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GET CERTIFICATES OF BUILDING COMPLETION BEFORE OCCUPATION, OYO TELLS DEVELOPERS

As part of efforts at checking and guarding against building collapse, the Oyo State government has directed both private and public estate developers to obtain certificate of completion for their properties before put them up for occupation.
The government explained that the move was part of proactive measures to forestall building collapse which is now rampant in the state and other states in Nigeria, pointing out that obtaining the certificate will be the last stage of approval to be given to developers in the state.


“The certificate will confirm compliance of the structure with requirements stipulated in the building plan,” said Waheed Gbadamosi, director-general, Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control (BP-PDC), who gave the directive in Ibadan, the state capital, recently.

Gbadamosi stated that the state’s planning laws required developers to obtain certificate of compliance for every stage of their construction which would show whether they complied or deviated from the approval given to them.

“It is imperative for the people of the state to comply with the necessary planning laws and building instructions so as to avert any danger. This will also ascertain the quality assurance of the construction”, he said, stressing that, at least, a copy of the Approved Plan with all approval stamps must always be on the site during construction.

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

He informed that contravention or demolition notice would be served on such properties without approval on sites, warning that failure of developers to obtain the certificate of completion before occupying the building would lead to monetary fine by the BPPDC.

Fresh controversy rages over Lagos land use charge policy

Fresh widespread opposition may await the Lagos Government’s newly passed bill on land Use Charge policy, if indications emerging from the sector’s major players are anything to go by.The proposed law, which repealed the Land Use Charge Law 2001 and enacted Land Use Charge 2017 and For Connected Purposes, aimed at increasing the revenue generation base of the state by bringing more houses into its net.

The 27-section bill harmonised Land Rates Law, Neighbourhood Improvement Charge Law and Tenement Rates Law. The bill, if passed into law, will end all other rates on land except the Land Use Charge.Already passed by the Lagos State’s House of Assembly and awaiting the governor’s assent, the proposed law has stirred up the hornet’s nest following some provisions; stakeholders consider unfair to property owners.

READ: ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

Titled: “A Bill for a Law to Provide for the Consolidation of Property and Land Based Charges and Make Provisions for the Levying and Collection of Land Use Charge in Lagos State and for Connected Purposes”,
Under the bill, “ the annual amount of the Land Use Charge payable for any Property shall be arrived at by multiplying the market value of the property by the applicable relief rate and annual charge rate, using the prescribed formular.“The land value and building value rates constituting the market value of the property shall be reviewed at least once every five years on the basis of information available to professional valuers, and may vary from area to area.

According to the bill, the Land Use Charge will be payable in respect of property that is not exempted under Section 12 of the law.Some of the properties exempted from the proposed law include property owned and occupied by a religious body and used exclusively as a place of worship or religious education.Also exempted are public cemeteries and burial grounds as well as property used as a registered educational institution certified by the commissioner to be non-profit making.

In addition, the proposed law exempts any property specifically exempted by the Executive Governor by notice published in the State Official Gazette and all palaces of recognised Obas and Chiefs in the state.However, the law made it clear that an exempted property shall become liable for Land Use Charge if the use of such property changes to one that does not qualify for exemption.

The repealed, law guiding the Land use charge (LUC) was introduced by the government of Governor Bola Tinubu and it generated serious criticisms and subsequently legal battles until the rates were reduced.Some of the critical issues were the formula the government used to arrive at the capital values of properties and non-involvement of registered estate surveyors in the process, who should determine the values, and/or arbitrary values ascribed to properties.

There were also concerns over usurpation of local council’s statutory right in collection of tenement rates and provision of amenities in the local council area.With state collecting all together, the decision on what should get to the local councils, as tenement rate has remained a big issue.

Specifically, real estate practitioners, especially valuers are querying its equitability and methods used for the classification of property, stressing that it was based on capital value, which is not applicable in other climes.For instance, a chartered estate surveyor and valuer, Chief Kola Akomolede, argued that one of the qualities of a good tax was that it should be equitable.He stressed in those interventions that the land use charge was not equitable at all and could discourage people from investing in property, which will further worsen the accommodation problem of the populace as a result of reduced supply.

