Worried by challenges in the industry, professionals under the aegis of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Lagos State Chapter, have called on Federal and state governments to reduce homelessness by commercialising researches on alternative building materials in the country.
The experts spoke during a press briefing organised by the NIOB chapter on its forthcoming builders’ conference and yearly general meeting, in Lagos.
Leading the call, the treasurer of the chapter, Mubarak Gbajabiamila, said the adoption of local content would be a potent measure to ensure effective housing delivery for Nigerians.
According to him, it is crucial for the government to invest in the commercialisation of research into local content and alternative building production to boost housing production.
He said, if the government encourages the use of local content, it would add value to the economy in form of growth and make local professionals relevant in the scheme of things.
“If you look at Lagos, our construction is usually expensive and this is part of the reasons for building collapse. When what is used to produce is expensive, in the process, people look at alternatives and actually go into shoddy practices.
80 percent of materials building production are imported and foreign exchanges are scarce and the government restricts the use. That means, we need to come back home and invest in local content for effective housing delivery. We have 22 million population and every day, the housing deficit is increasing, ” he said.
He further noted that 70 percent of the big contracts go to foreign firms, adding that the development is a disincentive to local professionals. Gbajabiamila, however, lauded the present administration in Lagos for investing so much to ensure that the state transforms into a smart city.
The Chairman of, the Conference Planning Committee, Olusesan Phillips, urged stakeholders in the built environment to tackle the incessant collapse of buildings.
He listed challenges bedevilling the sector as invasion by quacks, infiltration of substandard materials, penetration of the industry by scammers, corruption, lack of effective monitoring, lack of political will, and sabotage, which are responsible for building collapse in Lagos.
He said while the government has been unrelenting in efforts to forestall incessant building collapse, professionals and the people must admit that the state government cannot do it alone.
Phillips said: “The limitations on the part of the government include manpower for effective monitoring, funding, equipment and technology, bureaucracy, corruption, lack of political will, continuity of policies and inducement of officials.
“There is a need for government to utilise teaming professionals in the private sector for monitoring of building construction sites.”
He said the conference, entitled, ‘The shifting landscape – redefining the real estate industry,’ will attract all stakeholders in the built environment, especially developers, building materials manufacturers, professionals in the building industry, government officials/regulatory bodies and investors.
In his contribution, the Chairman, of the Lagos chapter of institute, Mr. Lucky lsename, emphasised the need to engage core professionals, who are trained in the art and science of building construction, the importance of soil tests on construction sites, and proper documentation to tame structural failures.
“We need to do things right from the start and when we get it right, buildings will stand the test of time. We must not compromise facts and professionals,” Isename said.
The immediate past chairman of the chapter, Sunday Wusu, there was the need to inculcate Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) concepts in every actor of the industry, to increase adherence to the rule of the day, create a conducive for professionals and ensure that the society is devoid of building collapse.
He said: “Companies that take into cognisance and value ESG, will never be involved in the collapse of buildings that will cause loss of resources and lives. Procedures and processes for safety and doing things right are enshrined in their mission statement and model of operations,” he said.