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Coping with Changing Demographic Structures through Modular Housing

In the Republic of Korea, modular homes assembled like LEGO units are being developed as a response to the growing need for small to mid-size housing.


There is a growing demand for single or two-person residential housing units in the Republic of Korea because of the country’s rapid aging trend coupled with low fertility rate.

Government data in 2017 revealed that Korean women are projected to have only 1.05 children in their lifetime, far short of the 2.1 needed to maintain population stability(link is external). Fewer and fewer young people are getting married because of soaring unemployment(link is external). Experts also cited the high cost of raising a child, long hours of work, and limited daycare options as contributing factors(link is external).

Likewise, in 2016, the number of elderly people in Korea exceeded the number of young people(link is external) for the first time in history.

This trend prompted the increasing demand for small to mid-size rental housing. With skyrocketing residential rent and lease fees, high school or college graduates, university and college students, newlyweds, household of three or less, and senior citizens are left with limited options.

Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology(link is external) recognized the potential of modular housing as a fitting solution to this socioeconomic problem.

Efficiency of Modular Housing

Modular houses are built through modular construction system which is more eco-friendly and faster method than onsite construction. In this system, over 70% of the housing components like windows, outer walls, front and back doors, bathroom, electrical wiring and piping, bath, and kitchen are produced and prefabricated in factories. These parts are then delivered to the construction site and assembled like LEGO blocks.

Modular system is effective in buildings with repeated, identical spaces, such as dormitories, studios, or hotels, making it suitable for apartment complexes for single- or two-member households. If demolished, modular housing will not produce construction waste. Instead, it can be reused as structure for new houses.

Enhanced Modular Housing Model

The institute studied public rental houses that were built using the modular construction method. The results of the study were the basis of the development of design technology, environmental performance, structural and construction technologies, manufacturing productivity improvement, and quality control technologies for customer-tailored modular housing construction.

A new model that meets housing construction standards and one that is capable of solving the common technical challenges of modular housing namely structural safety, sound insulation, and fire resistance was developed.

Structurally safe mid-rise building

Prior construction technologies in the Republic of Korea could only guaranty the structural safety of up to three-story modular homes.

The new model used lightweight synthetic floor panels with increased shipping and lifting efficiency and internal and inter-modular joints that can support optimal structure performance. These secured the structural safety of modular homes with more than five floors – a first in the Republic of Korea.

Soundproof and fire resistant units

Noise insulation flooring structure and dry-wall construction were used to block external and inter-household noise transmission.

To prevent the heat bridge and airtightness phenomena, shapes were joined in a stepped structure while integrated external thermal insulation corner walls were installed to improve the heat insulation of the units.

Cost-efficient construction

The new model was designed using the Modular Coordination (MC) and Building Information Modeling (BIM)-Integrated Design System. BIM allows developers to create virtual versions of the building through 4D simulations. This is a safe means for engineers to test building design and materials thus lessening the cost of actual execution. This reduced the design and construction duration by 10%.

Applying the Design

In 2017, the six-story Gayang Complex in Gayang-dong, Gangseo District, Seoul was completed. It is the Republic of Korea’s first multi-family public rental housing built using the modular construction system and can accommodate 30 households. This was erected 50% faster than a typical reinforced concrete construction. The housing units are now used for Seoul Metropolitan City’s public rental housing programs for young people who just started their careers.

In 2018, the institute, in collaboration with Korea Land and Housing Corporation, built the second modular housing for public rental projects in Cheonan City, Chungnam Province.

Source: development.asia

A Man Who’s Interviewed Bill Gates and Richard Branson Says You Need This Skill To Be Successful

In today’s world, it’s easy to have your attention pulled in different directions. But if you want to be successful at a young age, there’s one skill you must master: focus.

That’s according to success expert Richard St. John, who has interviewed over 1,000 successful people including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Martha Stewart. In 2005, he gave one of the most watched Ted Talks ever, “8 Secrets of Success,” which has been viewed more than 10 million times.

“Focus is the big one,” St. John tells CNBC Make It. “Focus is the secret to most people’s success.” People who concentrate are the ones who become successful at a young age, he says.

BM supercomputer

St. John says that when you’re young, it’s okay to initially dabble in a few things. But there comes a time when you need to “just pick one thing,” and it should be something you’re passionate about.

This, he says, makes focusing not seem like a chore. In his interviews with highly successful people and billionaires over the last 10 years, St. John says they rarely get excited discussing money. It helps that they have some, he says, but it’s never the focus.

“But when you talk about their passion, they light up,” he says.

St. John says successful people hate moderation, which helps them to channel their focus. “It’s all or nothing,” he says. He notes that there is a major distinction between concentration and focus.

“Concentration is being able to get something done in the short-term,” explains St. John. Focus, meanwhile, is paying attention to one thing long-term.

Most importantly, say St. John, successful people are not jacks-of-all-trades.

“Successful people aren’t great at everything,” says St. John. “They are great at one thing and suck at everything else. If you focus on too many things, you won’t be able to spend time on what makes you great.”