Akomolede told The Guardian that it is wrong to pay an annual tax on the capital value instead of the annual value. “If you pay income tax, you pay it on annual income not on the entire income of several years you will live. Even in London, where we copied this laws, tenement rate or council tax is based on annual value not on the capital value.

“That aspect is what I don’t agree though I have not read the whole bill but that is how it was in the old law. I wrote an article criticising it and in several places I mentioned it and I still believe it is wrong. If you will recollect, this was subject to several litigations until they reduced the rate to make it very low, where as what they need to do is that they could have put the annual charge on the annual value of each property in which case if the rental income from the property is N5milion, they should base the charge on the N5 million and not on N100 million, which is the capital value of the property, that aspect is what I found very uncomfortable as far as I am concerned”, he added.

For a fellow of Nigerian Institution of Estate surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Prince Ahmed Adepoju, the non-involvement of estate surveyors and valuers in the process is a major lacuna, which has made it a nullity.According to him, “when the first law was passed, that was our major cross that the proper thing was not done. You cannot be asking people to pay for their property using this method because if you are talking about property market value, you are talking about the economy of the property itself.

“When you look at that, you will not know the basis they used to value the property. It is not a welcome law to us, because we were not consulted”, he noted.
In tacit acquiescence to Adepoju’s position, the chairman of the branch of Nigerian Institution of Estate surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Olurogba Orimalade, said it is a pity that the institution was not consulted before such bill was passed.According to him, ‘nothing has change either before or during the re-enactment of the law to change our position that the formula being used is what we don’t understand. ‘It beats our imagination. We don’t know how they come about this formula being used to levy people’.

He said: “ We did make our position known that there has to be clarity especially to the professionals that, it is their discipline and their training to be advising government on how the levy should be made. “ We only got notice of it some few days before the public hearing that was held at the state house of assembly. Be that it may, we stated our position and forwarded it to them. Our position still remains the same. We are calling on government to come and sit down with us from the look of it, at the end of the day, the professionals will be called to look at what government is trying to do in order to justify it are the valuers.

“If the valuers and institution itself were not involved or were not carried along properly in arriving at the formula, then I think it brings a lot of questions to be asked on the process. All over the world including the United kingdom, there is no law that has to do with land administrations and matters that you will not consult the RICS, that is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, it is not about the RICS calling government. That government could roll out something as fundamental as this without consulting us , is not proper.

“So as far as we are concerned, a lot of questions still need to be asked, the formula is a formula that we still don’t understand how government arrived at to levy people through the amalgamation of all the taxes. “Our position has been clear from day one, because you are bringing tenement rates, ground rates and all that under one roof, there are certain things by the laws of the land , that are made to be charged by local government, this is now being brought together under one roof. There is neigbhourhood charge, which formed part of the land use charge, which should be even separated from the land use charge.

For us, there are so many issues and areas, so it is not today, it has started, and our position is that we understand what government is trying to do.“ I think, it was only nice to tell them that before you venture into areas like this, they should consult properly the institution, that is a key stakeholders on this, it is just that we are brought in early to look at this”, he added. Another fellow of NIESV, Ben Oshadiya said consolidation of the levy would be good, if only they will give local governments their dues after consolidation.
According to him, they should allow the local council to function; they can only function when they give them part of the money they are consolidating.
“ Consolidation is good, no doubt because it will reduce multiplicity, the only thing is that there is a problem with the formula for the computation.They just look at the property and said this one will be able to generate so much, it is not correct in all cases. “ The issue is let them spend the money well, when people see the way they spent the money, and all organs of government are functioning well, nobody will oppose it but the formula for calculation should be equitable”, he added.

Oshadiya stressed that if the formula is what government should be able to defend, people will be ready to pay, while government should make judicious use of the tax to provide the requisite services.“It is no use paying land use charge, when you still pay your refuse, when you have to connect your water, when you have to construct the road leading to your home virtually by yourself or to do those things government should do for you.

