COREN advocates reintroduction of weighbridges on highways to check overloading

The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) has urged the Federal Government to reintroduce weigh bridges on highways to reduce overloading of trucks in the country.

Mr Kashim Ali, the President of COREN, who made the call on Monday in an interview with the Housing News  in Abuja, said that overloading was responsible for the destruction of most of our roads.

Ali said that the roads in the country were designed according to the axle load expected but expressed dismay over a default in the recommended loads on Nigerian roads.

“Way back even in the 60s when the roads were not well developed, we had weighbridges, what happen to them?

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“I am aware in the Ministry of Works that they commenced the procurement process for weighbridges many years ago and they have not completed the process, why?

“Those are the questions they need to answer, why have they not shown sufficient interest in putting weigh bridges on important roads?” he asked.

Ali said the roads in the country were built according to the expected highest axle load to be on it.

“Overloading is a big problem when you design a road; you design it based on the expected loading.
“In a road structure, you have expectations, what is the highest axle loading that you expect on that highway? So, you design to accommodate the highest.

“So, when the highest changes and the road have not been redesigned, the problem will come,” he added.

According to him, I was at a conference in Ghana many years ago and we were told about some vehicles that were brought into Ghana.

He said the 40 tonnes axle load vehicles that were denied a license in Ghana found their ways into Nigeria and were licensed.

Ali said most of the vehicles that carry goods through Nigerian roads from the ports to Chad or Niger were usually weighed at the border.

“If there is excess load, they must dislodge, they cannot enter Niger or Chad with excess load but anything goes here.

“We should commend the quality of work on our roads, for them not to have collapsed in a manner that we will really reflect on the kind of abuses that come on them,” he said.

Experts call for construction industry development board

Glimmer of hope is beaconing towards solving problems confronting the nation’s built environment as professionals in the sector have entered into strategic move to address the problem.One of the rewards of such move was the call for the establishment of Nigerian Construction Industry Development Board (cibd), which they said would be saddled with the roles of; formulating, implementing, regulating policies and initiatives that will speed up development processes especially in infrastructure across the country.

Before now, the construction sector has been bedeviled with challenges like, absence of construction firms in the stock exchange and international market, dominance of expatriate firms, lack of executive and financial capacity, reluctance of both public and private clients to pay fees for consultancy services.Others are; prolonged delay in projects delivery, high- overrun cost, high accident and injury rates and sub-standard or poor quality of works, dearth of local skilled labour, poor inflow of private sector funds, high level of corruption, payment insecurity, among others.

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To address these challenges and with the exposé that infrastructure development is the basic facilities, equipment, and installations required for the growth of a society, professionals in the industry converged in lagos to sensitise their folds on the desirability of the CIDB for nigeria at this critical moment of infrastructural deficits. the gathering was converged by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS).
The professionals include the presidents of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), commonwealth association of surveying and land economy, and heads of regulatory bodies in the housing sector

Leading discussion on the issue, a former Head of Department of Building, University of Lagos, Prof. Godwin Idoro posited that the proposed CIDB is an agency, which serves as a platform for promoting the growth and development of the construction industry, and reposition it for improved performance to enhance its contribution to the economic growth and development of particular nations. he said the board would spearhead the development of capacity, capability and quality of output as well as domestic and international competitiveness of the construction industry.

According to him, the establishment of CIDB has been one of the key recommendations of several research works on the nature and prospects of the construction industries of developing countries stressing that some developing countries like; Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, India, Malaysia, Singapore and others have embraced the concept with attendant pay-offs especially in the realisation of their national goals.

Speaking on the drivers of  CIDB in a paper entitled; “the need for the establishment of the Nigerian construction industry development board”, he said it can be a government agency which works with and draw guidance and support from a coalition of public and private sector organisations, all service providers in the construction industry, and all arms of government.

It can also be a private sector driven agency comprising all stakeholders which collaborates with all arms of government. the focus of CIDB is all projects or facilities, resources and activities in both public and private sectors that are related to construction. it is thus, an omnibus body to promote the growth and development of construction practices, processes, projects, facilities and entities”, he stated.

He proposed that the board should include; one representative from each of the regulatory bodies in the industry, one representative from each of the professional bodies, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministries connected with works, lands and housing, one representative from each geopolitical zones of the country, the Green Building Council of Nigeria, the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, the construction industry local content board and universities offering construction related programmes among others.

“The board would train for capacity building, monitor economic activities within the industry, consult with all organs of states to identify construction budgets and their application, assess impact of public expenditure on the industry and advise government accordingly, promote export of construction of goods and services, collect statistics from contractors, suppliers, manufacturers and service providers in the industry on their activities and performance such as labour cost, growth rates, units costs, size and volume of projects subjects to nbs law as well as publish periodic reports on the state of the construction industry and others”.