Source: cnbc

Meet The Woman Winning in a Male-Dominated Paint Market

Omolara Elemide was recently appointed as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of CAP Plc, the paint manufacturing subsidiary of Nigerian conglomerate, UAC of Nigeria Plc. She took over from Oluwakemi Ogunnubi, another woman who previously held the important position until early this year. It’s been six months since she took up this job and people are longing to see her scorecard. This is why Nairametrics has decided to profile her as our corporate personality of the week. Get to know her. 

Elemide’s age, education, and early career days 

Born in 1959, Mrs Omolara Elemide is a Nigerian business executive who has over 35 years of professional experience. She has held many high-profile positions in some of the biggest companies in Nigeria. She is a graduate of the Kwara State Polytechnic where she obtained a Higher National Diploma in Accountancy. Shortly after graduation, Mrs Elemide joined UAC of Nigeria Plc in 1983. She has been working in the firm ever since, rotating within the Group’s subsidiaries. 

Her career took off fully following the divestment of Unilever International from UAC of Nigeria in 1994. This is because she was promoted to the position of the Group Audit Manager. Her six months attachment to Unilever International’s audit departments in Europe and America in 1991 had prepared her for this role. 

Omolara Elemide was recently appointed as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of CAP Plc, the paint manufacturing subsidiary of Nigerian conglomerate, UAC of Nigeria Plc. She took over from Oluwakemi Ogunnubi, another woman who previously held the important position until early this year. It’s been six months since she took up this job and people are longing to see her scorecard. This is why Nairametrics has decided to profile her as our corporate personality of the week. Get to know her. 

Elemide’s age, education, and early career days 

Born in 1959, Mrs Omolara Elemide is a Nigerian business executive who has over 35 years of professional experience. She has held many high-profile positions in some of the biggest companies in Nigeria. She is a graduate of the Kwara State Polytechnic where she obtained a Higher National Diploma in Accountancy. Shortly after graduation, Mrs Elemide joined UAC of Nigeria Plc in 1983. She has been working in the firm ever since, rotating within the Group’s subsidiaries. 

Her career took off fully following the divestment of Unilever International from UAC of Nigeria in 1994. This is because she was promoted to the position of the Group Audit Manager. Her six months attachment to Unilever International’s audit departments in Europe and America in 1991 had prepared her for this role. 

A private executive 

Not much is known about Mrs Omolara Elemide’s personal life. She doesn’t have any known social media account, even a LinkedIn account bearing her name has just two connections. However, we do know that she is a wife and a mother. She is also a Christian. In August 2018, she was quoted to have advised some young school leavers to make the right choices in life as well as embrace a culture of excellence in order to succeed in life. She also reportedly admonished her fellow female business executives to continually sharpen their competence and never be found wanting.  

Her poise to win the paint war 

There are quite a handful of paint manufacturing companies operating in Nigeria today. Five of these companies are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, including CAP Plc of course. Over the years, there has been an understandably stiff competition between these companies, as they continually struggle to win over market share. How well is Elemide prepared to win in this field which, by the way, is dominated mostly by men? Well, let’s judge based on her performance so far this year. 

Despite the decline in profit, CAP Plc’s result is, by far, better than what its competitors reported.Berger Paint Plc, for instance, reported revenue of N1.5 billion and a profit after tax of N145.6 million. Portland Paints Plc realised total revenue of N1.3 billion compared to N1.4 billion in 2019. Profit after tax stood at N64.2 million compared to N89 million in H1 2018. 

Meanwhile, Premier Paint Plc ran at a loss of N14.3 million, after reporting 2.4% decline in revenue to the tune of N74.7 million compared to N97.9 million in 2018. In the same vein, Meyer Plc also reported a loss of N29.5 million. 

Based on the foregoing, it is clear that Mrs Omolara Elemide is winning the paint war in Nigeria. However, she can do better. Her aim should be to surpass the target set by her predecessor. And judging by the company’s H1 2019 profit performance, she hasn’t exactly done that.  

Source: nairametrics

Steel company

Ajaokuta Project in PMB’s Next Level Agenda

The dream of Nigeria to have reliable steel industry that will not only form the bed rock of the country’s industrialization, but also place her in a competitive position with her counterparts worldwide led the Federal Government to come up with the idea to restructure its priorities.

Thus culminating into the establishment/take off of several steel projects in Nigeria, such as Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Delta Steel Company Limited Aladja, Jos Steel rolling mills, Inland rolling mills in Osogbo, Katsina rolling mills and the Nigeria machine tools Limited also in Oshogbo. It is unfortunate to mention that most of these steel projects are today liquidated and under lock and key.

The Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited the largest steel industry in Africa and third in the world remained moribund and yet to see the light of the day because it’s final completion has become a political issue with successive governments.

Part of several failed efforts by past administrations to fix this integrated steel plant and give a boost to the country’s industrialization drive gave birth to the idea to concessionaire the steel project, thus leading to the signing of dual concession agreements at various times between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Solgas Energy Ltd and Global infrastructure holdings Ltd, under Olusegun Obansajo’s administration.