“If they make sure that everything is okay, everybody will be wiling to cooperate with government. While people complain is that when development do not go round, there are many areas where there are no government impact, they have to spread the development”, he added.

By Bertram Nwannekanma

Borno LG Boss Rebuilds 151 Houses For Boko Haram Victims

Maiduguri – The caretaker chairman of Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State, Alhaji Modi Gubio has said the council under his watch was able to reconstruct about 151 residential houses hitherto destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents in Gubio town at a total cost of N95 million.

He said, this is in addition to construction of eight mosques and clinics for the better use of its people, especially Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have since returned to their communities following degrading of insurgents by military troops.

Gubio stated this on Sunday in an interview in Maiduguri, the state capital.

READ: ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

He said, having recognized that the emergence of Boko Haram sect was as a result of illiteracy, lack of education and poverty, he has personally offered himself out of his tight schedules to teach lessons for two hours each during school time to complement voluntary teaching services.

Cross River to deliver IDPs housing unit in March

The Cross River State government has expressed its determination to deliver the first phase of 5,000 housing units for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) next month.
Commissioner for Social Housing, Edem Effiom, who disclosed this to The Guardian in Ifiang Oyong, Bakassi Local Council Area of the state, said the first phase of 50 blocks, excluding two prototypes, would ease the sufferings of the Bakassi returnees in the state.

READ: ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

“We have about 50 units here, plus the two prototypes. That brings it to 52. And we intend to make sure that by March, this job is delivered. You can clearly see that before the end of the month, these houses must have been roofed and other things put in place. The 50 houses may not accommodate everybody, but a journey of a thousand miles starts with a first step. As a government, we are taking the first step,” he said.

MBAN Prepared to Drive My Own Home Scheme, Says Akinlusi

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

Stakeholders in the mortgage sub-sector have revealed plans to simplify mortgage transactions for aspiring homeowners in the country.

One of the steps, according to them, is the inauguration last year of the ‘My Own Home’ scheme, a Public-Private Partnership created to increase access to housing finance and housing in the country.
The scheme is under the Nigeria Housing Fund Programme, set up by the Federal Government and Implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria with the support of the World Bank’s International Development Association loan.

READ: ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

The NHFP has broad-based stakeholders and partnerships that include the Federal Government; Federal Ministry of Finance; CBN; World Bank; Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing; Federal Ministry of Justice and Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria, with mortgage originating institutions participating in the scheme through the equity stake they took in the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company.

The scheme entitles all Nigerians above the age of 21 and in paid employment to a low interest government-funded loan, according to the stakeholders.

At a media chat recently, the President, MBAN, one of the critical stakeholders, Mr. Niyi Akinlusi, stated that mortgage origination in the country had been very low.

According to him, only about five per cent of the 13.7 million housing units in Nigeria are financed with mortgages, while the industry currently only contributes about one per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

He said when compared with other countries, even in Africa, Nigeria was lagging behind, adding that trying to get solutions to these problems was what led to the initiative.

Akinlusi stated that the ‘My Own Home’ scheme would help revamp the housing finance industry and also make access to housing finance a lot easier through the NMRC, which would providing long-term refinancing of mortgages and standardised mortgage procedure.

“There is also the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, where borrowers with insufficient or no equity contribution can access mortgage for homeownership, and the Housing Microfinance Scheme, which will stimulate increased lending to low-income earners in the formal and informal sectors through microfinance banks for incremental housing construction,” he added.
The Executive Secretary, MBAN, Mr. Kayode Omotosho, said other measures such as involving insurance companies to help investors with equity contribution through their stake in the pension funds were also being worked on.

He stated, “We are talking to the National Pension Commission and very soon, the guidelines will be out and those Nigerians contributing can use up to 25 per cent of their contributions of up to 60 months or five years as equity for mortgage loans.

