Dangote Cooperative to diversify into real estate, banking, others

As part of efforts to raise its revenue profile the management and board of the Dangote Group Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (DANCOOPS) has set machinery in motion to diversify into real estate, micro credit and loans, among other business ventures.

Making this disclosure at the weekend was the President of the Society, Comrade Afolabi Kamoru. He spoke in Lagos at the Society’s 10th Annual General Meeting.

Kamoru, while giving account of his stewardship in the last two years, said his executive team has been able to change the fortunes of its members thus far from a humble beginning.

Specifically, he said: “As big as the Society is, we just secured, renovated and furnished an office space and within a short period we have been able to perfect a few things for the Society. Aside from that, we have a landed property in Mowe, with construction about to start.”
At the end of the financial year, ended December 31st, 2016, the DANCOOPS boss said, “The Society closed its books with surplus figure of N122, 369, 545, 43, which represents an increase of 46.38% over the last year’s profit.’’

Expatiating, he said: ‘’There was reduction in the interest rates to cushion the effects of the economic hardship on members, payment of unclaimed dividends as well as savings increased by N390m with both dividends and net surpluses increased by over 48%.’’

He also hinted of plans by the Society to acquire properties in strategic areas for business purposes, adding: “Already we have sent business proposals are being discussed and finalised with the SBU’s to establish Sales points of all brands of Dangote products for members. The Society is also planning to delve into finance scheme in the next two years.

“What we are looking forward now is from now to the next two years, we want to woo all Dangote staff to be members of the Cooperative. For a Society which started in 2004 with just 400 members and now 10, 000, our target is to grow it to about 15,000-20,000 members in the coming years,” he stressed.

Echoing similar sentiments, Comrade Odetunde Oluwole, two time president of the Society, said plans are in top gear to commence construction at Obajana in Benue state, Move in Ogun, Lokoja in Kogi state respectively.

“In Lagos state, we are planning to construct a housing estate, which we are about to commence. We already have Certificate of Occupancy, layout and approval. It’s just to move to site,” he said.

DANCOOPS, according to Oluwole which is made up of the following federating units namely: Dangote Industries Limited (Holding company), Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Dangote Four Mills, Dangote Oil Refinery Company Limited, Dangote Fertilizer Company of Nigeria Plc, National Salt Company of Nigeria Plc (NASCON), Dangote Cement Plc, Dangote Agro Sacks Limited, Dansa Foods Limited, A.G Dangote, Dangote Sino Truk West Africa Ltd, is also determined to branched into microfinance banking and other businesses as part of efforts to invest in lucrative ventures for the benefit of its members.

The highpoint of the occasion was the election of new executives to lead the affairs of the Society. Among those elected include, Afolabi Kamoru, who was re-elected as president, Olabode M Ojo, as Vice President, Lukmon O Yusuf, Treasurer, Bature Farman, as General Secretary, Chibueze Nwaeze, Assistant General Secretary.

Others include: Blamoh Adewale, as Assistant Financial Secretary with Ex-Officio as follows: Alh Isa S Musa, Oladipupo O Funsho, Ashonibare Ade.

Experts optimistic on better economy in 2018

Experts have predicted better performance of the Nigerian economy in 2018.
A financial analyst and head, Department of Banking and Finance at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Dr. Uche Uwaleke, said there will be tangible improvements in the economy going by the various parameters that support the countries revenue sources such as oil prices.

Uwaleke also predicted that the monetary policy rates may likely be retained by the Central Bank of Nigeria in its first quarter meeting.

“Headline inflation, which is beginning to prove sticky downwards, will spike in January. In response, the Monetary Policy Committee members in their meeting of January (that is, if a quorum is eventually formed) will leave the policy parameters (namely the Monetary Policy Rate at 14 per cent, Cash Reserve Ratio at 22.5 per cent and Liquidity ratio at 30 per cent) unchanged.

“There will be no significant departure from this monetary policy stance even during the MPC meeting of March 2018,” he predicted.

The don also said economic activities in the first quarter of 2018 will be slow, especially on the part of foreign investors

“The level of capital importation, comprising mainly portfolio investments, will not be significant relative to the third and fourth quarters of 2017 since foreign investors are likely to adopt a wait-and-see attitude during this period.

“Expectedly, the stock market will largely be bearish. The first quarter of 2018 will be a good time for risk-taking investors to take positions in undervalued stocks. Overall, economic activities will progress at a snail’s pace in the first quarter of 2018 with higher unemployment rate than the previous quarter, a little shy of 20 per cent.

“Real GDP growth rate, year on year, will likely hit the two per cent mark but it will be more from base effect than actual expansion in economic activities considering that the economy was still in recession during the corresponding period of the preceding year,” he also said

The financial analyst however forecast higher economic activities in the second quarter of 2018.

“The economy will be at a cruising point during the second and third quarters of 2018. Much of the expansion in economic activities will occur during this period.

“The IMF has forecast a real GDP growth rate of 2.1 per cent for Nigeria while the Federal Government’s target is 3.5 per cent as contained in the 2018 budget. Real GDP growth for 2018 will lie somewhere in-between.