Today, it is interesting to learn that all legal issues that trailed the review of the concession agreement has finally been resolved by the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is also heart warming to note the efforts of the Buhari administration in the area of the completion of the Itakpe – Warri – Ajaokuta rail project for the movement of goods/services and people. However, of serious concern to this writer is the recent notion in some quarters that the present administration has listed Ajaokuta steel company as one of the state – owned outfits to be disposed of during Buhari’s First Tenure.

This unpopular opinion was given credence to by the manufacturer Association of Nigeria. Some critics of the Buhari administration even claimed that the completion of the steel project is far from Buhari’s heart, adding that it accounted for the president’s casual comments of the projects when he came on campaign visit to Kogi State before the last general elections.

However, while this negative opinion persists, both chambers of the 8th National Assembly towards the end of it’s tenure passed a resolution for the government to remove ASCL/NIOMCO Itakpe from the list of outfits billed for privatization and recommended that government should put $1 billion for the completion of the steel plant. Sad enough, this lofty proposal of the 8th National Assembly was rejected by President Buhari on the ground that the recommendation did not have the input of relevant organs, such as the ministry of power and steel. The above action of both chambers of the National Assembly summarises the wish of Nigerians on the issue of Ajaokuta steel project.

Therefore, what Nigerians are waiting for is for President Muhammadu Buhari to “reconsider” and assent to the resolution of the immediate past National Assembly by releasing the appropriated funds for the completion of the steel plant. Whereas some critics have variously described President Muhammadu Buhari as not too good in the management of the country’s economy, some said he lacks the political will to tackle the industrial growth of the country, but in my candid view, no reasonable leader will not wish the development of his/her constituency well.

As reasonable followers too, what our leaders expects is our support, by way of good suggestions/advice. Both the leader and followers must resist the temptation of trivializing and politicizing issues. It is therefore my candid opinion that the President should use the opportunity of his second coming to lay the foundation for the industrial growth of the country, by ensuring that Ajaokuta Steel Project is fully completed and operational.

“By So Doing, The President Would Have Not Only Proved That Nigeria’s Progress Is Not Tied To Foreign Dictates, But Also That He Is Capable Of Managing Well The Economy Of The Country”. First, President Buhari should jettison the idea of privatizing ASCL/NIOMCO Itakpe by aligning himself with the resolution of the 8th National Assembly on the need to complete Ajaokuta steel project in line with the wishes of generality of Nigerians.

This is because records have shown that public utilities like N.E.P.A, NITEL AND others privatized by past administrations did not bring about the expected improvement or positive result in terms of economic gains and services. Rather, the exercises tends to enrich the various individuals/management of the utilities so privatized to the disadvantage of the public.

Apart from the fact that the completion of Ajaokua steel project will lead to the industrialization of the country and by extension enable the country to attain economic, viability, the project when completed will generate mass employment for the citizens; reduce joblessness and crime in our society. To demonstrate commitment, the President should direct the ebullient Minister of Mines and Steel, Hon. Olamilekun Adegbite to reaccess the current condition of the steel plant and report to him (President) before Mr. President pay a working visit to the steel plant with a view to having a personal assessment of the gigantic project that have remained neglected and wasting.

Apart from assenting to the resolution of the National Assembly on the steel project, the President should come out with a reform in the supervising ministry in order to ensure that best hands professionals are given the opportunity to manage the steel company. In this regards, this writer who has interacted with First Republic leaders, the military leaders all through Nigeria Civil War 1967 – 1970 applauds the choice of the new Sole Administrator of ASCL, Engr. Ismail Abdul-Akaaba has brought life back to the steel territory in assumption of office. It is our conviction that with every necessary support, the steel plant can grow under the supervision of the new Sole Administrator and move to the next level in line with President Buhari’s second term agenda.

Source: dailytrustng

How Nigeria Loses Over N1tr to Defective Building Code

• Experts caution on collapse, seek review, domestication
• We’ll not compromise on integrity of structures, says FCDA

Nigeria might be losing trillions of naira to the non-review and non-domestication of its national building code. The loss includes the cost of rescue operations and deployment of emergency equipment during building collapse, and the cost of building materials, and treatment of injuries.

Besides, over 309 deaths, preventable by a functional building code, have been reported following structural collapse in the last 10 years.

What is currently regarded as a national building code was bequeathed to the country by colonialists and is no longer applicable for modern-day construction.

A building code, also known as building control or building regulation, is a set of rules specifying standards for constructed objects such as buildings and non-building structures.

Construction experts said the absence of an acceptable national building code explains why there are substandard constructions and recurring building collapse in the country.

A survey of reported collapses in selected Nigerian cities between 2009 and 2019 shows that over 57 buildings and structures caved in. Another survey carried out in 2015 shows that an average of 27 buildings gave way within 14 months. Of these, 175 deaths occurred while 427 persons were injured.

A further breakdown of the survey shows that 17 of the incidents involved residential areas. An estimated death toll of 44 lives was recorded. Over 60 persons were injured. Six of the cases were church buildings. The estimated death toll was 134, while about 176 persons sustained injuries. The other collapses included plazas and uncompleted buildings.

The southwest zone of the country had the highest record of building collapses within the period, with Lagos accounting for about 134 deaths and 159 cases of injury.

The average cost of erecting a bungalow, according to experts, is about N8 million. This means that for the 27 buildings that gave way in 2015, approximately N216 million was lost.

