

“All currently registered corporate operators are to provide the Secretariat with a list of all vehicles operating under its corporate name on or before Friday, April 13, 2018 for ease of administration, road-worthiness, inspection, safety and security purposes’’ he directed.

FCTA threatens revocation of residential plots converted to clubs, others

The FCT Administration has called on operators of night clubs within residential areas in the city of Abuja to stop their activities or face revocation of their plots.
The administration said it may be forced to carry out this action because their operations have become a nuisance to the city.

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The Coodinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, Umar Shuaibu, while briefing journalists in Abuja at the weekend said, AMMC through its various departments was taking steps to address the various issues of noise pollution from lounges/night clubs as well as places of worship located within the residential areas as they were in contravention of the extant statutes and city regulations.


The coordinator added that the council has observed the increased trend of conversion of residential buildings to lounges and night clubs and on that note taken several steps to address the situation.
He said the implications were beyond noise pollution but also negative social influence on youths in areas where these lounges are located.


“On the instruction of the minister, the permanent secretary convened a meeting with some of the night club operators in Abuja who were enlightened on how the lounge/ night club activities amount to contravention of the city’s master plan, and the need to revert the use of the premises to the designated residential use as stipulated in the city’s master plan. He also gave timeframe of 30 days to the operators,” he said.

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Shuaibu further stated that according to clause 10 in the condition of Certificate of Occupancy, “a developer is not to erect or build or permit to be built on the said land building other than those permitted to be erected by virtue of the certificate of occupancy. With that, a developer is not to use the said land except for a purpose for which the space is allocated.”

FCTA Bans Night Clubs In Residential Areas

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has banned operation of night clubs within residential area within the nation’s capital, even as it has set up mobile court to prosecute offenders.

Umar Shuiabu, Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), made this known while briefing journalists in Abuja on Sunday.

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Shuiabu said that FCT Administration had to take this action due to persistent non-compliance with regulated noise levels by operators of night clubs within residential layouts.

He however stated that religious bodies, churches and mosques, were also included in this category of noise polluters, and they are to face demolition or prosecution.

He further stated that the Council was inundated with complaints from FCT residents over noise pollution, which disturbs their relaxation and sleep, especially at late night hours.


This, he said, prompted the closure of all night clubs within layouts meant for residence, warning that failure to do so would attract relevant sanctions including demolition of such illegal developments and prosecution.

“The Council has observed the increasing trend of conversion of residential buildings to lounge/night clubs and has taken several steps to address the situation. This is in recognition of the fact that the implications are beyond noise nuisance, and also include intractable traffic challenges within the precinct, and negative social influence on the psyche of youth resident in the area where these lounges are located,” he stated.

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He added that the FCTA Department of Development Control in order to deter the trend demolished a number of night clubs in the city, including De Point Lounge, hitherto located along Lungi Crescent and on Kampala Street, Cadastrat Zone A08, Wuse II district.

Shuiab added, “In order to ensure an inclusionary governance process” in managing the city, convened a meeting with majority of night club operators and owners, where the FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir. Christian Ohaa informed them that their activities were a contravention of the Abuja Master Plan, with a view to having them revert to original use as stipulated in the master plan within 30 days.”

He further buttressed that the Clause 10 in the condition of Certificate of Occupancy, a developer is not to erect or build or permit to be erected or built on the said land building other than those permitted to be erected by virtue of the certificate of occupancy nor to make or permit to be made any addition or alteration to the said building to erected or buildings already erected on the land except in accordance with plans and specifications approved by the President or the other officer appointed by the President on his behalf, in this case the Minister of FCT.

“Also a developer is not to use the said land except for the purpose for which the space is allocated,” he said.


He reaffirmed the determination of the council to be alive to its duties, adding that the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) had been mandated to “ensure strict compliance to the city regulations, serve abatement notice and shall very soon constitute mobile court to prosecute offenders where necessary.”

Dangote hailed over longest concrete road project in Nigeria

As Nigeria’s longest rigid pavement road project inches closer to completion, motorists travelling from Northern part to the South have said the road has started supporting vehicular movements across the regions. The Obajana – Kabba road in Kogi State is said to be the longest concrete road project in Nigeria. It is one of the country’s roads linking the North and the South.

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A notable businessman from the North, Mr. Ibrahim Dantsoho, 40, as well as other motorists commended the president of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, and described the project as a big relief, saying it had already eased travelling and connectivity across the regions.