“Improvements in security and oil infrastructure will likely boost oil production up to the level (2.3 million barrels per day) envisaged in the 2018 budget. Healthy external reserves, sufficient to finance over seven months of imports, will support a stable exchange rate and convergence of rates across all the segments of the forex market,” he added

In the aspect of Ease of Doing business, the financial expert said the third quarter of the year will be more efficient in the area of flexibility of doing business.

“The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report that will be released will show a further improvement in the ranking of Nigeria. Not surprisingly, the level of capital importation will likely peak in the third quarter of 2018. The stock market will be bullish, buoyed by the faster rate of economic expansion and the release of impressive half-year results of many quoted companies. For investors in the stock market, this could be the time to take profits,” Dr. Uwaleke said.

“Both the Customs and Federal Inland Revenue Service will record improvements in collection efficiency. Enhanced non-oil revenue from taxes and government independent revenue will support stronger execution of the Federal Government’s capital expenditure plans as well as social welfare programmes contained in the 2018 budget.

“This will rub off positively on jobs (resulting in marginal drop in unemployment and underemployment figures helped by the planting season) but will not be significant given the small scale of these interventions vis-à-vis the number of youths that enter the labour market annually.

“Also, turbulence, from hyper political activities, will likely set in during the fourth quarter of 2018. General elections are only a few months away from this last quarter and so politically-motivated spending will shift the country’s inflationary challenge.

“Core inflation in 2018 will be highest in December. The CBN will likely tighten monetary policy once again in order to reduce inflation and anchor inflation expectations,” he further explained.

Another financial expert, Usman Bello, said the major developments in the economy in 2018 will be basically in the stability of policies especially in the non-oil sector which is line with the Federal Government’s initiative on Economic Growth and Recovery (ERGP).

“If you look carefully in the 2018 budgets, you will see an unprecedented projection in non-oil revenue of over N4 trillion. Therefore, different policies, especially in the aspect of agricultural exports and tax as well as many others will be pushed in order to realize at least half of the projections,” he added.

In the aspect of poverty reduction, Bello also predicted that the Federal Government through its social intervention programme will employ more youths into the workforce and make profitable ventures for them to boost the economy.

Similarly, a World Bank analyst Dr. Raymond Asemakaha, predicted that economic activities in the first quarter will not pick up immediately in the non-oil sector as expected but will record a pick in economic activities that will be occasioned by release of funds for several projects in the agricultural, manufacturing as well as the mining sector.

Asemakaha however cautioned on the need for government to be innovative in boosting its revenue projections through designation of funds to important projects that will boost the county’s economy and also adopt cost saving measures in order to reduce huge sums of monies spent on recurrent expenditure

“By adopting cost service measures, recurrent expenditure can be improved which will curb budget deficit and reduce expenditure and pave way for other important projections in the non-oil sector which will better the economy,” he added.

Housing finance experts’ Kampala declaration on affordable housing

 

With Africa cities facing a critical and growing need for affordable housing, mortgage finance operators in the continent have committed to promoting and accelerating delivery of affordable housing, engaging the housing value chain for growth in each of the countries.

Currently, about 40 per cent of the continent’s one billion people live in cities and towns; and it is estimated that in the next few years, some African cities will be home to as much as 85 percent of their country’s population.

By 2030 it is estimated that the middle class in Sub-Saharan Africa will more than triple, to an estimated 107 million people. Housing delivery rates across the continent, however, are insufficient to meet this growing demand, and the housing that is delivered is unaffordable to the vast majority. As a result, the majority of Africa’s urban population continues to live in inadequate housing.

In a declaration by the African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF), after their meeting in Kampala, Uganda involving members from the public and private sectors from 24 countries, they urged governments at the national, state or provincial, and local sphere to actively support the vision for adequate and affordable housing for all.

They agreed that governments should assist in the development of specific policies that explicitly focus on affordable housing, and outline government’s role in its support as well as ensure access to land, secure title, and security and trust in our land markets.

AUHF also advised governments to enhance access to long term finance through measures that crowd in private investment for affordable housing, which might involve pension reform, or macroeconomic interventions reduce government reliance on corporate bonds and bills issuance as a revenue source, thereby improving the investment attractiveness of housing.

Similarly, they want an enabling incremental housing delivery processes for which municipal planning approvals are readily available and finance is easily accessed as well as a sector wide approach to subsidisation, that engages with the full housing ecosystem and identifies where the public and private sectors should best target their efforts.

Among other demands are an expedited delivery of regulatory approvals all along the housing value chain, ensuring improved efficiencies in terms of time and cost, for the regularization and titling of land, and the development of affordable housing.

 

The mortgage operators are also seeking the development and implementation of taxation regimes that incentivise investment in affordable housing, whether through the provision of tax relief for specific market segments, or other measure.

They urged the governments to promote affordable rental as a viable housing strategy to be delivered by a diversity of suppliers, including both large scale developers and landlords, as well as households themselves and transparent access to information relating to the housing delivery and property market.

AUHF is keen to engage with respective governments at the national and local level on both macro and micro economic issues, including interest rates, tax and monetary policy, and housing and land policy as it influences the growth and performance of housing markets.