“In addition to the NMRC, which tackles long-term funding, we also have the Mortgage Warehouse Funding Limited, which will take care of short-term funding. We call this initiative native intelligence to tackle our own challenges. In the past, we must have had issues but now, we need to talk to Nigerians on what to do to own their homes seamlessly.”

According to Omotosho, the recapitalisation of mortgage banks has prepared them for the new initiatives.

He said there had also been improved operational efficiency for mortgage banks with the seamless integration of the customers of mortgage banks into the Bank Verification Number platform and issuance of NUBAN numbers to facilitate online transactions.

“There has also been inclusion of the informal sector with the distinct Uniform Mortgage Underwriting Standards; the amendment of the Pension Act to facilitate withdrawals from the Retirement Savings Accounts for down payments on equity contribution to boost inclusion and reduction in cost of title registration and transfer from 13 per cent of property value to three per cent in Lagos and Kaduna states,” he said.

Akinlusi stated that under the ‘My Own Home’ scheme, 34 primary mortgage banks, four commercial banks and nine microfinance banks had been selected to stimulate housing finance for low-income earners in the formal and informal sectors.

He added that they would benefit from the $15m Housing Microfinance Fund and the $10m Technical Assistance Fund, with LAPO Microfinance Bank as pivot of the pilot scheme in the housing sector.

He explained, “The scheme has set up a framework that will revamp the housing finance sector and also make access to housing finance a lot easier. Unlike the conventional mortgage, the scheme allows beneficiaries to use the loan for the purchase of land and incremental building or renovation.

“People need to know that as long as they continue to pay rents as tenants, they are paying the landlord’s mortgage. They can use this same amount for mortgage and become house owners. When you remain a renter, you have helped the landlord to secure his own house, which will appreciate with time.”

FCTA CONDOLES BEREAVED FAMILY AFTER MAN DIES OF INJURIES FROM COLLAPSING HOUSE.

FCT Administration has sent its condolences to the family of a man who recently passed on following injuries sustained after he was trapped in a collapsing building. Adesola Esho, 43, a former resident of Angwan Saidu, a shanty community located near NAF Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja, had re-entered a structure after a recent demolition exercise.

READ: ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

Unfortunately for late Esho, who had earlier evacuated the building, his re-entry proved fatal, as the building collapsed while he was inside, injuring him. It was learnt that he was rushed to the hospital immediately where he later passed out.
In his condolence message to the bereaved family, the Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Malam Umar Shuaibu expressed regret over the unfortunate incident and prayed God to comfort the family of the deceased.

Speaking to newsmen following confirmation of the incident, the Coordinator indicated that AMMC officials upon receiving the report earlier, sent staffs to confirm the incident, but that the mood in the family did not permit any of the members to speak with the visiting officials. The authorities had to contact the Area Commander of Life-Camp who confirmed that the command was in receipt of the report.

According to the Area Commander, the report indicated that the man had been trapped when the building finally collapsed upon the victim’s re-entry.

Malam Shuaibu expressed concern over certain misrepresentations of the facts of the incident by a segment of the mass media, insinuating that the man was in his house when the demolition machine was in operation.

He said, “This administration is a very humane one and always adds a human face to its efforts to enforce the law. The Administration had posted notices in the community in September 5, 2017 and conducted a sensitization meeting with the squatter stakeholders in October 4, 2017, before a final notice in January 2018. He praised the residents for their cooperation with authorities by evacuating their illegal structures to make room for the operations.”

He recalled a recent Court ruling which upheld the authority of FCT Administration to undertake demolition of illegal structures without prior notice. Shuaibu however added that FCT, with the directive of the FCT Minister, was not taking liberty of the law but has been magnanimous enough to give offenders enough room for compliance through notices and warning before any enforcement action is taken.

He lamented that FCT recently has been swarmed by people of questionable character, who easily find hiding places in hastily constructed shanties and illegal structures. He noted that FCT is a creation of law and structures that do not receive approvals or constitute breaches on the master-plan are usually removed to salvage the city from chaos.