The cost of a standard storey building is about N56 million. The 57 buildings that collapsed between 2009 and 2019 could be valued at about N3.192 billion. The cost might even be as high as N976.752 billion, given that the buildings had a collective total of as many as 308 floors.

A Lagos-based quantity surveyor, Olaitan Oresanya, noted that this figure excludes collapsed fences. He also pointed out that with the addition of the traditional 10 per cent cost of supervision charged by building professionals and the 18 per cent fee demanded by contractors, the overall loss could be above N1.07 trillion.

Depending on location and height of the structures, the cost of each rescue operation might be valued at between N500,000 and N1 million. The cost of rescue operations at the guesthouse of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), for instance, lasted several days and might be valued at about N10 million. The building fell September 12, 2014.

The SCOAN tragedy specifically hit religious tourism in the country with loss of revenue. This is besides about 115 deaths and 131 cases of injury. The incident was one of over 20 other cases of collapses recorded in different parts of the country between January 2013 and September 2014.

Quite worrisome is the inability of states to properly prosecute building collapse cases due to lack of legal instrument, which the code should have provided. This explains why no conviction has been recorded and culprits, including building professionals, walk free. With an average of five deaths recorded yearly in Nigeria as a result, the problem has become a source of great pain to the economy with attendant loss of human and capital assets.

The August 26, 2019 collapse of a hospital structure under construction in the Gwarimpa area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, could have been avoided if professionals handling the project were guided by a functional code. Ironically, the hospital is located near the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

The Guardian learnt that the project, which was being handled by a senior professional, caved in because its foundation was changed from raft to strip without a proper assessment of the soil, which appears rocky but is actually clayey and swampy.

Adherence to an acceptable code could have saved the resources lost and enhance the prosecution of those involved.

Over the years, the Federal Government has toyed with the idea of setting up a suitable building code. It set up a committee led by the then Minister of Works and Housing, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, to work with stakeholders like the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) to draw a comprehensive code.

But 15 years on, the code is still enmeshed in controversies, despite efforts by Babatunde Fashola, the then Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

Lamenting the situation, the immediate past president, Association of Consulting Architects of Nigeria (ACAN), Mr. Kitoyi Ibare-Akinsan, said the uncertainty over the code is creating a lot of problems among professionals.

“Generally speaking, there is a lot of confusion. In most of the places where codes are very important, people rely on international codes. Technically, we don’t have an operational code; in the sense that it is not the code that everybody agrees on and uses,” he said.

According to him, the dilemma has made many housing consultants to use British, American and European codes because some of the items used in building come from these countries.

Also, president of the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Mr. Njoku Adibe, noted that existing and approved documents have become outdated and therefore need review.

Adibe’s predecessor, Tonye Braide, on his part, blamed the non-domestication of the existing document to accommodate cultural differences across the federation.

He said: “When Mimiko finished the work and the ministry sent the building code to South Africa for printing, he said that it should be domesticated, in the sense that each state was supposed to put one or two things on it because of cultural differences. For instance, the size of a window in Awka is not the same in Kaura Namoda.

“We should involve the 36 state Houses of Assembly by forming sub-committees in the states. There should be something that will be general, based on the fact that many of the imported materials are coming from the same place. But there should be cultural consideration.

“The process has to be decentralised. Let’s have a national conference, so that people from the states will come out and some committees will be created to set an acceptable national code that will stop the incessant building collapse across the nation.”

Kunle Awobodu, president of the Nigeria Institute of Building, noted that the absence of a code results in substandard constructions, which eventually collapse.

He advised: “We should continue to agitate for proper domestication of the building code to all states across the federation. There is a school of thought that feels the code does not have to go through the states’ Assemblies, since it is something that requires frequent reviews as the need arises. But I think the essence of sending it to the lawmakers is to give it legal strength.

“It is a necessity that we should collectively work on it, this time. We are losing a lot and it is affecting the nation’s economy. When buildings collapse, government deploys emergency machinery. Rescue operations cost money. Although it creates activities for those in the unit but it is high time we started evaluating the cost of these emergency rescues.”

Meanwhile, Shehu Hadi Ahmed, Director of Engineering Services at the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) has told The Guardian that there was no building collapse incident at the Gwarimpa hospital.

“There was no demolition or collapse of any structure. The FCDA only went there to pull down a part of the building that was not in the original plan of the hospital. Besides, that same portion also failed our laboratory/integrity tests. So, the only option left for us was to pull down that very part, to avoid a future collapse,” Hadi said.

He added: “We do not have anything to hide, here. Just go there and see things for yourself. Remember that FCDA took a similar bold step with the Nigerian Union of Journalist building at Utako. We also pulled down the initial structure because it failed our integrity test.”

Source: guardianng

Nigerians Living From Hand to Mouth as Discretionary Spending Collapses

…bursts 200m consumer market bubble

A new study on the consumption pattern of Nigerian households which tells an old story of deep-seated poverty and living on the tethers of squalor suggests the country’s “large domestic market” is big for nothing.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy with a population of 200 million.