While committing to the growth and development of affordable housing across our continent, they reiterated their commitment to the clauses contained in the New Urban Agenda, specifically:

“We commit ourselves to promoting the role of affordable and sustainable housing and housing finance, including social habitat production, in economic development, and the contribution of the sector to stimulating productivity in other economic sectors, recognizing that housing enhances capital formation, income, employment generation and savings and can contribute to driving sustainable and inclusive economic transformation at the national, subnational and local levels.

“We will support the development of appropriate and affordable housing finance products and encourage the participation of a diverse range of multilateral financial institutions, regional development banks and development finance institutions, cooperation agencies, private-sector lenders and investors, cooperatives, moneylenders and micro finance banks to invest in affordable and incremental housing in all its forms.”

AUHF is a member-based association of mortgage banks, building societies, housing corporations and other organisations involved in the mobilisation of funds for shelter and housing on the African continent. It enable members to respond to the challenges and opportunities within the contexts of their businesses, supporting better engagement between the public and the private sectors.

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam

Home prices are set to soar in 2018

 

The temperature may be frigid across much of the nation, yet home prices are sizzling and sellers are in the hot seat.

Sales prices jumped 7 percent annually in November, according to a new report from CoreLogic.

That is the third straight month at that pace, far higher than the price gains in the first half of 2017. Low supply and high demand are fueling the spurt and neither of those is expected to ease up anytime soon.

Supply is actually falling even more now, and a strengthening economy is pushing demand. This will have potential buyers out early this year, trying to get a jump on the spring market.

“Rising home prices are good news for home sellers, but add to the challenges that home buyers face,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, in the report. Nothaft said the limited supply is the worst at the lower end, and will hit the growing number of first-time buyers hardest.

Half the homes are overvalued

The largest metropolitan areas are seeing the biggest gains.

In the nation’s top 50 markets, half of the housing stock is now considered overvalued, based on market fundamentals, like income and employment. CoreLogic defines an overvalued housing market as one in which home prices are at least 10 percent higher than the long-term, sustainable level.

Las Vegas led the November report as not only being overvalued, but showing a double-digit annual price gain of 11 percent.

San Francisco was not far behind at 9 percent, and Denver came in third at 8 percent.

Las Vegas and Denver are both considered overvalued, but San Francisco is not, as incomes in the tech capital far exceed the national level.

Of the nation’s 10 major markets with the biggest price gains, seven are overvalued. These include Washington, D.C., Houston and Miami. Boston and Chicago are still seeing price gains but are considered at value.

Without a significant jump in home construction, prices will remain high and likely move higher. Mortgage rates could also move slightly higher, and new tax policy limiting mortgage and property tax deductions, is hitting homeowners in some states hard.

All will combine to make housing less and less affordable in the new year.

Source: CNBC

2018: Stakeholders anticipate more liquidity for real estate transactions

 

For real estate investors, 2017 was a gloomy year as many projects were stalled, transactions almost non-existent and many construction workers lost their jobs.

They have, however, expressed optimism that in 2018, the industry will be revived with more liquidity to close deals, as a prelude to the 2019 general elections.

“Generally, there will be a lot of liquidity in the system and that can only be a good thing for us in the real estate market. When there is liquidity, it means that people are able to think of not just buying basic things, but also putting money in investments, which trickle down into real estate one way or the other,” the Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Lagos State Branch, Rogba Orimalade, stated.

According to him, this will be mainly because the country is entering a year that will precede the general elections and a lot of money will be spent, adding that “there will be a lot of liquidity, which will have multiplier effects on the system.”

Following a tough 2016 characterised by rising inflation, declining Gross Domestic Product growth, a weakening currency, reduced public revenue and the country officially entered into recession, stakeholders said it was one of the worst so far in the history of real estate in the country, and predicted that 2017 might likely not be good as practical signs of progress had been few and far between.

In confirmation of the predictions, many projects in both the residential and commercial sub-sectors of the industry were stalled in the year just gone by due to lack of funds from both developers and investors, resulting in a lull in the property market

The year also witnessed the sacking of thousands of construction workers in addition to the 65,000 alleged by the Federation of Construction Industries to have lost their jobs between 2015 and 2016.

Many artisans also took to other vocations due to dearth of projects to engage them.

Analysts, however,predict that there will be significant improvement in the various sub-sectors in the real estate industry in this New Year.

The year also witnessed the sacking of thousands of construction workers in addition to the 65,000 alleged by the Federation of Construction Industries to have lost their jobs between 2015 and 2016.

Many artisans also took to other vocations due to dearth of projects to engage them.

Analysts, however,predict that there will be significant improvement in the various sub-sectors in the real estate industry in this New Year.

Residential

Stakeholders are optimistic that the lull experienced in sales and lease of residential houses as well as default on rent obligations that were the norm between 2016 and 2017 will end this year.

“Firstly, affordability will become a bigger issue in the residential market. Buyers will insist on more for less, and developers will have to think more deeply to bend,” the Chief Executive Officer of Northcourt Real Estate, Tayo Odunsi, said.