Managing Director of AG-Dangote Construction Company Mr. Ashif Juma said the project would be completed as planned and that Nigerians would yearn for more of such roads when they see the difference with bituminous roads. Mr. Juma said so far 33km earthwork and 22km concrete pavement had been accomplished, noting that every care was being taken to ensure that Nigeria had a most durable road in Nigeria. He assured: “We will deliver the project by December this year. All hands are on deck” He urged ‘’Nigerian governments at all levels to switch over to construction of concrete roads instead of asphalt as it is far superior, durable and cheaper, and does not require frequent maintenance.’’ A human rights activist and consultant, Mr. Abdullahi Umar, 55, who travels through Okene in Kogi State said he now use the Obajana-Kabba road.

He called on other companies to emulate the Dangote Group. A statement from the Corporate Communications Department of the Dangote Group said: “Concrete road last longer than asphalt roads and do not have potholes. It does not require frequent maintenance as asphalt roads. It saves fuel for motorists and protects tyres from wear and tear.

‘’It is part of the Group’s determination to support government and Nigerians to grow the economy and facilitate ease of doing business.’’ It added that the Obajana-Kabba rigid pavement road project is part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) of the Dangote Group Plc.

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Worried by the huge sum of money used in road repairs, President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote had said plans were afoot to revolutionize Nigerian roads with concrete, stressing that resources used in road repairs and maintenance would be channeled to other more important needs of the nation.

“We are going to be building concrete roads in the country so that anytime we build a road, we do not have to go back to repair after the third raining season, but move on and use the resources to address other pressing needs of Nigeria,” Mr. Dangote said. It would be recalled that as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS), the Dangote Group had earlier commissioned the 26 km Itori-Ibese Concrete Road. At the commissioning, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, had noted that the stride by the Dangote Group demonstrated the unwavering commitments of an indigenous investor towards the industrialization of Nigeria.

Legal framework delays new building code implementation

Six months after the Federal Executive Council approved the revised National Building Code (NBC) that specified standards for the construction industry, implementation of the law is being marred by the inability to back the document with a legal framework that would aid its enforcement.

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Formally launched in 2006, the NBC is a document that was evolved just in time to proffer a lasting solution to the persistence hazardous trend in the building industry in some part of the country. This includes incessant collapse of buildings, building infernos and other built environment abuses and disasters.

These disasters come about from lack of plan of our towns and cities, use of non-professionals, insufficient referenced design standards, use of untested products and materials; so called substandard materials, and lack of adequate regulations and sanctions against offenders. The guideline, passed by the National Assembly NASS, was to be reviewed after three years.

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Specifically, under the new code, which was earlier approved by the National Council on Housing, Land and Urban Development has the headship of the building code enforcement division limited to registered architects, builders, structural, mechanical or electrical engineers, unlike in the old code, when it was open to all the registered professionals.

Also, the government, after the new wave of flooding experienced in some parts of the country, provided some specifications and guidelines to ensure safety of residents. Other issues taking into consideration include the endemic and improper housing maintenance as well as unhealthy construction practices which impact negatively on eco-balance and eco-friendliness.

Similarly, some facilities like foam plastic insulation, garage (private), gas cabinet, gas room that were not specified in the old code are well spelt out to be chiefly considered by the inspection team, who are now empowered to determine if any material or its chemical components are hazardous, thereby preventing its usage. Temporary structure, which was pegged at 60 days, is now being extended to 180 days.

The Guardian learnt that the delay has been as a result of the promoters trying to back the document with a legislation, which will make the document enforceable, especially ensuring state governments lead the drive to institutionalise it through adaptation, legislation and enforcement.

The plan is to ensure that the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA will adapt and adopt code, as a regulatory tool in their spheres of influence, and enacted by their respective legislatures, as part of their jurisdictional code.

The Second Vice President, Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Mr. Enyi Ben-Eboh said that it is necessary to come up with legal backing to the document to ensure its enforcement. According to him, when there is no law, there would not be punishment for offenders.

He explained that physical planning and development control are vested on state governments; it becomes mandatory for the state authorities to adapt and domesticate the NBC. “If it is not domesticated, it is not enforceable.”

A town planner and former President, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), Moses Ogunleye said that “there is the issue by some other stakeholders, including professional bodies that the document should be passed and signed as a law. The process of this has not been concluded.

