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Architects call for FG’s audit of regulatory agencies

Piqued by the frequency of building collapse in the country, the President of Nigerian Institute of Architects, (NIA), Tonye Briade has called for an audit on the activities of regulatory agencies in the built environment, especially on their relevance to national development.

Braide spoke at the third Distinguished Architect’s lecture delivered by one of Nigeria’s distinguished architects, Olufemi Majekodunmi at Green Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.

He lamented the frequency of building collapse in Nigeria, saying each building that crumbles to the ground is therefore a statement of failure on the regulating agencies and such may raise questions on their relevance.

According to him, if Nigeria is aspiring to be one of the leading 20 nations in architecture, we must rise to collectively stop the spate of building collapse in Nigeria. “The buildings are coming down at an average rate of one per month with great fatalities. This is totally unacceptable for a country repositioning towards becoming relevant in global affairs in the industry. It means that something is critically wrong with the structure of building construction administration”, he said.

Extolling the role of architecture in construction technology, Braide said architects are not taking the blame for the crumbling buildings in our cities away from design failures, but building collapse is also due to poor governance structures in the construction process than architectural design failure alone.

His words: “ So we may ask who has charge to establish and enforce good governance in the construction process. When a person presents himself for a job he cannot do, it is corruption and Nigeria has the mechanism to fight and contain corruption.

“This when extended to the regulatory process in the construction industry will create a pathway to stop the continuing collapse of buildings and make our Country Great Again Architecturally”, he noted.

He thanked Obasanjo for leaving a legacy for future generations and even onto eternity and pleaded that NIA make a little contribution within the complex where all students of architecture before finishing six years of studies must make a pilgrimage to understand the core of civic and moral education, good governance, discipline and decorum.

“We must all understand the full import of the exemplary leadership you gave to our country which will enable us, become good corporate citizens. Nigeria still has room for five additional Presidential Libraries, which should create work for us all as architects”, he added.

Braide also extolled the guest lecturer, Majekodunmi  for distinguishing himself in the area of architecture , saying he served the profession magnificently, having been a president of our Institute and rising to the Presidency of The International Union of Architects

On the lecture, titled: “Architecture as the cradle of civilization, Braide said although civilisation existed along with the architecture of the people, “we have left our manufacturing capacity to lag behind emerging civilizations, while our architecture now propels the economies of other nations.”

Majekodunmi said the cradle of humanity reside as in Africa, saying African architects should make sure that the Whites copy from them and not the other way around.

Citing the case of Eredo monument in Ijebu discovered by Patrick Darling in 1999 and described as the largest city in the ancient world, he said that such monument which measured a towering 70 feet, signifies that Africa is the birth place of human existence and original people and parents of all humanity.

He also disclosed plans to build a centre for the training of artisans in Abeokuta to address inadequate skill in built environment.

Builders tasked on innovative materials, construction technology

Professional builders have been urged to up their games in order to deliver quality buildings and affordable housing through a mixture of innovative building materials and construction technology.

Leading the call at the 47th Builders Conference and yearly General Meeting of Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) in Bauchi State, Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar, said there is need for builders to revitalize the ailing economy and fight corruption as well as reform the building industry with needed package to increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) .

The governor, who was represented by the speaker of Bauchi State House of Assembly, Kawuwa Shehu Damina said attaining this required that builders in the industry be focused despite the present economic challenges confronting the country.

According to him, “today offers opportunity for builders to provide platform of understanding, relationship between the construction sector which account for 40 percent to 60 per cent of Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF).”

NIOB President Tijani Shuiab called on the federal government and professionals in the built construction industry to take a holistic view on activity going on in the fields of construction .

The conference, he said is aimed at providing essential reading for built environment business leaders, policy makers, researchers and community influences to adopt advanced construction technology which requires an appropriate design, commitment from the whole project with suitable procurement strategies, good quality control, appropriate training and careful commissioning.

Shuiab opined that for built construction industry to grow in Nigeria , it will required advanced construction technology which cover a wide range of modern techniques and practices that encompass the latest development in materials technology, design procedures facilities management, services, structural analysis, design, and management studies.

“Incorporating advanced construction technology into practice, can increase level of quality efficiency, safety, sustainability and value for money therefore is often a conflict between tradition industry methods and innovative new practice and this is often blamed for the relatively slow rate of technology transfer with the industry”, he said.