Prof. Idoro however, noted that to achieve the vision, all the professionals and parties couldn’t afford to operate in isolation, as effective delivery of a construction project is the joint efforts of all the professions represented to bring about collaborative or cooperative professionalism in the nigerian construction industry.

The convener of the gathering and NIQS president, Obafemi Onashile explained that the vision when realized would eliminate intra and inter-rivalry and conflicts within each profession, review and improve on the current performance of the industry by collectively focusing and come up with solutions to the urgent problems of; health and safety, housing deficit, shortage of artisans, non-payments of works, and environmental issues.

According to him, cidb would strategically engage the government by speaking with a single but collective voice to the government through policy statements, budget advice and programme monitoring. he further stated that it will engender industry-wide self discipline and self regulation in promoting professionalism, promote successful succession by taking interest in training and growing future leaders for the sector at very early ages, revitalise industrial training fund to pay training institution, establish young professionals’ forum and pursue gainful employments for young entrants.
President of niesv, dr. bolarinde patunola-ajayi who applauded the initiative called for a stakeholder deliberation on the matter as way to ensure speedy take off of the initiative and dissuade those who belief that it is a difficult task.

Also contributing the president of commonwealth association of surveying and land economy; joseph ajanlekoko explained that nigeria would be a better place if the board is established. he pointed out that if the nation should have a vibrant construction industry, it would quicken the paste of development of the country.
“it will create numerous employment opportunities to nigerians and other professionals and the country will retain the giant that it should be in africa. government should play the role of a catalyst and create the enabling environment for the private sector to take it up. there should be efficiency in the setup, professionalism and competency”.

He noted that for the board to takeoff, it would require the act of the parliament particularly the passage of law on the construction industry board and once that is passed, it becomes operational and then all the professionals would come together and do the necessary structuring of the board in his address, the special guest of honour at the occasion, retired general theophilus danjuma who was conferred with the highest honourary fellow of niqs for his strategic contributions and impact in the construction industry, lamented the current high cost of construction in the country and advised that the sectors’ players must do everything possible to reduce the cost.Nse president, kunle mokuolu, in his contributions called for collaboration between the professional bodies for the purpose of exploring the abundant opportunities in the industry as well as in the establishment of cidb.

FCT DEVELOPMENT CONTROL TO DEMOLISH DIAMOND ACRES ESTATE AND OTHER ILLEGAL STRUCTURES

Illegal structures worth billions of naira are set to be pulled down by the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA) in Abuja any moment from now, Housing News reports.
The FCTA will soon resume massive demolition of illegal structures after a few weeks break.
The exercise is intended to sanitize and regain the city’s original master plan.
The types of the structures that will be affected this time include shanties and estates obstructing power transmission lines and major access road networks.
Housing News reports that the exercise has already commenced in some locations like Area 1 Garki district, Zuba interchange, Jabi motor park, Giri junction, Ungwan Saidu, a rising shanty right in the heart of Kado district and a property at Mabushi district said to belong to a former first lady.
It was gathered that areas that will be affected by the imminent demolition exercise include Peace Village, Tudun Wada and Fruit Market all in Federal Housing Lubge.
Some other shanties within the capital city including those in Kubwa, Gwarimpa, Jahi, Kado districts and even those in highbrow areas like Maitama, Asokoro, Guzape, Katampe and Jabi districts may also be pulled down.

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Some of these communities within the city centre sprung up as a result of the huge influx of people into the FCT seeking for a greener pastures.
Speaking on the matter, the Development Control Director, Malam Muktar Galadima, said that all the shanties built directly under the high tension in Tudun Wada, Peace Village, and on either side of the electricity facility will be brought down.
He added that properties that breach the legally permitted 30 metre-proximity to the high tension particularly at the Lugbe FHA Fruit Market and others would also be removed to pave way for the commencement of work by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
“The distance legally allowed from the high tension is 25 metres, plus 5 metres for contingency, which makes it 30 metres,” he said.