“This may be part of the delay. But to me, the National Building Code need not be made a law before it can be implemented. A code is like a standard. It is a recommendation for best practice. Normally, it is a technical document on how building material, construction/ methodology and process are applied for the purpose of ensuring quality, safety and health. What each state should do is to prepare their own sub-codes to regulate building construction, “ he said.

The Chairman, National Building Code Advisory Committee, Jimoh Faworaja, an architect, had said that the consequences of an ineffective and non-operational national building code in social and economic terms are so monumental for any sane society to ignore.

His words: “The review has therefore addressed lapses noticed in the first edition with structural re-alignment and in-depth additional inputs to adequately take care of our peculiar national challenges as they relate to the built environment.”

Faworaja called for a collective effort to ensure the implementation of this document as a way of arresting the national embarrassment occasioned by the increasing cases of the built environment failures and the near dominance and takeover of the industry by quacks.

It will be recalled that in 1987, the Defunct National Council of Works and Housing directed that a National Building Code be evolved for Nigeria. All the stakeholders in the Building Industry were duly contacted for input.

Thereafter the defunct Federal Ministry of Works and Housing organised a National workshop at ASCON, Badagry – Lagos State in 1989. To further fine tune the Draft National Building Code, another workshop was held at the Gateway Hotel, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State in 1990. The product of the Ijebu-Ode Code was approved by the then National Council on Housing in 1991.

Unfortunately this document was not ratified by the then Federal Executive Council for use in the Country. The 1991 approved document was re-presented to the second National Council on Housing and Urban Development held in Port-Harcourt, November, 2005 and the Council directed that the document be widely circulated to all stakeholders for input to facilitate the production of an acceptable National Building Code.

The code was reviewed after professionals pointed out grey areas as it is based essentially on foreign codes – some of which may not have direct relevance to our environment, another salient objective of the exercise is to encourage professionals in the building industry to produce the most appropriate Code suited to our environment for subsequent use and application.

The new document is expected to open a new vista in the building industry and eliminated or reduced to the barest minimum the incidents of collapsed building in Nigeria; promote safety and qualitative housing for every Nigerian.

Besides, the main objectives is that every tier of government, (federal, state and local) must imbibe the spirit and intent of this Code. To this end, State Governments are implored to integrate the provisions of this Code into their local laws particularly those relating to Design, Construction and Maintenance (Post Construction) and efficiently monitor the implementation of the Code.

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam

One person feared dead as explosion destroys storey building in Ife

THERE was pandemonium in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, on Saturday night when an explosion destroyed a storey building, forcing residents near the scene of the incident scampered to safety, Housing News reliably gathered.

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Credible sources informed our correspondent that the incident which caused apprehension occurred around Moore area of the historic town at about 11.05 pm as most residents in the affected neighbourhood had already gone to bed.

Though details surrounding the cause of the explosion were still sketchy as of the time of filing this report, findings indicated that the blast might have been precipitated by an improvised explosive device, where one person was reportedly feared dead.

Eyewitnesses further hinted a pharmaceutical firm, identified as Ebenco Pharmacy was located inside the building destroyed by the explosion.

One of the sources, who pleaded anonymity disclosed that an unidentified man, who was critically injured at the back of the building was subsequently rushed to the Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife, where he later died early Sunday morning.


The explosion brought down the building and also damaged adjoining structures in the area, while two policemen were spotted at the scene of the incident.

Reacting to the incident during a chat with journalists in Ile-Ife, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi said there was a dispute over the building by the family members of the deceased owner, assuring that elders of Ife at the community level would intervene over the matter.

CBN Governor deploys new deputy governors

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele has assigned duties to the newly appointed Deputy Governors who assumed duty on March 28.

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The acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Isaac Okoroafor, in a statement on Sunday said Aishah Ahmad was deployed to the Financial System Stability, FSS, Directorate, while Edward Adamu was assigned to Corporate Services.


Mr Emefiele also approved the deployment of Okwu Nnanna from the Financial System Stability, FSS Directorate to the Economic Policy Directorate.


“Mr Adebayo Adelabu, however, retains his portfolio as Deputy Governor, Operations Directorate,” Mr Okoroafor said.
According to Mr Okoroafor, the affected principal officers have since assumed duty in their new duties.