He noted that unlike 2017, the New Year had more certainty, hope and activity and a lot of projects across the various real estate sub-sectors, which got stalled in the worst Nigerian economic year in recent times, 2016, had been restarted and a good number were expected to be delivered in 2018.

“So while the highlight of 2017 was that Nigeria came out of recession, 2018 is poised to be marked by recovery. Prices will not rise to the 2014 highs in real terms, but the revival will be clear and evident,” Odunsi stated.

Developers also believe that default on residential rent payment will be greatly reduced as people will be able to spend more.

The Chief Executive Officer, Mixta Nigeria, Mr. Kola Ashiru-Balogun, stated that the signs of a good year for the real estate industry were already there as people had become more confident in the economy and were prepared to spend on things other than their basic needs.

“It is going to be a good year, we can already see it. People are having more confidence and are able to spend more; businesses are also able to borrow more at a better rate and can spend more, this will definitely trickle down,” he said.

Commercial

The Chief Executive Officer, Construction Kaiser, Igbuan Okaisabor, said there would be a strong demand for commercial real estate and this would prompt investors to take the plunge.

He stated that small and medium-scale indigenous construction firms would get more contracts as major foreign companies in the sector were still struggling.

“The foreign companies will still do the mega projects but top tier indigenous firms will begin to get more contracts as the government begins to spend more in preparation for the coming elections,” he said.

Okaisabor,  however, noted that most of the construction activities, about 60 per cent, would be done in Lagos.

According to him, there may not be many activities in the residential market because the demand for luxury houses has dropped.

The 1st Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Building, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, stated that due to the current stability in the economy, foreign investors would begin to invest in the country again.

He said, “The uncertainty in the economy and foreign exchange has been doused. We expect a lot of investments this year and beyond, because the polity has also stabilised.

“The year 2017 was hellish; workers were retrenched and many construction companies relocated their offices to their homes because they could not pay the rents. But all that will change because there will be more liquidity in the system this year.”

Orimalade noted that in terms of sectors, the year would be positive for the commercial, office and retail, adding that this would be based on the stability in the foreign exchange market as well as some stability in terms of decision-making on the retail and office sub-sectors.

Odunsi also stated that the office market would see the biggest change as co-working spaces would proliferate the cities and even begin to move into A-grade buildings to house the small but growing enterprises that could afford it.

“This will give Nigeria’s shiniest buildings the much-needed uptake they anxiously require. The commercial space will not be the same. Retail malls are getting smaller and will continue to do so. Rents and service charges will also normalise to enjoy the recovery experienced in other areas of the economy,” he added.

Capital projects

Orimalade said from the government’s side, there would be big spending on projects as they try to make sure the promises that they made to the citizens come into fruition ahead of the general elections.

“The money they have been saving, they don’t have a choice but to spend it and this will create a more fluid system, which will be better than the last two years when everything was restricted and tight,” he stated.

He noted that the government had been very prudent and shy of spending but that from this year, it would be forced  to fulfil campaign promises in order to get votes from the electorates again.

“There is a positive feeling because the government has to spend and liquidity in the system will be good for the industry and people will be a bit more adventurous now,” he added.

Awobodu also stated that the government would execute projects that had been stalled and probably start new ones to impress the electorates, adding that this would eject more funds into the economy as many people would be engaged.

Mixed feelings

Despite the optimism, however, some stakeholders feel that there may not be much significant improvement.

Ashiru-Balogun stated that commercial real estate might take a longer time than anticipated to pick up.

“Unlike residential, commercial real estate takes a lot of planning and execution, and with the state it is in now, it may take a longer time to pick up. Probably after the general elections in 2019,” he added.

According to Awobodu, Nigeria’s reliance on crude oil means that any change in price may affect whatever optimism that is presently in the air.

He said the coming general elections might also not be the big blessing people hope it would be.

He explained, “Real estate has been dull for the past two years, there are a lot of empty properties. So, this year, because of the preparations for elections, many politicians will try to raise funds and one way they are going to do that is to put up some of their properties for sale.

“The market is already saturated; there is a property glut. So, injecting more properties into the market may neutralise the effect of the expected funds that will be in circulation.”

He noted that as much as stakeholders would like to be very positive about the year, they should also be cautious not to nurse “a hopeless hope.”

By: MAUREEN IHUA-MADUENYI

Why Nigerians prefer foreign building materials

Indications abound why the drive to source building materials locally by Nigerians cannot be possible. Nigerians are known to have penchant for foreign goods and so anything labelled Nigeria, no matter the quality, is regarded as inferior. The worst aspect of that is that even if a Nigerian starts anything good, government will do everything possible, whether within or outside the law, to frustrate the person. This is what experts see as reason for the backwardness of the economy as well as the sole dependence on oil.

For obvious reasons, government has veered off the local content policy. However, to confuse those who may not understand, they keep voicing the policy and using it as a ploy to get those they target. There are some building materials you simply can’t put any price on due to the sheer number of varieties, qualities, and categories. Therefore, this list includes the major building materials of broad category.