The Development Control boss explained that while his office had severally warned the residents, it has become imperative to quickly carry out this demolition exercise due to a request from the Federal Ministry of Power for the FCTA to clear the area for it to commence construction of a 330/132/33kV substation in Lugbe (West Main).
Galadima added that the substation was one of the major capital projects to be executed in 2018.
“By standard we have to make sure that people do not develop (build structures) within the high tension line and it is not safe for people to live there, you can imagine someone selling gas under the high tension imagine what will happen if there is disaster,” Galadima said.
Our reporter visited Tudun Wada and Peace Village and found that while the affected properties have already been marked for demolition, their owners are yet to evacuate the property.
It was learnt that modalities for payment of compensation had been completed but a cross section of the residents told our reporter they were yet to be paid.
“There is massive injustice in the compensation. For example, the owner of a house worth maybe N2.5m will be given N1m or someone whose house is worth N1m will be given N500,000 but what can we do? We cannot fight them that is why it is compensation,” an affected resident Mr. Abdul Suleiman said.
Also, FCTA officials said another massive demolition exercise planned for this year will affect illegal estates in the city.
For example, an estate named Diamond Acres also situated in Lubge was said to have breached the Abuja master plan as it is sitting right on the proposed Ring Road 4.
The Coordinator Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) Umar Shuiabu while speaking to journalists at the project site said that the estate must go.
He said that Diamond Acres Estate was sitting directly on the Ring Road 4, a major road network which could not be diverted because of the illegal project whose owner, he said, has refused to heed many development control notices served on him to stop work.
According to Shuiabu, the developer did not follow due process in obtaining necessary development control permits before embarking on the structures.
When asked why the FCTA failed to stop the said developer before the structures were erected, Shuiabu said, “The structures in that estate have been marked severally to stop work but whenever we mark it for demolition, the developer will wipe it off and continue work and now he has gotten to completion stage.”
Efforts made to reach the developer were not successful.

SOURCE: DAILY TRUST

Lagos Shutdown 20 Illegal Buildings On Lagos Island

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, have shutdown 20 illegal buildings on Lagos Island, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

The buildings were shutdown at the weekend for not having building plan approval and having no building submission before their erection.

LASBCA officials, escorted by officials of the Lagos Task Force stormed several streets on the Island and immediately swung into action by sealing the affected premises, while partial demolition was effected in some buildings.

Apart from not having building permits and submissions, most of the buildings have also broken government seals after they were previously shut, an offence that attracts a penalty of N500,000.

Most of the buildings sealed were between three and four storey buildings, with many of them erected with inferior materials.

General Manager, LASBCA, Engr. Olalekan Shodeinde said it was no longer going to be business as usual as government was determined to get rid of illegal development across the state and stem the tide of collapsed buildings.

He said in the past three weeks, the agency had begun the sealing of buildings erected illegally across the state as their owners did not obtain building permits or made any building submissions to the government for approval.

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“Before now, we have been civil in our enforcement, but the developers have remained recalcitrant by continuing in their illegal development. Most of these developers don’t have submission talk less of having permits,” he said.

Shodeinde added that whenever a building had been shutdown, the agency’s officials toke the building so that their owners would come forward to regularize their papers, as well as pay the necessary fines.
According to him, LASBCA should not be running after illegal developers if they did the right thing by obtaining their building permits and submitting other documents for approval.

“Most of these illegal developments were done at night with substandard materials being used. They don’t get the needed permit or follow due process before erecting them. The rains are coming and you can’t stop building collapse when you are not building right,’ he said.

Shodeinde called on Lagosians to report any illegal development in their domains to LASBCA for prompt action in order to avert building collapse.

However, the building shutdown are located at Freeman Street, Odunfa Street, Andrew Street, Joseph Haden Street, Kakawa Street, Olushi Street, Thomas Street, Hawley Street, Foresythe Street, Bamgbose Street, Ganiyu Street and Dumare Street.

NIQS canvasses solutions to construction problems

By Daniel Adubgo
The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) has asked professional bodies in the Construction Industry to seek industry led solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the Industry.

This was the submission of the president of the institute, QS Obafemi Onashile at the 1st Construction Industry Institutional Business Dinner organized by the institute in Lagos on recently.

Onashile said the construction industry in Nigeria faced challenges ranging from building collapse, injuries and death on construction sites, non-payment of contractors and consultants fees, high cost of construction and shortage of artisans among others.

He noted that rather than seek government led solutions, professionals should tackle the problems headlong.

The NIQS president called for an industry wide commonly agreed solutions to the problems faced by stakeholders in the industry.

“The time has come for stakeholders of the industry to come together as a matter of urgency to pursue industry-wide reforms that will enhance the operations of the industry and improve the economy of our nation,” Onashile said.

The chairman of the occasion, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) noted that Nigeria had one of the highest costs of construction in the whole world and called on professionals in the Construction Industry to find a way of cutting the costs of construction in the country.

High point of the occasion was the conferment of Honorary Fellow of NIQS on Gen. Danjuma in recognition of his promotion of Quantity Surveying and various developmental programmes of expanding local capacities for the Construction Industry.