Kuwait Government spending to stimulate real estate

By Mohammad Kamal
KUWAIT, Feb 4 (KUNA) — Following recent recession in domestic development, government spending on housing and construction is forecast to trigger hike in the realty demand in Q1 2018.
It is also predicted that hotels and furnished apartments will flourish, in tandem with execution of government mega projects, namely development of Kuwait International Airport, expanding the Amiri Hospital, constructing Jaber causeway, Al-Jahraa and Jamal Abdulnasser roads, in addition to a number of private projects.


The local property market has been affected with unfavorable domestic and external factors, namely imbalance in supply and demand and maintaining a strict credit policy by the banks.
Other factors have also left marks on the market; such as decline of proceeds from realty enterprise, capitals’ shifting to stock markets, unsteady oil prices, geopolitical events and increase of construction materials’ prices.
Moreover, the sector recent recession was attributed to increase of power, water and fuel rates.
Nevertheless, experts believe that investment in the sector remains safe due to high proceeds, reaching in general eight percent.

READ: ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

Last year, there were bids to stimulate the market; with auctions confined to selling land plots, however up to 20 auctions had to be delayed due to investors and auctioneers’ absence.
Realty experts, interviewed by KUNA, believe that some of the main factors affecting the market are shortage of promoted plots against high demand and rare investment alternatives.
Rents in the investment and commercial sectors have recently dropped by 10-15 percent, they say.
Qais Al-Ghanim, Secretary of the Kuwaiti Real Estate Association, affirms that the market has remained largely in a lackluster status, with trades not exceeding seven percent of the displayed properties.
Some entrepreneurs have been shifting to the stock market, lured by instant profits.
Suleiman Al-Dlaijan, manager of a property agency, says young citizens, who make up 60 percent of the 1.4 million Kuwaiti population, are number one trades’ seekers. Up to 700,000 young Kuwaitis aspire to own a private house, but most of them cannot afford it.
Figures by the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) show that there are 100,000 residence applications per year.
Twelve thousand residential units were distributed last year
Al-Dlaijan believes that hike of power, water bills; restrictions imposed by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) on credits for private housing stemmed the high property prices.
As to trades’ value over the past three years, he said it amounted to KD 4.4 billion (USD 14.5 billion in 2014), KD 3.2 billion (USD 10.5 billion) in 2015 but dropped in 2016 to KD 2.4 billion (USD 7.9 billion).
Abulaziz Al-Dghaisheem, chairman of a realty group, believes that auctions have stimulated the market, however geopolitical factors’ negative impact are still noticeable.
Director General of Athra Real Estate Company Maitham Al-Shakhs forecasts revival of the property market this year, amid predicted economic growth. (end) mke.rk

Lagos Revs Up Economy With New Power And Property Laws

The Lagos State Government has perfected plans to bring about a quantum leap to the State’s economy in 2018 through the Embedded Power Supply Project and the review of the Land Use Charge Law.

The power project, aimed at delivering an estimated 3,000 Megawatts to homes and industries, is expected to lift the economy of Lagos which is Nigeria’s industrial hub, while the revised Land Use Charge Law had been designed to improve the values of property in the State.

The State’s House of Assembly had last week announced the passage of two bills expected to provide the legal framework for the programmes by enacting the Lagos State Embedded Power Supply Law 2018 and the Lagos State Land Use Charge Law 2018.

Both laws are expected to be signed this week by the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.

Speaking on the development, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan said the two strategic laws were part of the grand plan of the present administration to boost the economy and make life easier and comfortable for the people.

He said: “The Embedded Power Supply programme will provide the enabling environment for the private sector to generate not less than 1000 mega watts every year in the first phase of three years by using gas to produce power and distributing the electricity to consumers.

“As enabler, the Lagos State Government will guarantee the off-take of the generated power.

“This new product is expected to expand the distribution network and increase metering capacity of the electricity distribution firms in Lagos State including Eko Distribution Company and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company.”

READ: ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

Bamigbetan said to ensure return on investment by participating companies and encourage more electricity companies to invest in the embedded power sector, the law has been arranged to provide the framework for the government to support the firms in the collection of tariffs and enforcement of contracts.