Statistics obtained from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) showed that between 2010 and 2015, Nigeria spent N13.6 trillion on the importation of raw materials, especially building materials, that could have been sourced locally if some more rigorous work had been put into the country’s import substitution strategy. According to some experts, this is correct, yet government officials and those who read such things in the universities that are appointed leaders on account of their speciality abandoned them for easy and finished products. Statistics also show that Nigeria in 2016, spent about another N5.89 trillion on the importation of similar raw materials, thus bringing the total sum spent on the importation of primary raw materials into the country within the seven-year period to N19.5 trillion. The imports in 2016 included some finished products. This means that on the average, the country splashed N2.79 trillion every year in the past seven years to import building materials and other raw and finished materials.

However, the most expected of the problems that needs attention is the fact that so much has been spent on research yet nothing tangible has been achieved as more Nigerians are entering the import circle without looking inwards to see what could be done homewards. Some experts argue that if half of the resources put into importation is directed towards construction of factories and companies that can do what is done abroad, Nigeria’s problem of importing building materials would have been a thing of the past.

Despite being a large country, one wonders whether any successive governments have considered how big the building and construction materials business in Africa really is? For one to venture into such things means looking for solutions on how to procure them locally. At this point, discerning minds begin to ask whether government is not aware that high building and construction activities are often signs of growing economies. This is because when the economy looks good, the demand for residential, commercial and all kinds of real estate usually goes through the roof.
The Federal Government levies Customs duties on most imports but these duties were substantially reduced in 1986 and in 1995. The import duty varies from 5 per cent to 60 per cent, averaging 12 per cent. All imports are also subject to a 7 per cent port surcharge and a 5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT). The paperwork necessary for exporting and importing is lengthy.The taxation system has been widely avoided and valuations are arbitrary. The implication is that since authorities prefer making some stipends from charging imported materials, they prefer Nigerians to do more importation than exportation. This, some experts adduce as reasons Customs officials chase goods into the construction sites because they are imported. They prefer to be zealous in things that would bring them aggrandisement instead of growing the economy.

From government archive, prohibited exports include raw hides and skins, timber and building materials, raw palm kernels, and unprocessed rubber (to protect building and processing industries) yet the will to convert them into finished products here in Nigeria for use is lacking. They rather prefer to have them finished abroad and brought to the country as foreign goods for Nigerians to patronise them. Again, most goods produced in Nigeria may be freely exported, although prohibited imports include live chicks, flour, vegetable oils, gypsum, mosquito repellent coils, plastic domestic articles, used tires and weapons.

The NBRRI was part of the West Africa Building and Road Research Institute jointly established in 1952 by building professionals in Ghana and Nigeria. When Nigeria attained independence in 1960, the Nigerian members pulled out while their Ghanaian counterparts formed the Building and Road Research Institute linked with the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science. In 1978 the NBRRI became a department in the Ministry of Works and Housing.
In the most recent past, the Executive Director, Royal Pacific Group, promoters of Fraser Suites, Abuja, Mr. M G Nasreddin, stressed the need for government to increase investment in property industry or better still support private investment with enabling environment. He believes that such opportunity will also encourage local and international private investments, thus creating wealth down the value chain, boosting the economy and complementing the effort of government in the provision of quality and affordable housing for Nigerians and employment.

This, if seriously analysed, could be the route to finding solution to manufacturing of building materials here in Nigeria as the private investors to be attracted will not wholly depend on imports for their jobs. Manga time, they will use their technical know-hows to bring about the manufacture of some of the materials they use. With this, little by little, they will creep into the Nigerian space.

Over the years, the NBRRI has conducted researches into materials for constructing roads and houses. Under President Shehu Shagari, the institute acquired a site and built its headquarters on the Ota-Idiroko Federal Highway.

The need to be close to the seat of power necessitated relocation to Abuja, and the establishment of zonal offices in each geo-political zone. The sprawling complex in Ota was then designated National Laboratory and Production Complex. The institute has also done much work on the use of cement for road construction in Nigeria. This is essential as it is known that the world reserves of heavy crude (which yields the bitumen base for asphalt) is dwindling. Limestone is abundant in Nigeria and cement manufacturers are promoting the use of cement for road construction.

Right choice of tiles gets your home glowing

Technology is good as it helps to bridge a long process of doing things within a twinkle of an eye. Technology also brings about beauty and aesthetics in both human life and materials. In fact, technology has touched every fabric of our human life such that no single thing is devoid of its innovation.

But sometimes, technologies turn out to be a good servant and bad master and vice versa as the case may be. Light, brick block, television, phone, asbestos roofing materials, asphalt tarring of road, painting of houses and maintaining gardens around the home, in addition to transportation medium, computers as well as solar roofing sheets and tiles, including floor and wall tiles, are all part of technology.

As a good servant, these technologies help in either beautifying our lifestyles, making our jobs easy and increasing our propensity in job creation. But on the other hand, it can be a bad master in the sense that a single vehicular accident can kill as many people as possible, so also electricity and slippery floor tiles.