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Notable among those who attended the dinner are, Senator (Mrs) Daisy Danjuma, former Minister of State for Power, Malam Murtala Aliyu, Presidents of Registration Boards of the professions in the Construction Industry, Presidents of the Professional Bodies and their Deputies.

Bank delays deny $50m Chinese loan for Enugu estate

The $50m project funds approved by the Chinese Credit Insurance Corporation, through the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) for the construction of HELIU Residences, Enugu is yet to be accessed, promoters of the project have said.
This is as a result of the delays said to be caused by a bank, which is supposed to provide the local guarantee for the loan.


Our correspondent gathered that out of the project sum of $50m, the Chinese Credit Insurance Corporation, SINOSURE, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will provide $42.5m or 85 per cent of the total project sum, while FIT Consult will provide the equity of 15 per cent or $7.5m.
The Managing Partner of FIT Consult – the Nigerian Developer constructing the HELIU Residences project in partnership with the Enugu State government, Chief Loretta Aniagolu told newsmen October last year that a Chinese firm, the China Shenyang Internationale Economic and Technical Cooperation Corporation Limited (CSYIC China) has been working with FIT Consult since 2016 to construct the four bedroom duplexes and a number of the ancillary support buildings and services within the estate.
But to date, it is not quite clear when FIT Consult would access the loan for the construction of the project, Aniagolu said expressing surprise over the development,

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“We are currently experiencing delays from bank; and we’re not sure what’s going on, particularly, after we had structured the loan to ensure adequate buffers within exchange rate fluctuations,” she said.
“However, we continue to advance aggressively with our own funds and deposits from property buyers, as you can see from the tremendous amount of work that has been achieved and is going on,” she told Daily Trust in Enugu.
Our correspondent visited the project site covering about 1.2 million square metres containing about 20 kilometres of road network.
It was observed that 70 bungalows have been completed while massive construction work was on-going with heavy-duty trucks loading and off-loading electric poles, and earth-moving machines excavating for the water supply.

Nigeria: What The Numbers Say About Her Journey Towards Sustainable Housing Provision

Author ~ Ebuka Onunaiwu
As a social scientist, numbers mean a lot to me, whether these numbers are used to explain trends in the health sector, financial or economic performance, surplus or deficit in infrastructure, sporting analysis, or perhaps behavioral patterns of a specific population, I take numbers seriously and I know that the leaders of our country Nigeria pay similar, if not more attention to numbers, when it relates to oil and politics. However, I strongly believe that it is high time Nigeria paid the needed attention to the troubling numbers in the housing sector. In this article my aim is to quickly shed light on some key figures in Nigeria’s housing sector.

“They say numbers are beautiful, but those of Nigeria’s housing sector are not”, what then does the numbers say about housing in Nigeria?

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Nigeria, a country with a population of about 180 million people, has a housing deficit of 17million, and according to the World Bank, at least 59.50 trillion naira will be needed to bridge this deficit. For the records the needed amount is over 7 times the total national budget of Nigeria. If you over-exaggerate the provision housing units at about 500,000 per year, it would take 34 years to bridge the gap created by the deficit and this is without considering the population growth rate.

Mortgage financing has been an effective tool used in tackling the housing problem in many countries, but Nigeria has not been able to utilise this tool. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Real Estate contribution to the Gross Domestic Product was about 7.73 percent in 2012. Of this figure, the mortgage loans and advances contributed 0.5 percent. This minimal contribution by mortgage loans is as a result of the high interest rate between 11 – 29 percent demanded by Mortgage Banks and commercial banks. Even at this high interest rate, many commercial banks demand a down payment of 25 percent of the mortgage value and the repayment period for the mortgage is usually between 10 – 20 years. Also, the housing units built for the poor in Nigeria cost between 5 -20 million naira, which is not affordable to poor people in Nigeria. The case is the same with rented apartments in Nigeria. Families pay through their noses to live in decent apartments in urban areas. Anything lesser than the usual high end rents will mean living in suburbs or city outskirts.

There is also a problem of high cost of land registration and titling. There are about 21 procedures to register and process land titling in Nigeria and the entire process of transfer could last 274 days. This speaks volume of the nature of Nigeria’s land tenure system as well as the ease of doing business in the country.

Political stability is another limiting factor in the housing sector. In 33 years, that is between 1981 – 2014, the country had 5 different National Housing Policy documents. Administration after administration, the National Housing Policy has been reviewed or reproduced, and this has not been to the advantage of the sector. On the contrary it has inhibited growth in the sector and has scared away investors.