Government’s social investments programmes is touching lives, says Presidency

The Presidency, yesterday, dismissed a report quoting Senator Danjuma Goje as suggesting that a sum of N1.5trillion has so far been released for the administration’s National Social Investment Programme (SIP).
Goje was reported as saying that by the end of three years, the programme would have handled an unprecedented sum of $1.5trillion, adding: “I am yet to see one boy who came to tell me that he has benefited from your N500 billion.”

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But the Presidency, in a statement by the media aide to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, said: “First, we would like to hope that the senator was misquoted. However, were it to be true that he made such wild claims, it would be unfortunate.

“To restate the facts, while indeed we have budgeted a total of N500B for the 2016 and 2017 budgets each, including the N100billion for the Family Housing Fund in the 2017 budget, only a total of N175billion has so far been released since the commencement of the programme.

“It is incredible that the senator will insinuate otherwise. If actually he was accurately reported, we would say he ought to have requested for the information, instead of misleading an entire nation with such an incredible claim.

“While the senator was claiming he knew no one from his state who has benefited from the SIP at a Senate Committee hearing on Thursday, his colleague from Kogi State, Atai Aidoko, requested from the Special Adviser to the President on SIP, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, for a random name of a beneficiary from his state, called the number there and then and got positive confirmation from the beneficiary.

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“That senator then formally announced the outcome of his random call to the entire senate hearing.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, there are today in this country, 200,000 previously unemployed Nigerian graduates who are receiving their N30, 000 monthly stipends as they serve their communities in different capacities, including as teaching assistants, agric extension aides or community health workers.”

Bill to Criminalise Estimated Billing System by Discos Introduced in House

James Emejo in Abuja

A bill to prohibit the issuance of estimated electricity bill to power consumers across the country has been initiated in the House of Representatives.

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Sponsored by the Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), the proposed legislation has consequential orders criminalising such billings method which many Nigerians considered as extortion – giving the electricity distribution companies (Discos) discretion to unilaterally determine the estimation of electricity bill to be paid by consumers in the event that such consumer does not have pre-paid meter.

He assured Nigerians that legislators irrespective of party affiliation, would push through the masses-oriented bill until it is signed into law.

Gbajabiamila added that it would permanently address complaints by constituents across the country who have argued that the unfavorable technical manipulation of the reading pattern of existing pre-paid meters led to incommensurate calculation of purchased electricity credit and electricity consumed by customers.

Essentially, the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (amendments bill) which had been read on the floor of the House for the first time, would be further debated by the House upon resumption from the Easter recess.

According a press statement issued by the media aide to the House Leader, Mr. Olanrewaju Smart, the bill became necessary following several complaints from constituents across the country who felt that policy adjustments by the executive cannot arrest the highhandedness of the electricity companies but instead called on lawmakers to use full weight of the law to address the problem.

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As a result, the Principal Act is amended by creating new sections 68 to 72 as follows to allow that estimated billing methodology is hereby prohibited in Nigeria.

It stated that every electricity consumer in Nigeria shall apply to the Electricity Distribution Company carrying out business within his jurisdiction for a pre-paid meter and such consumer shall pay the regulated fee for pre-paid meter to be installed in his premises and the Electricity Distribution Company shall within 30 days of receiving the application and payment install the pre-paid meter applied for in the premises of the consumer.

Further subsection of the new Section 68 empowers electricity consumers to ignore paying estimated bill and also exempts from electricity disconnection in the event that no pre-paid meter was issued to them by their power distribution company within 30 days.

The bill stated: “If a customer is not metered within 30 days after application has been duly made, the relevant electricity distribution company is prohibited from refusing to connect the customer or disconnect the customer in the event that the customer has been connected or estimate his bills.”

Also, the newly introduced Section 69 of the 2018 Electric Power Sector Reform Act (amendments bill) is poised to address the alleged technical manipulation of the reading pattern of the existing pre-paid meters and unknown tariff methodology.

It noted: “Upon connection, the Electricity Distribution Company serving the Consumer must inform the customer in writing on the nature of the meter installed, tariff methodology and all other services available to the customer.”

 

The bill further recommends imprisonment of six months for officials of relevant electricity distribution company found guilty of illegal disconnection, refusal of the disco to connect a customer after application, un-metering within 30 days of a customer applying for a pre-paid meter and issuance will of estimated billing.

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