But Nigerians have low discretionary income – income left after settling basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing – according to SBM Intel, a leading geopolitical intelligence platform in Nigeria. In other words, there is next to nothing left for saving, investing or spending on non-essentials needs.

The amount left over after Nigerians meet their essential needs contradicts talk of a big local market, SBM Intel said in its report.

The country’s true market size is “really the number of people who are able to spend discretionarily once they get past spending on the essential commodities”, and that number, SBM Intel estimates, is under 37 percent of the population.

In its estimation of the market size, however, an exception is made for producers of essential commodities in Nigeria who would have a market in providing basic needs.

In the report by SBM Intel, 63 percent of respondents said after spending on food, they had nothing left to spend. About 71 percent of households sampled earned between N30,000 and N120,000 every month.

The report gives flesh to an already known fact that Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world with about five people falling into the poverty trap every minute adding to the existing 94 million people, according to World Poverty Clock.

Survival is essential in Nigeria and most of the population is at the base of Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of the hierarchy of needs.

“I just wake up and pray to God to provide for my family today. Tomorrow would take care of itself,” said Emmanuel Alabi, 42, a private school teacher in Lagos and a father of four.

Nigeria is slowly recovering from a recession that saw negative growth in the economy for four consecutive quarters in 2016 and shrunk household incomes. Companies in the consumer goods sector were hard hit. Value, that is, cheaper alternatives, thus became a dominant determinant of most consumers’ buying decision as they sought to do more with less.

The woes of FMCGs listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange best illustrate consumers’ flight to value, Coronation Merchant Bank asserted in a recent report.

Other than Nestle, consumer goods firms are struggling to grow sales as consumers who otherwise patronised their brands shifted to brands of unlisted companies because of their lower prices.

High prices keep consumers spending more on food commodities which reduces their discretionary income, SBM Intel argued.

The severest implication of a low discretionary spending for Nigeria, which Moody’s says is trapped in “a low growth cycle”, would be the continuation of a vicious cycle of poverty and weak economic growth.

Low income leads to low savings which, in turn, results in low investment. The result of a low capital formation is low productivity and then low income. The cycle continues.

Nigeria’s gross national savings (the total amount a country saves) fell from 23 percent in 2009 to 11.8 percent in 2018, below peer emerging markets – South Africa (20 percent), Brazil (16 percent) and India (30 percent).

“You cannot expect a high savings rate in a high poverty and unemployment environment,” said Ayo Teriba, CEO, Economic Associates, a consultancy.

To stem the tide, SBM Intel said one of two most important policy thrusts that the government must make central to its policy planning is to reduce the cost of food in order to free up more discretionary income. The other is increasing productivity and therefore the income of Nigerians relative to the cost of the bare essentials.

The advisory firm also highlighted the importance of access to credit “in order to cater to bulk expenses like rent and school fees, as well as increase the discretionary income pool”.

“Without an increase in discretionary income, savings are unlikely to increase and therefore investible funds within the economy will remain relatively low,” it said.

When discretionary income improves, SBM reckoned, Nigerians will be able to afford more products giving room for new businesses to flourish.

Source: businessdayng

5 Ways to Manage Dust and Debris During House Remodeling or Renovations

Renovation, be it commercial or residential, can be an exhaustive task, and it can be quite a costly project. If you’re thinking about expanding your living environment, or if you’re tearing down a room to reinvent it completely, you need to prepare both financially and logistically in order to avoid wasting resources, and conduct a smooth renovation project from start to finish.

However, there is a whole other problem many homeowners don’t consider early on, and that is the problem of dust and debris accumulation. Through the reconstruction project, the materials and construction processes you use will inevitably produce various toxic compounds, ranging from VOCs, lead, asbestos, to dust and debris that will penetrate the very foundation of your home and the entirety of your living environment. Here are the five steps to prevent this and keep dust and debris under control.

1.Understand the dangers of dust and debris

What’s the big deal, right? You’ll just get a mop and some cleaning agent and tidy up the house once the renovations are over. Well, that might not be such a good long-term idea. First off, there is no way that you can successfully eliminate all of the hazardous particles form the fabrics on the furniture, or the various nooks and crannies where they might have hidden during the construction process. And secondly, allowing these particles to accumulate can lead to numerous health issues in the long term.

Because many dust particles and toxic compounds will become airborne, you will inevitably inhale them, which may cause irritation, inflammation, and long-term respiratory issues. If you’re working with lead, you should definitely wear protective oxygen masks because lead fumes are highly toxic. And if you’re working with sand, rock, or mineral ores, you will let dangerous particles of silica into your living environment, which will cause silicosis.

2.Factor debris containment into your budget

Now that you understand the dangers, you can start reworking your renovation budget so that it accommodates the costs of dust and debris control, sanitation, and elimination. Don’t set these costs aside, but rather integrate them into the preliminary stages of the project so that you can allocate enough resources for protective equipment, machinery, transportation, disposal, and more.

Always have a contingency plan in place, and set aside at least 10% more for unexpected expenses, especially when you’re calculating the amount of debris your project is going to produce – chances are that it will be more than you’ve initially thought. Talk to your contractor to gain a better insight into the scope of the entire project, with a focus on efficient and effective waste management and removal.