However, the case is not all gloomy, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. In 2017, the Federal Government of Nigeria revealed that the sum of N1 trillion would be committed to construction of housing accommodation in the country. The allocated sum will be used to provide 2.5 million housing units. Also, the Society of Real Estate Developers of Nigeria, has committed to assisting the Federal Government in tackling the housing deficit in the country by constructing and delivering 10,000 housing units for each of the 37 states in Nigeria including the FCT. These promises to be somewhat far-reaching if indeed they are actioned. But until the project kicks off they remain mere promises.

Indeed, the numbers predict a bleak future but like I earlier said, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. In about two weeks from now, I will release the second part of this article which will focus of how other countries have gotten it right with regards to housing, this would then be followed by a third edition that would detail possible sustainable solution to the housing problem in Nigeria. See you in two weeks’ time.

How Nigeria Can Address its Housing Crisis

Author ~ Ebuka Onunaiwu
Housing is a bundle of joy. Renters and homeless go through moments of stress, distress and uncertainties – Professor Tunde Agbola, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Ibadan.

In the two preceding editions of this series on Nigeria’s journey towards sustainable housing provision, we analysed the state of housing in Nigeria in edition I and compared what is obtainable with regards to housing in a highly populated country like China in edition II. In this third and final edition the emphasis is on proposing feasible solutions to bridge the housing deficit and forestall the nation’s housing crisis.

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What We Need
A review of how various countries such as Finland, China, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, have managed the housing demands in their countries has shown that in these areas, housing is largely a social service; and that the most successful countries in managing housing are those that have embraced “social housing”. Hence, I would join voices with scholars like Professor Gbenga Nubi of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos and Prof. Tunde Agbola, to attest that social housing is the antidote to Nigeria’s housing crisis.

Social housing in simple terms refers to housing owned and managed by the state, non-profit organisations or a combination of both, usually with the aim of providing affordable housing. Social housing is usually directed towards low income earners, it focuses on social service delivery and is not motivated by profit-maximiszation. The aim of social housing is to ensure that housing, which is a basic need, is sufficiently provided for all especially those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. You may read ‘social housing in Nigeria’ by Wole Aboderin, who extensively addressed the subject matter.

The first attribute needed to solve any housing crisis issue is strong political will. This is the starting point and the root of any housing drive but has been lacking in Nigeria’s housing sector. Beyond the formulation of new policies to guide the activities of the sector, the decision makers in the sector must determine in earnest that the sector needs radical changes. What is currently needed is the kind of political will that saw to the building of mass housing estates by the Jakande-led administration in Lagos State, Nigeria, in the space of approximately 5 years. The kind of political will that has enabled Finland stand out among other European nations in bringing solution to homelessness using the Housing First strategy.

The Process
There are three critical aspects of a social housing strategy such as the implementation, funding and the models for the housing units. Implementation of social housing for other nations has been driven mainly by partnership between government and organisations from the not-for-profits, private sector and those in the academia to drive research. To solve Nigeria’s housing crisis, there is need to bring together the best brains in the sector, who are willing to work towards the long-term achievement of success in the sector. This has been so in many other regions. For instance: Y-Foundation an NGO with over 16,000 apartments, is a prominent partner in Finland; and Volunteers of America is an active housing partner in the State of Utah, US. In Nigeria, we have credible resource persons like Profs. Nubi and Agbola, another notable resource person is Prof. Fabienne Hoelzel, co-founder of Fabulous Urban, the organisation that developed the Makoko-Iwaya Regeneration Plan. We can bring onboard Chinwe Ohajuruka, whose affordable housing model is used as a case study in the latter part of this article; and, Bolaji Agunbiade, another sustainable building solutions provider whose interview is found in the latter part of this article as well. As it is in every other sector, Nigeria does not suffer from a dearth of human capital in the housing sector.

As one of the basic needs of humans, the housing sector should be funded as much as other critical sectors like education and health. The funding of any social housing scheme is usually a cooperative work, mainly by the government at all levels in collaboration with private sector, not-for-profits and individuals. This would involve increasing the annual allocation to the housing sector, and setting up of a functional housing financing department/scheme. In Finland’s Housing First scheme, the government provides grants for housing advice services (a maximum of 35 percent of the costs). Another adoptable funding model can be seen in China’s housing fund.

In a way, this Fund works like the Nigerian pension fund in which employees and employers co-contribute to a pension account. A part of the Housing Fund, included a savings plan initiated by the government in which employees are given the option to contribute a portion of their monthly wages and have it matched by their employer to assist them with buying a house. This has contributed positively to mortgage acquisition in China, as prospective home owners are able to make the required 30% down payment.