Pope JohnPaul II, was once reported to have slipped off a tiled floor and sustained injuries. The Catholic Pontif was also reported to have suffered many other domestic accidents as a result of slippery tiles. But aside these disadvantages, tiles, whether on the floor or wall, help to change the aesthetics of your property or home. Flooring materials, therefore, play an important role in shaping the final aesthetic value of your rooms. The floor usually dominates a neutral palette and attracts instant attention. Thus, you can dramatically change the appearance of your entire room by redoing the flooring. So, if you’re planning to remodel your rooms by replacing the flooring, you would naturally like to avoid any undesirable consequences or flaws in the process.

Ceramic floor tiles are one of the most used flooring materials after hardwood. If you’re planning to shop for tiles, there are a few things you must avoid. In order to avoid the bad master aspect of tiles in your homes, there are certain precautions you must take to enjoy only the positive side of tiles.

Taking floor measurements without expert guide

Don’t measure your floor lengths on your own, instead have a professional tile installer do it for you. Although this procedure seems quick and simple, nevertheless, it is not a piece of cake for an average person. Since a non-technical person is unfamiliar with technical terms like “off angles”, “floor inclination” and “edges”, you should hire a licensed tile setter to accomplish the task. He can give you an estimated number and size of tiles you will need in your room.

Using the services of a fake tiler

Enthusiastic weekend do-gooders look for amateur improvement projects so that they can save a couple of money. Replacing your old flooring with ceramic floor tiles requires a great deal of patience, time and efforts. You need to search for a skilled, seasoned and reputed contractor who can handle this job well.
Use of fake or inferior materials

Before you start with the remodelling procedure, it is essential that you plan a budget. However, make sure you choose a good contractor. Don’t just hire anybody who offers you discounted rates. There is no substitute to the skills, experience and knowledge of the experts, therefore, hire the best contractors in town. Likewise, don’t buy materials from road side retailers just because they are offering affordable rates. Take some time and differentiate between expensive and cost-effective as well as good-quality and poor quality services.

Living above your standards
Tiled floors look pleasing to the eye and add a great value to your home but the key rule in choosing a floor type is to get a suitable material that can easily fit in with your lifestyle. Don’t buy fancy flooring for entertainment purposes. If your floors receive plenty of traffic on a regular basis, you shouldn’t add glassy or slippery floor tiles to your rooms, especially when you have kids and pets at home. Having a tiled floor makes you vulnerable to slips and minor accidents. Therefore, consider the daily requirements of your family members when choosing flooring for their rooms.

Inability to pick grout colours matching the wall

Purchasing grout and installing it is relatively easier than replacing it from time to time. Since shadow and light can play tricks on the eye, it is important that you consider the final appearances of your tiled floors. Visualise what they will look like after installation. This way, you can add the right shade to lighten them up or tone them down, according to surrounding elements.

Not exploring market for better options

Ceramic floor tiles come in different sizes, shapes, textures, patterns and types. The market is jam-packed with different types of materials that add a classy look to your rooms. If you want attractive flooring for your rooms, it is important that you conduct thorough research on the market. Compare and contrast the materials designed by different manufacturers, test their durability, analyse their costs and see if they fit into your project. Always buy flooring materials from reliable and reputed dealers only. Moreover, don’t just hire any person you come across in the very first attempt. Interview different tile setters, discuss your project with them, negotiate prices and come up with the best deal.

Failure to understand tiles manual

All reputed tile installers offer price quotes and a detailed description of their services in writing. Make sure that you discuss important details like price rates, project duration, types of materials required, number of workers you are planning to have in your home, workmanship guarantee and insurance policies with your tile setter. Get a written copy of the work contract and read it carefully before you make the payment.

Lagos living: Solving Nigeria’s megacity housing crisis

 

Nigeria’s largest city Lagos is facing a housing crisis. The BBC’s Nancy Kacungira looks at how entrepreneurs are trying to solve the crisis.

Affordable housing is a considerable challenge for urban areas with large populations, and this is particularly prevalent in the Nigeria’s city of Lagos.

More than 500,000 people move to the city every year, and across Nigeria, there is already a housing deficit of more than 17 million units.

There are on-going projects of varying scale trying to address the shortage; one is reclaiming land from the Atlantic Ocean to build a new city suburb called Eko Atlantic on the shores of Victoria Island.

Tonnes of sand and heavy rock were poured into the ocean to provide 10 sq km (3.8 sq miles) of land for shops, offices and homes.

Protected by an 8km long sea wall, the city will have its own power and water supply, and even an independent road network.

Eko Atlantic will be able to accommodate more than 500,000 people, but the multibillion dollar project has been perceived as being “only for the rich”.

Ronald Chagoury Jr, one of the developers, says it is a perception they have been trying to shake off.

“From the beginning we always thought that this would be a city for the middle income.

“We know that the middle income has grown significantly in the past 15 years and we know that it is going to grow even more.”

‘Living with granny’

Still, some residents of Lagos feel that there are already many housing options – they just cannot afford them.

Properties are pricey and landlords typically require annual, not monthly rent payments.

Banking consultant Abimbola Agbalu tells me that he has to live at his grandmother’s house, because renting his own place would be too expensive.

 

“If I wanted to rent a house where I would prefer in Lagos I would be spending at least 80% of my pay cheque to move in because I would have to pay two years’ rent upfront, agency fees and maintenance fees.