3.Take the furniture out of the house

Now, you can’t avoid or prevent the production or accumulation of waste, dust, debris, and other potentially dangerous particles, but you can prevent these compounds from polluting the most important parts of your living environment. These are of course, the furniture and other appliances and amenities you can easily transport into a safe storage space.

And that’s exactly what you should do. Hiring a truck to haul your stuff to a storage unit is a cost-effective solution, especially if you turn to affordable solutions such as Budget truck rental services and find a truck or van that fits your needs and can easily accommodate all of the furniture and essentials that you plan to move to your storage unit. Now that all of your precious stuff is out of the house, you can start covering up the things you can’t move, and not worry about any toxic elements penetrating the material.

4.Protect the floor and all stationary features

It’s important to cover up all of the things you can’t get out of the house in order to protect them from spills, accidental dings and scratches, and of course, to prevent hazardous particles from settling into their various nooks and crannies. To do this successfully, you will need tarpaulin, and lots of it.

Tarp is one of the best and most durable sheeting materials out there, and it’s frequently used in home renovation, and for a number of compelling reasons. Use heavy-duty tarp to protect your floors, and cover all of the areas in your home that you’re not remodeling. Let the dust and debris accumulate on the tarp, and then simply wash it off when you’re done.

5.Try to do everything outside

And finally, strive to localize waste production and accumulation outside. Remember, there’s no reason why you would want to prep the mortar, or do any of the cutting and welding inside – except if you want to make a complete mess of the place. Instead, move these and all other similar chores into the yard or on the front lawn. Sure, you’ll still make a lot of dust and debris, but at least you won’t pollute your living environment and you will be able to clean everything up easily.

Controlling your work environment as you’re renovating your home will allow you to conduct a smooth and rewarding project, and will help you preserve a healthy living environment in the process. Use these tips to effectively keep toxic compounds at bay from start to finish.

Source: constructionreviewonline

A Fifth of English Homes are Sub-Standard

“The figures are worrying when one considers that one in five homes is sub-standard as far as safety, costs and other measures are concerned. ”

Research by VeriSmart – a nationwide network of independent property inspectors – has revealed the concerning number of ‘non-decent’ homes in England as per the English Housing Survey.

The English Housing Survey – which dates back to 1967 as one of the longest-standing government surveys in the country – is a national survey of people’s housing circumstances and the condition of housing in England.

VeriSmart’s research details how almost a fifth of homes in the country (19.5% or 4.5 million) failed to meet the government’s Decent Homes Standard, when taking into account hazards, costs and other characteristics.

Private rented homes were found to be the most likely to be ‘non-decent’, with 25% of such properties falling below the expected standard, while the social sector had the lowest proportion of non-decent homes at 13%.

More than a third of homes built before 1919 were deemed non-decent and would require an investment of £9,991 to meet the expected standard laid out by the government, while the average estimated cost for non-decent homes to meet the required standard was £7,211. Typically, older properties would require greater investment to sufficiently repair.

The most common Category 1 hazards – the most dangerous type of hazard – were falls and fires. Falls on stairs, on a level and between levels accounted for the three most common types of hazard, with fires in fourth place.

Converted flats were deemed the most hazardous property type, with 21% of such homes likely to contain hazards, while private homes were the next most dangerous by this measure (14%). Houses were close behind (12%), with flats proving safer (8%), though social rented homes were least likely to play host to a hazard at just 6%.

1.1 million homes had a serious fire hazard – for example no smoke alarms, old or faulty electrical systems, missing fire doors – and other hazards included damp and mould, electrical safety faults and hot surfaces.

Jonathan Senior, chairman of VeriSmart, commented: “The figures are worrying when one considers that one in five homes is sub-standard as far as safety, costs and other measures are concerned.

“Some may fret at the average cost to fix a property so that it meets the required standard, but when these properties are falling below expectations in part due to hazards, safety surely has to take priority.

“We recently looked at the tragic number of home accidents – many involving children and many leading to fatalities – and it’s clear that chances can’t be taken in this area.”

Source: propertyreporter

How to Solve the Housing Crisis: what the recent major reports have recommended

Last week the Tony Blair Institute caused ripples of discontent in some parts of the housing sector by publishing a report suggesting that increasing the supply of new homes is not the way to solve the country’s housing crisis.

It was the latest in a run of recent weighty reports which have grappled with that question or a similar one: how do we solve the housing crisis, and if supply is the answer, how do we build more homes?

Here, with thanks to the Thinkhouse library of housing reports, we run through a quick guide to the recent major reports and what they have said.

Tackling the UK housing crisis: is supply the answer? (August 2019)

Published by: Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a thinktank set up by the former prime minister aimed at “making globalisation work for the many, not the few”.

What it said: Written by Ian Mulheirn, executive director and chief economist of renewing at the Tony Blair Institute, the report identified a familiar problem: UK average house prices have risen 160% since 1996 and homeownership is at its lowest ebb in a generation. Its conclusion, though, is less orthodox, namely that “the current policy focus on boosting supply does not offer a solution to the housing crisis and a fundamental rethink is badly needed”.