In the same way that the government attempts to attract investors to various sectors of the economy, they should take similar steps in the housing sector. Funding summit for housing should be held in major cities in Nigeria, in collaboration with private sectors, grant givers, impact investors and philanthropists; incorporating transparency and stakeholder participation in the fund management.

Previous studies have found that when housing is not only covering the poorest, there is greater political support and more funds. Hence, social housing in Nigeria need not focus on the poor alone but also on a broader spectrum of people in the middle class. This has been achieved in places like Sweden, Singapore and Hong Kong by encouraging mixed-class tenancy in the housing estates. This has also been found beneficial to intercultural integration in multiethnic regions.

The Models
A very crucial aspect of any social housing discussion is the model of the house. If the government opts for social housing, there is need to answer questions such as: which building materials should be used? Where could the building materials be sourced? What is the cost of building materials? How much (financially and environmentally) does the total building project cost? and which models are sustainable and can produce the highest gains (in terms of quality and quantity) at the cheapest possible cost? To address the above questions, we may need to consider the following two case studies on sustainable and affordable housing models:

Case Study I: Cellular Lightweight Concrete
In an exclusive interview with a Bolaji Agunbiade, the co-founder of Ziegel – a building solutions company, he gave insights into his company’s sustainable building solution. The South Africa based Real Estate firm has been managed by Bolaji for 12 years. The company’s affordable and sustainable building solution is called ‘Cellular lightweight Concrete’ (CLC) (or “Aerated Concrete). The CLC is generated by combining cement with certain additives. The method which has existed for years has now been made easier to deploy with modern technology, whether in single or large sites. The CLC is a better building material as it is lighter than concrete or block, fireproof, waterproof, insulated (both sound and temperature), easier to deploy to site and 60% faster than brick and mortar.

On costing, Bolaji said the CLC method has similar costings to the traditional methods due to the use of similar materials such as (cement, sand/gravel, water, iron rods/mesh and others), and in-place of blocks additives are used. However, it still comes out cheaper using the CLC methods as a lot of savings can be realised from the time saved. According to him, the Governor of Lagos State recently signed a multi-billion-naira contract with Eco-Stone, a Nigerian company proposing to deploy CLC technology sourced from the USA to deliver housing in Lagos State. This he believes will be the first of many.

Bolaji believes that having just the CLC technology is not enough, how it is deployed is key and that is where the problem is and needs to be addressed. A small builder should be able to deploy the technology to site for a single project and that is what Zeigel brings to the table for critical stakeholders. He projected that in the next 10 years, CLC technology will become cheaper to deploy, and self-sustaining as the materials should would be sourced locally.

Case Study II: Passive House Prototype
“Affordable green housing could well be the silver bullet to address the triple bottom line for sustainable [housing] development in Nigeria” – Chinwe Ohajuruka

In 2012, Ms. Chinwe Ohajuruka and a team of sustainable development professionals entered an African Diaspora Business plan competition organised by USAID and Western Union for Africans wanting to do meaningful and innovative development in their home countries. Their entry titled “Renewable Energy through the Vehicle of Affordable Housing” emerged as one of the 17 winners of the competition. The innovation engineered by Chinwe and her team was called “Passive House Prototype” and refers to a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy in a building, reducing its ecological footprint.

However, according to Chinwe and her team, in the Nigerian clime a “Passive House Prototype (PHP)” is “A building that uses 50 – 75% less energy than a similar building in a similar location”. The PHP is an energy-efficient affordable housing, designed as an upgrade to the popular “Face-Me-I-Face-You” housing model in Nigeria. This model is the most affordable in Nigerian urban centres but also hosts some of the most unhealthy and unideal living conditions.

With the support of the funding from the competition and the Rivers State government, in 2013, Chinwe and her team built some PHPs in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. The typical characteristics of the built PHPs include one living room, one bedroom, one kitchen, one bathroom, circulation/storage. Each building could accommodate 4 units for 4 families on a single minimum-sized plot of land. The average construction time and cost for each building is 3 months and N9 million (at N2.25 million per unit) respectively. Although, with economies of scale, 10 or more PHPs could go as low as N7.5million. The PHPs come with added benefits of clean (solar) energy, potable water, and improved sanitation.

Another remarkable aspect of the project is that it follows a Rent-to-Own agreement, hence, the occupants start by renting the homes and work towards full ownership of the homes. Chinwe noted that the success of the project was largely enabled by the collaboration and support of the Rivers State Government, especially the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority. She also stated that more opportunities can be provided by the provision of housing microfinance and micro-mortgages even from traditional cooperative like ‘Esusu’, and corporate social responsibility by businesses.