“And from then on I would have to spend another 60-70% of my pay cheque every year on rent, which doesn’t make sense.

“The problem is not that there are no houses. If you look around, there are empty houses all over Lagos; some can even go a year without being rented out.

“The problem is that people can’t afford them. We need better alternatives.”

Refurbishing shipping containers

One Nigerian company is thinking inside the box in order to provide a cheaper housing option – by making homes out of cargo containers.

Dele Ijaiya-Oladipo says he co-founded Tempohousing Nigeria to provide a creative solution in a city that desperately needs low-cost housing.

“The only way we can get the housing deficit sorted is by providing good quality houses at affordable rates.

“You can’t build a million homes at a price that no-one will ever afford – that doesn’t achieve anything.”

Mr Ijaiya-Oladipo’s container homes are 25% cheaper than traditional housing, and can be built in as little as two weeks.

“But the concept is still foreign to many Nigerians; so most of his clients tend to use the containers to build office spaces, not homes,” he says.

“Until a potential client actually sees our past work, they can’t really picture how a shipping container can be used as a finished house or office.

“We have to encourage people to visit our office which is made out of containers, so they can see what we are talking about.”

From a self-sustaining city to refurbished-shipping containers, private sector real-estate developers are offering both big and small solutions – and Lagos needs them all.

The city is Africa’s largest, and its population is expected to double by 2050; putting even more pressure on already limited housing options.

Source: BBC

Building Collapse in Nigeria: 6 Early Warning Signs

Things that happen when a house is about to collapse

There are quite a number of reasons why a building collapse could happen. It could be as a result of an act of terrorism, a structural failure or natural disasters like an earthquake, hurricane, flooding, landslide, tornado or a mudslide.

Nigeria has suffered its share of building collapse in the past with several cases of buildings collapsing and killing scores of people. On December 10, 2016, Nigeria was hit by a tragedy when a church collapsed in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom; killing over 200 people.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel was among the lucky survivors of this tragic incident when the church building collapsed right in the middle of a Saturday service.On September 22, 2015, a building collapsed in the Lekki axis of Lagos State. In May 2016, a four-storey shopping complex collapsed in Ogun State, which left many deadIn October 2015, a three-storey building collapsed in Lagos. Sadly, there has been an increase in the number of collapsed buildings in Nigeria in the last 10 years.According to the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Sola Adeigbe, a total of 1,104 buildings were sealed from Between June and October 2016 across Lagos State as a result of defective or illegal construction.

The fact remains that buildings do not just collapse. There are always warning signs. In many cases, the building control agency of several states in Nigeria carry out a non-destructive integrity test.

This test according to real estate professionals is to ascertain the structural stability of the building. This helps the state know if such buildings can be renovated or re-engineered.

In cases where building are detected to have a defect, building owners are asked to take the test before further actions are taken by the state.

As part of our commitment to ensuring the safety of homeowners as well as those who live or work in properties in Nigeria, we have compiled a list of 7 warning signs that should not be taken for granted.

The moment you notice any of the warning signs we will discuss in this article, immediately evacuate the building and make it a point of duty to notify your nearest Local Council Development Area (LCDA)

1. Major cracks in the wall

Thermal movement remains one of the most potent causes of cracks to appear in the walls of buildings. If overlooked, this could eventually lead to the collapse of the building.

A crack in the wall of a building is a natural sign that the structure is unable to accommodate the movement or load to which it is subjected. When cracks appear in the walls of a building, it is either a structural crack or a non-structural crack.

While structural cracks appear as a result of incorrect design, faulty construction or overloading, non-structural cracks appear due to internally induced stress on the materials used in constructing a building.

2. Gaps between floors

When there are gaps between the walls and floors of a building, you must understand that this is a structural defect that could end very badly.

In 1995, a building with gaps between the floors and its walls eventually collapsed and killed three people.

Uneven spaces and sloping floors are not to be taken lightly. For instance, take a look at the house from the street. Is the front entrance straight? For contemporary homes, sloping floors are a really bad sign.

 3. Deteriorating support structure

Deterioration can result due to different reasons including;

Substandard materials used: As building components fail, they can directly impact on the exterior walls. The collapse of interior floors can push against masonry exterior walls and this eventually paves the way for the collapse of buildings.

Tears and fissures in foundation structures: This can also happen when fissures appear in welds of steel during construction or over time. A building is likely to undergo progressive collapse when a primary structural element fails, resulting in the failure of adjoining structural elements, which in turn, causes further structural failure culminating in a building collapse.

Deformed siding: Siding is what protects your building from the moisture and the elements. It can be found on the inside and outside the walls of the buildings that are well constructed. When not kept in good condition, it can deteriorate and result in weakening of foundational structures; something that often leads to building collapse.

4. Creaking and popping sounds

When the house you live in begins to make creaking and popping sounds, you should be very worried. In September 2016, a resident heard creaking sounds on the 7th floor of a building, which eventually collapsed.

When a house creaks, what is happening is that the metal parts contract much more than the wood does. As a result, the nails, pipes and air ducts rub against the wood.