The reasoning starts from the fact that, despite historically low levels of housing supply, the number of new homes being built has comfortably outstripped household formation since 1996. The report also cites the fact that the growth in house prices is regional: it is London and the “Greater South East” which has seen rapid rises since the financial crisis, with much of the rest of the country remaining stagnant.

This is reflective of other major cities, writes Mr Mulheirn, and is more likely a result of “global investor demand” than a lack of supply. He writes that lifting supply to the government’s target of 300,000 a year would not have a meaningful impact – prices would be likely to drop by a mere 10% over 20 years.

Instead, he calls for a policy focus on things such as “slow wage growth for young people, erosion of the social housing stock, and housing benefit cuts” as well as support for first-time buyers and higher taxes for landlords to encourage them to sell.

Building for our future: a vision for social housing (January 2019)

Published by: Shelter, a homelessness charity

What it said: The review of the social housing sector by Shelter’s affordable housing commission was established in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire and was wide-ranging in its recommendations for reform. But it had plenty to say on housebuilding, identifying a massive increase in social housing development as “the only credible hope that government has of reaching its target of 300,000 new homes a year”.

The commission, which included Grenfell survivors and former Labour leader Ed Miliband, produced a ‘cost benefit’ case for more social housing and set out some policy reforms that could help achieve it.

These included land reforms aimed at reducing the cost of land for social housing, tighter rules for private builders about the amount of social housing required in schemes, and investment from government in socially rented housing.

Housing supply requirements across Great Britain: for low-income households and homeless people (November 2018)

Published by: Crisis, a homelessness charity, and housing association body the National Housing Federation

What it said: This joint report also found a pressing need for new homes: specifically 4.75 million households across Great Britain, including 330,000 who were homeless and 510,000 who live in poverty as a result of the cost of their housing. It said the way to address this was to lift housebuilding to 380,000 homes a year across Britain – with 340,000 required in England. Pertinently, and in contrast to some other supply-focused reports, it said 100,000 of these should be social rent homes, as well as 29,000 shared ownership and 33,500 intermediate rent properties. Most of these (90,000 of the socially rented, 25,000 of the shared ownership and 30,000 of the intermediate rent) were required in England, the report said.

These numbers are vastly below what is currently delivered in England – with supply sitting at 6,434 social rented homes and 12,546 for shared ownership for 2017/18, among an overall number of 47,124 affordable homes – close to a third of what the report suggested was required.

It also threw down a gauntlet to government which, despite some shifts by Theresa May, directs the overwhelming majority of affordable housing funding to shared ownership or intermediate and affordable rents. It was cautious to note that additional measures such as homelessness prevention and reversing welfare cuts were required to substantially reduce homelessness numbers.

Independent review of build out (October 2018)

Published by: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, with the review carried out by Sir Oliver Letwin

What it said: During the Autumn Budget in 2017, then-chancellor Philip Hammond announced this review to be carried out by backbencher Sir Oliver. The aim was to investigate a common allegation that floats around in housing policy: land banking. Essentially, Sir Oliver was tasked with assessing why developers sometimes take decades to turn plots of consented land into actual homes and what the government could do about it.

His central findings were clear and unambiguous: the problem was “homogeneity of tenure”. In other words, building a large site entirely for market sale made the build-out rate reliant on how many homes could be sold in the local market at once. It would be a very foolish builder which took 10,000 homes for private sale to market on the same day. But at the same time, the money flowing through from sales is necessary to build the rest.

Sir Oliver’s conclusions were equally clear: a greater diversity of tenure was required on large sites. He said government should make support for schemes of more than 1,500 homes – including support for buyers through Help to Buy – conditional on the builder accepting a locally designed tenure mix. In practice, Sir Oliver was essentially calling for more affordable housing and more homes to rent.

The Redfern Review into the decline of homeownership (November 2016)

Published by: John Healey, shadow housing secretary, commissioned the report, which was published by a panel chaired by Pete Redfern, chief executive of major house builder Taylor Wimpey

What it said: The report had a hefty panel of experts contributing, including Dame Kate Barker, who published the seminal housing report of the 2000s in 2004, and Mr Mulheirn, who would go on to author the aforementioned Tony Blair Institute document.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Mr Mulheirn’s involvement, it reached a similar conclusion: tumbling rates of homeownership were a consequence of generational inequality, not a lack of housing supply.

In terms of why homeownership was falling, it cited three principle causes: tighter mortgage requirements after the financial crisis, rising house prices, and stagnating incomes among the younger generation. Following the same logic as the Tony Blair Institute report, it called the idea that low supply had caused high house prices “a misleading view”.

It said low homeownership rates would stabilise eventually and politicians should “accept this short-term reality” while doing more to “to provide a healthy and stable renting environment”.

It also called for a long-term, multi-tenured strategy which cuts across political dogmas and government stepping outside this to take short-term action “only when it is necessary to protect the most vulnerable”.

The Farmer Review of the UK construction labour model: modernise or die (October 2016)

Published by: Construction Leadership Council, a collective group of industry leaders from across the construction sector

What it said: Strictly speaking, this was not a review of how to solve the housing crisis but more one about how the construction industry needed to change if it was ever going to deliver the number of homes policymakers have decided we need.