Information for case study II was sourced from Henrich Boll Stiftung Nigeria

From case study II, a comfortable housing unit along with services such as portable water and solar power can be provided for low and middle-income families at N2.25 million. With more research, better and cheaper local housing solutions can emerge but there is need for the right political will to drive other aspects such as the implementation process, funding and models for social housing.

With social and affordable housing, there is a great opportunity to meet the housing deficit in Nigeria if government and private stakeholders can deliberately and collaboratively act to develop the housing sector in the country. There are also opportunities for social entrepreneurs and impact investors that want to align profit with societal good and value creation. By working together, these groups can change the narratives in the housing sector by making long-term investments in the provision of affordable housing in urban centres in Nigeria.

Five key trends for the building industry in 2018

Construction industry expert Saeed Al Abbar, of leading Dubai-based consultancy AESG and Chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council, talks us through what he expects to be the key topics and trends for 2018.

Over $85bn worth of building contracts were handed out across the GCC last year, and with a yearly increase of 7% that upward trend should continue through 2018. There can be no doubt that the Middle East is one one of the key regions, globally, for the construction industry.

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One of the region’s specialist consulting and commissioning firms, AESG, has been a major beneficiary of the GCC building boom, with the company doubling in size over the course of the last calendar year. Some organisations struggle with that scope of change, but AESG seems to have taken the growth in its stride. However, Managing Director Saeed Al Abbar insists that the company isn’t “growing for growth’s sake”, and that growth has been a by-product of success rather than a goal in and of itself.

“We didn’t really set out to double in size in 2017, but it did happen,” he reflects. “I think it’s with the ambition our team has. Everyone wants to strive to be the best at what they do, and naturally with that, you tend to work on bigger projects. I think a testament of that is that 80-85% of our work is repeat work. If we were truly focused purely on growth, we would be spending a lot more time and assets on advertising, but it’s more that if clients grow, we grow with them. So that’s been the path we’ve had.”

Al Abbar is a passionate advocate of sustainable development and green building techniques and has consequently presented at a number of local, regional and international conferences as well as authoring a number of papers on the issue.

Al Abbar recognises that flexibility is paramount to survive in this industry, as is the experience of having been involved in over 300 projects. He outlines what are, in his opinion, the key trends for the building industry in the year ahead.

Zero and near-zero energy buildings

Since the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, we have started to see a move towards the decarbonisation of the global economy and according to the terms of that, building stock has to reach net-zero by 2050, and preferably a great deal sooner.

The building industry is already having to adapt and this is something that Al Abbar believes is set to continue. In fact, he thinks the idea of zero and near-zero buildings becoming more widespread is something we should expect to happen sooner rather than later.

“It’s something we need to achieve,” he says, passionately. “Under the auspices of the Paris climate change agreement… we need to be, by 2050, effectively getting to net zero. That’s not very far away, so that’s one thing that needs to happen. But I think where there’s a need, the industry is able to innovate to meet that need. I think it’s definitely feasible (that the construction zero and near-zero buildings will become more widespread). We’re working on prototype designs, and we’ve proven it from the technical feasibility perspective. Now we’re trying to optimise it to be cost-effective so we can demonstrate it as commercially feasible as well.”

Fire and life safety

Perhaps one of the most obvious themes is fire safety after a number of high-profile façade fires globally. Al Abbar says it’s vital for developers to manage their liability and safeguard their investments, both when it comes to new projects and existing developments. He also believes it will become increasingly necessary for fire and life safety teams to work together with façade teams to ensure that the façade designs themselves follow best practices for fire safety.

“The façade does present a fire risk for the building,” says Al Abbar. “Now there’s been a number of high-profile unfortunate incidents, it’s come to the fore and created a lot more focus around it. It’s something that can be overcome with good engineering, good materials.

“The cost of insurance is going up because of façade fires. Those developers who haven’t considered fire safety in their façade will stand to pay even higher premiums because there’s a higher risk.

“I think it’s going to be driven into developers that this is something they need to do to safeguard their investment. Likewise, with the codes. Codes internationally are being upgraded to address this risk, so it’s going to become an essential part of design.”

Commissioning

Modern buildings are exceedingly complex and any which are not properly commissioned will use upwards of 25% more energy than they would have used, as well as not functioning to their optimum capacity. For Al Abbar, a mechanical engineering graduate, this is very much a bugbear that is all too prevalent within the industry. He does believe though, that with more companies using third parties which specialise in commissioning, the problem is being mitigated somewhat.

“The historic practices of allowing MEP contractors to carry out their own testing and commissioning is like asking school children to mark their own exam papers, without the teacher verifying that they have marked their work correctly or honestly,” he remarks.