Also, the wood rubs and grinds against other wooden parts of the structure, which creates the creaking sounds.

If you ever find yourself hearing weird sounds and cracks especially during strong winds, it’s a sign you should pay attention to.

5. Mould and water stains on walls and collapsing ceilings

There is usually one way mould and rot are caused – Water got to a part of the house that should not be wet. Professionals prefer to call this ‘moisture penetration.’

When there is an excess of moisture that can’t escape within the structure of a house, it is c

alled a damp.

The natural tendency of moisture is to spread out from wet parts of a house to the dry areas. The moisture would also move downwards with the under the influence of gravity. Your house construction should allow for this.

If this does not happen, it could result in clay lump walls collapsing.

 

6. Moving house

One of the most dangerous warnings of an impending collapse is when the house is moving. The movement here does not refer to the way a human would move. Rather, this means that over a period of time, certain parts of the house have shifted from their original position as a result of foundation problems. Technically, when the foundation of the building shifts, it sets into motion, a disturbing number of serious events throughout the house, which forces the house to move.

Final thoughts

A building does not suddenly collapse in one night without any warning sign. The signs are usually there to be seen. One of the biggest problems with these signs is that if neglected, they make the collapse of the building inevitable. In essence, early warning signs should not be handled with levity.

Do you have any questions or worries around building collapse you would like to share with us? Reach out to us in the comment section below.

The Rising Cost of Building a House in Nigeria

 

Why Previously Affordable Homes are Now Out of Reach For Many

Despite the biting economic effects of the recession in Nigeria, the cost of building a house has continued to rise. Between October 2016 and April 2017, several building materials have become more expensive than they used to be. In October 2016, it cost N2,500 to buy the ¼ white plywood board whereas, in April 2017, the same plywood was sold for N4,200 per unit.

As expected, this holds grave consequences for developers, the government, Nigerians planning to rent or buy property as well as other stakeholders. Industry experts have bared their minds on this topic as seen below:

The Sun

“When former President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office in 1999, a bag of cement was sold at N500 per bag. Despite various policies and interventions, if any, the price of cement has continued to rise. It is the same story all over the country. Since 2015, the price of cement has climbed from N1,400 to between N2,500 and N3,000, depending on the location and quality. A bag of cement costs between N2,550 and N2,600 in Calabar, Cross River State, while it costs N2,800 in Aba, Abia State. In Port Harcourt, it is sold at between N2,700 and N3,000, depending on the quality. One can buy a bag for between N2,700 and N2,800 in Jalingo, Taraba State, while it is sold at between N2,800 and N2,850 in Abuja.”

For more info: http://sunnewsonline.com/building-houses-with-tears/

The Guardian

“Another dangerous trend is that many developers and engineers have resulted in cutting corners to ensure that they remain in business in order to feed their families and make ends meet. The resultant effect is that proposed materials may not meet specified standards due to high cost… If you need 3O bags of cement to mix certain measurement of gravel, you may need to reduce to 15 bags in ensuring that projects are not abandoned.”

For more info: https://guardian.ng/property/developers-firms-in-dilemma-over-rising-building-materials-cost/

 

Daily Times

“Due to the depreciation of the Naira and high exchange rates, prices of building material have recorded about 150 to 200 percent increase as very high percentage of building materials are imported. A bag of cement has gone up from N1, 500 to N2, 500 and as high N3, 000 in some areas in Lagos, the cost of rod has skyrocketed from N160, 000 per tonne to N320, 000 which signifies about 200 percent increase. A tipper of 5 tonnes washed gravel now goes for about N32, 000 as against the price of N 20, 000 few months ago, a tipper of granite 30 tonnes now sells for N147, 000 compared to the previous price of N80, 000 to N85, 000. This scenario, according to President, Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers, Oreoluwa Fadayomi, has impacted severely on many projects as many projects are now stalled as clients could no longer continue due to the high cost of all the building materials.”

For more info: https://dailytimes.ng/business/rising-cost-building-materials-dangerous-trend-stakeholders/

Nigeria Real Estate Hub

“Nigerians would continue to pay more for accommodation in major cities until the cost of building materials is subsidised. Many completed housing estates across the country have remained unoccupied because of the high rental and sale prices attached to them as against the meagre income of the average Nigerian worker. More so, it is worse now due to the economic recession. The increase in the prices of building materials has multiplier effects on housing development, many projects are not completed on time due to the cost of materials which have been on the increase. Besides timely completion, high prices of building materials form a crucial constraint to improving housing conditions in Nigeria.”

For more info: http://nigeriarealestatehub.com/implications-cost-building-materials.html/

 

Our View

The implication of this is that housing schemes initiated by the government are not affordable to the average Nigerian. As expected, this impacts negatively on the projection of the government to cut down the visible housing deficit that the country has endured for years.

The government has, over the years, launched initiatives to provide affordable housing to the teeming population and encouraging homeownership through site and services schemes but with the rising cost of building materials, this goal proves elusive.

What can be done to free the country from this real estate trap? Perhaps the government should establish policies that will be aimed at bringing down the cost of building materials.

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