Written by Mark Farmer, founding director and chief executive of Cast Consultancy, the report took a dim view of the current state of play, stating that “many of the features of the industry are synonymous with a sick, or even a dying, patient”.

It diagnosed the problem as threefold: a “survivalist shape” characterised by low reserves and high cyclicality, a “deep-seated cultural resistance to change”, and no strategic incentive to initiate the change necessary to overcome these issues.

In terms of its prognosis, the report did not mince its words. It described the industry as at “a critical crossroads in terms of its long-term health” and warned that “the prognosis for the industry, if action is not taken quickly, is that it will become seriously debilitated”.

The major answer was new technology. The report encouraged the industry to “embrace this trend at scale” in order “to improve productivity and offset workforce shrinkage”. It also noted the power of state-funded social housing to provide a “soft landing” should the private market crash.

But – three years on from publication – with social housing funding continuing to bump along at a near record low and offsite manufacturing still very much a developing industry, it appears Mr Farmer’s sharp warnings have not yet been heeded.

Building more homes (July 2016)

Published by: House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee, which is considered to be among the most authoritative select committee in Westminster

What it said: The succinctly titled 103-page report accepted with little question the idea that building more homes was necessary in order to turn the tide of falling homeownership and rising affordability pressure – the focus was more on how to achieve this. It did not pull its punches in its assessment of the housing policy of David Cameron’s majority government.

It said a target of 300,000 homes a year wa

s necessary to meet demand – a substantial rise on the government’s pledge of one million homes by 2020, which was the major housing target at the time. An over-reliance on the private sector was criticised and a clear call was made for more borrowing powers for councils to build social rented homes again. It was succinct and devastating in its assessment of Mr Cameron’s focus on homeownership to the exclusion of other housing tenures. “The government’s focus on homeownership neglects other tenures; those on the cusp of ownership are helped and those who need secure, low-cost rental accommodation are not,” it said.

While the report came too late to have any influence on Mr Cameron – by July 2016 he was on his way out of office, having recently lost the referendum on Brexit – it is notable that many of its recommendations, including the fresh target and the dropping of the borrowing cap for councils, were picked up and implemented by his successor Ms May.

Source: insidehousing

How Nigeria’s Minister of Housing Can Attract Foreign Investment for the Sector

Stakeholders and professionals in the Nigeria housing and construction sector are unanimous in the observation that one of the greatest challenges faced by the sector is the lack of adequate funding to transform ideas into practical solutions.

While access to housing is an unprecedented global challenge growing fast with rapid urbanisation, the housing problem is more pronounced in emerging markets like that of Nigeria.

The biggest challenges faced by emerging markets like that of Nigeria are fragmentation and inability to meet unprecedented volumes of housing deficit; Inability to align stakeholders and catalyse grassroots impact; challenges in making the economics work, and in a number of cases, housing initiatives are driven by governments who face enormous treasury challenges.

Foreign Direct investments, as important as they are, are attracted more by regions where domestic capital is already being applied to unbridle the potential in these economies. It is therefore very important for Nigeria’s minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola to get the ball rolling in terms of seeing that local investments are up and running in the sector.

In addition to strong economic fundamentals, local capital is required to de-risk opportunities and prove their viability to international investors

The application of local capital ahead of FDI plays an important role for the sustained growth of local enterprise in an economy.

According to some stakeholders, transforming the huge housing need in Nigeria into bankable opportunity will require public and private sector involvement

FDI they say, has to be deployed in key areas of the value chain to have the most impact in order to stimulate home production and ownership.

Foreign capital when applied appropriately can improve an economy’s capacity to create affordable mortgages. The creation of mortgages has a huge multiplier effect in stimulating the production of lower middle income and affordable housing because it gives investors a clear exit path.

Foreign capital is better attracted to opportunities where local capital (public or private sector) has been used to de-risk them.

The first tenure of Babatunde Raji Fashola saw him undertake a pilot National Housing Programme which led to a nationwide housing construction in various states of the federation. According to the minister, while giving account of his service mentioned that construction works at these project sites are an ecosystem of human enterprise where artisans, vendors, suppliers and craftsmen are direct beneficiaries as well as contributors to nation building. It is therefore important that unlike previous housing programmes in Nigeria, this one should not be abandoned, but reinvigorated and adapted to prevailing challenges in a way that more results can be achieved and more houses built for the poor who needs them the most. According to Housing Development Advocacy Network, the projects that are ongoing should be completed and new ones initiated, and must be affordable for those that genuinely need the houses.

Another fundamental issue that if addressed can boost the confidence of investors is that of enabling policies that need to be either amended or introduced. For example, it is very important for the land use act to be amended to make land administration and its access easy for investors and developers. This has been an ongoing argument, and it is time for a headway. There is also need to pass the foreclosure law to enable a legal framework for addressing challenges relating to mortgage default etc. The issue of policy framework is not limited to these two, as there are pending policies that if passed or amended can greatly improve the working environment for investors. The minister therefore needs to engage in a lobby process that will enable the passage and amendment of these and many more policies.

This will be very critical for the kind of progress needed in the housing sector and macro-economic policy that supports liberalisation play an important role in attracting foreign capital inflows.

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