“Take the electromechanical systems in any building, which can be roughly 40% of the cost of the actual project. It can be $400-500mn in terms of equipment. If you don’t commission and test that correctly, it’s almost a wasted investment because things aren’t working as they’re supposed to.

“We see a lot of projects now that have faced issues where things are inadequately commissioned; they’ve got equipment working but not optimally, or not working at all. Most developers, however, are now employing the services of third party commissioning specialists to manage and oversee the commissioning process right from the start of design until handover.

“We’ve definitely seen an improvement in the approaches and professionalism taken to commissioning, which is something we’ve been advocating for a number of years now,” adds Al Abbar.

Value engineering

Within the construction industry, increasing importance has been placed on value engineering and innovation and Al Abbar says that has been reflected by the emergence of consultancy service providers and contractors, whose approach to value engineering is led by technical specialists and supported by cost consultants, rather than the other way around. He strongly believes it will be the companies which integrate value engineering into their processes, able to provide more value at a lower cost to the client, that will be successful over the coming year.

“I think we’ve had value engineering here for a good 10-15 years,” he reflects. “It’s generally driven by cost experts, where they’ve had a schedule of costs and are trying to remove things from it. I think we’ve seen the consequences of that and they’re not very positive.

“Basically, by removing cost, you’re removing value. It’s not really value engineering. What I think we’re going to see, and what we’ve been championing and working with clients on, is value engineering driven through the design, supported by the cost experts. So, we work together to say: ‘okay this facade has this function to achieve… what’s the most cost-effective way of doing that?’, rather than saying: ‘let’s just remove items from the project specifications to save cost.’”

Management of existing assets

The final topic Al Abbar expects to come to the fore this year is the importance of properly managing existing assets. Buildings are always ageing, and he says the demand for recommissioning the mechanical, electrical, fire and life safety and even façade systems of older buildings is becoming more and more common.

To do that properly, he explains, needs “a holistic diagnosis of all systems in the building is required to ensure their proper functionality”, including a thorough review of vital systems such as air conditioning, the building management system (BMS) and fire and life safety systems. Organisations that decide to take this up in 2018 would do well to treat BMS as the starting point,” says Al Abbar. “As this is not only where building systems are orchestrated, but BMS will also help pinpoint where systems are not working in harmony. This validates that the building systems provide a safe and healthy environment for occupants, and also provides significant energy savings.

“I think it’s evolving, but there’s still a long way to go. The leading developers with multiple assets that are around for some time are seeing the importance and value of good asset management. As the maturity kicks into the market, not just here, but globally, I think we’ll see more of it.”

So, what will all this mean?

The main focus for companies this year has to be ensuring they have an awareness of the changes in the industry and the refocusing which has happened in certain areas of the market.

Al Abbar believes that “those who ignore the tides of change will be left behind”.

He concludes: “I think globally, in every industry, we’re seeing the rates of change so fast, faster than it has ever happened before.

“You take the taxi industry, which has been stagnant for years and now it’s been completely disrupted with the challenges of increased competition, increased globalisation, lower liquidity in the market, internal pressures and challenges, alongside the perfect storm of changes to technology and approaches to digitalisation. Every industry is evolving so quickly, and the cycles every two or four years reinvent themselves, and if you’re not able to do that then it’s going to be a struggle. I think it’s something we take quite seriously, not to rest on our laurels. Be aware of what’s coming up around the corner because it comes around a lot quicker than we’ve all been used to.”

Construction to play prominent role in Irish economy

Ireland’s National Planning Framework and National Development Plan was revealed on 16 February.

Both documents heavily feature plans for more investment into construction and infrastructure.

The nation has been neglecting the industry for 10 years, which has landed it at the bottom of the EU’s table, claims the Irish Times.

With the National Planning Framework being backed by legislature, the country may see investment from the government powering its economy.

However, there are concerns that Ireland’s construction industry is not large enough to support the ambitious plans.
EY/DKM consultants and SOLAS predicted in 2016 that the country would require an additional 112,000 employees in the sector by 2020 to meet housing and infrastructure demand.

Following this prediction, the ESRI has forecast an increase of housing output of 30%, rising to 35,000 newly constructed houses per year.

Read More: WHY YOU SHOULD EXHIBIT AT THE 12TH ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW

According to the Independent, Ireland is also anticipated to grow in terms of population – the nation is expected to rapidly expand by 150,000 people in 10 years’ time.

DKM expects that by 2026, the population over the age of 60 will reach 1.1mn – in this case, it is predicted that Ireland will require at least three new hospitals to manage the older generations in the country.

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