Speaking further, the Commissioner said: “A novel feature of the law is the introduction of provisions for the prosecution and sentencing of those who tap electricity illegally or use the power produced through the embedded power system without entering into contracts with the companies.

“Defined as power theft, industry watchers believe that this is the first law to provide penalties for a major cause of financial failures of electricity companies and with regular power supply in homes and industries, the Lagos State Government expects a giant leap in the production and growth of the economy,” Bamigbetan said.

Besides, the Land Use Charge Law is considered as the answer to the agitations of residents for a transparent process of determining rates.

Under the revised law, estate valuers authorised to assess and value tenements will ensure that the data are reliable and the indices are explicit.

The revised law also exempts tenements owned by non-profit organisations, religious bodies and public cemeteries and burial grounds.

Source: PM News

Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Donates 70 Housing units for community.

The Vice Chairman of Finima Community Development Committee in Bonny local government area of Rivers State, Mr. Agomienye Tobin, has lauded the management of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) for building a 70 Housing units of four bedroom flats for the people of the community.

Tobin, who gave the commendation during a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, said the gesture was commendable as it would give the people of Finima community a sense of belonging. He stated that the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of NLNG in the community has really given the people of Finima a face-lift and great joy, and called on other companies to emulate NLNG in community development projects. The CDC Vice Chairman thanked the Managing Director of NLNG, Mr. Tony Attah for his managerial ability of handling issues concerning the company and the community, enjoining him to keep up the tempo. Tobin, however noted with dismay that there are plans by NLNG to rent the building through some sections of the community without sharing the building among the three major chieftaincy houses in Finima namely Tobin, Brown and Attoni respectively, as it is the right thing to be done to avoid conflict. He stated that the rumour making the rounds could cause communal crisis which would deter the development and progress of the community, and appealed to the authorities of NLNG to Jettision such plans in order not to tarnish their good image, reputation and the good things they have done for the people of Finima Community and Nigeria at large. Tobin assured that FDC will always ensure that peace reign supreme in the community as no development could strive in an atmosphere of acrimony, rancor and infighting. He reiterated his appeal to the management of NLNG to always maintain their good relationship with the people of Finima Community as FDC is ever willing to continue to synergy with them to achieve set goals.

Source: ANAYO ONUKWUGHA

Why building collapse won’t stop in Nigeria

Building collapse has dealt great blows to Nigerians across all sectors, affecting public buildings, private buildings, government buildings and even religious buildings. Aside the losses recorded in terms of human lives, properties and other things, owners of such buildings will also have to engage labourers to help evacuate the debris and prepare the place for another project.

The most worrisome is that after any incident of building collapse, authorities will reel out glowing precautionary measures to be taken to avoid future occurrences only to soft-pedal in terms of implementation until another incident is recorded.

Building collapse in Nigeria will not stop until the country changes its approach to issues. Building construction is like a sick person and if you refer a sick person to a carpenter for treatment, it is either the person will die or continue to be sick. So buildings will continue to collapse if the nation continues giving its construction contracts to non-professionals. Until building construction is given to engineering professionals, Nigeria will continue to grapple with building collapse and its attendant effects.

The soil in these areas is sandy and loose, so it is not strong or compacted soil, hence, the need for building construction professionals is usually high here. For most of these buildings, they dig long and strong piles foundation; however, few still collapse. Most three- or four-storey buildings in Lagos Island are at best good for 15 years. Remember the lands are not strong and people build on them using templates used for better and more compacted lands. So what causes the collapse of these buildings.

READ: ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

Boycotting professionals

This issue has been overflogged both in print and electronic media but the same problem still persists. There is also the problem of egghead professionals who believe they know all and are not ready to take advice from a colleague. There are known cases like that, that have turned awry. For instance, some of the big buildings collapsing in the Lagos business district were handled by professionals.

Cutting corners

The issue contractors trying to make gains at the expense and lives of users of the buildings is another problem that has to be tackled. There should be a check from policy makers to ensure specification is thoroughly followed by contractors.

Human activities

As insignificant as human weight may seem, the moving up and down of live loads and dead loads contributes, over time, in no small measure in wearing down a building. It may take a long time though, but houses also expire and in the case of the types of buildings we have in Nigeria, their lifespan is shorter than others in the civilised world.

Inadequate foundation

The foundation is the most important part of a building. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not giving adequate monitoring to this and it is causing more problem. A registered Structural Engineer is very important to you if you are planning on building a strong and solid multi-storey building.

Aging building

Many do not know that buildings also have their lifespan. Most of the buildings in Lagos Mainland have lasted for 25 years and above, despite that they were built on shallow foundations and with low quality materials. If you use low quality material thinking you’ll cut cost, then be prepared to park out of that building very soon.

The Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), after reviewing the situation, blamed the incessant cases of collapsed buildings in the country on the high cost of building materials and the use of substandard materials in building construction. They called for the involvement of architects and other professionals in the building industry in the course of executing capital projects in the country. While various experts groups’ investigations are still underway into the cause of the issue, they suggest some possible common problems that include but not limited to the following:

•The foundations are too weak
Adequate foundations are costly and could cost up to half the price of a building. According to a Professor of Civil Engineering, Anthony Ede, at Covenant University in Ota, Nigeria, two things should be considered when building the foundations – the solidity of the soil and the heaviness of the building and its contents. He noted that in the commercial capital of Nigeria, Lagos, the swampy ground requires strong foundations, far stronger than the ones on solid ground. He observed that developers save money that should be spent on foundations when building on the city’s swampy ground and many buildings have collapsed in Lagos as a result. He added that even on solid ground, foundations need to be strong enough for the load.
•Building materials may not be quality ones

A building expert from the African Organisation for Standardisation, Mr. Hermogene Nsengimana, whose organisation met last month in Nairobi to discuss why so many African buildings collapse, blamed materials not strong enough to withhold the load for the incident. He suggests there is a market for counterfeit materials, going as far as saying that sometimes scrap metal is used instead of steel. When a six-storey building in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, collapsed in April 2017, the director of the city authority suggested it had been constructed with counterfeit materials. Nsengimana said there are even cases of counterfeiters faking authentication certificates but stated that contractors also knowingly use the incorrect materials to cut costs.

So they may use concrete intended to bear the load of a one-storey building in a four-storey building.

•Workers make mistakes

Even when workers are given the right materials to make the concrete, they mix them incorrectly. This results in concrete, which is not of the sufficient strength to hold the load. Developers are also fond of cutting costs by employing unskilled workers who are cheaper than trained builders. Research also shows that majority of workers misunderstand the mixing ratios of concrete. People mostly use wheelbarrows instead of measuring gauges to measure cement. By making assumptions with measurements, you are bound to make mistakes.

• Vibration in any surface

When a building is mounted on a porous surface and heavy machines are made to work there, the building is bound to collapse. This goes a long way to describe why vibrations around any building is capable of bringing accelerated aging and structural defects to projects seen to be solidly constructed.

Today, a lot of structural defects are caused to buildings that the authorities that sanction such activities fail to measure the extent of such damages. One among the measures to take to safeguard foundations of buildings is not to allow heavy duty machines do the excavation job around them. This, if allowed, helps in shaking the foundations of the buildings around that area thereby fast-forwarding the speed with which they age and defect.

Reports after reports have documented the fragility state of many buildings and called for the urgent attention because of their critical disrepair state due to aging and degradation. Delaying prompt actions implies a high risk of catastrophic failures and probable human loss. Retrofitting and rehabilitation provide remedies to reduce the vulnerability of those systems. Almost always, data about the structural health of the components in a building being considered for retrofitting or rehabilitation is required for any engineering calculations. Nonetheless, the true structural condition is challenging to the practitioners in many projects because of the complexity of geometry, framing systems, detailing of connections, workmanship, etc.

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