He further outlined that the global competiveness of Nigeria’s construction industry will give concrete design and construction practices of today which is set to look into broad range of challenges faced by the performance of the materials to environment and safety issues, relating to materials and properties.

The Chairman, Marketing and Corporate Affairs Committee, Prof Y. Izam , said the institute has adopted a major resolutions, which include committed leadership, synergy between professional bodies and deliberate policies on institutional training and capacity building in the building information modeling, designers of building should utilize tourism potentials of the environment with respect to materials, culture and construction technologies.

Izam, who doubles as the second vice president of the Institute, stressed the need for a paradigm shift from conventional waste management practices to modern waste practices such as construction material recycling.

Originally published in The Guardian

Facilities Management: Why You Should Outsource

In 2011, statistics revealed that residential, industrial and commercial sectors used up 24.5% (131,000 PJ) of the world’s energy flow, with a colossal part of it wasted due to inefficiency (Business Insider).

Research has also proven that managing energy consumption and facilities in-house could deter your organization from achieving its business goals and strategic objectives.

Your facilities are part of your assets. Good management will increase its productivity, boost efficiency, ensure durability and enhance your competitive advantage.

Here are the top 3 reasons outsourcing is becoming more and more attractive by the day:

It is Cost-effective                                                      
Outsourcing will have a positive impact on your bottom line and this is definitely one of the most attractive advantages.

Industry Expertise
Hiring a professional facilities management service provider gives you the opportunity to leverage the experience these industry experts have.

Focus on Key Business
Not outsourcing your FM needs would distract your organization, especially if you are in an entirely different industry. Outsourcing this task will allow you focus on your core competencies and pursue your purpose.

Click here to see our  FM services.


Key global cities see prime property prices rise 4.4%

Prime property prices in key global cities increases by 4.4 per cent in the 12 months to June 2017, with Guangzhou in China recording the biggest rise at 35.6per cent, the latest index shows.

Although Guangzhou leads the rankings, the data from the Knight Frank prime global cities index also shows that all three Chinese cities tracked recorded a decline in annual growth compared with the first quarter on 2017.

Beijing recorded the largest drop, down from 22.9per cent year on year in March to 15per cent annual growth in the second quarter of 2017, the figures show.

In Toronto, a city affected by new regulation aimed at curbing buyers from overseas, the annual growth of 20.7per cent suggests a level of resilience but quarterly figures show a slowdown. Prices increased by 8.5per cent in the first quarter of 2017 but by 5.1per cent in the second quarter, according to Propertywire.

Overall, 28 of the 41 cities, some 68 per cent, recorded flat or rising luxury prices over the 12 month period and this figure has remained largely static in last two years.

According to Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at Knight Frank, a more valuable an indicator is the market direction of each city. That shows that cities in Asia, Russia and the CIS account for ten of the 17 cities that have seen their rate of annual growth decline compared with last quarter.

Conversely, cities in Europe and Australasia are well represented within the group that have seen a rise in their annual rate of growth compared with last quarter. Cities such as Madrid, up 10.7per cent, Berlin up 9.7per cent, Paris up 8.8per cent, and to a degree Dublin with growth of 3.8per cent, have seen a marked increase in their annual rate of growth compared with a year ago.

“Whilst safe haven flows, Brexit and a recognition of these cities’ comparative affordability may in part be responsible so too is the recent delivery of higher grade stock in these markets,”said Everett-Allen.

Although prices in prime central London fell 6.3per cent in the 12 months to the end of June, the quarterly drop of 0.3 per ent was the lowest quarterly fall recorded since early 2016. “While there was an element of hesitation ahead of the general election on 08 June, anecdotal evidence suggests activity has been relatively healthy since this time,” she added.

Originally published in The Guardian

Bello commissions 300 Abuja housing units

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has commissioned 300 affordable housing units and performed foundation laying for the development of more housing units at the Kaba District  along  Kubwa road.

The minister, who was represented by the FCT permanent secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye said  that there was “no housing deficit in Abuja, but there is deficit in affordable housing. Go everywhere, you see estates locked up, and fanciful estates that people cannot afford to buy.”

He said as for the new houses  one bedroom costs  N6million , two bed room starts from N10million to N12million, adding that it is affordable.

“With the help of the Federal Mortgage Bank that we give our civil servants loan and the Federal Government Staff Housing Loan Board is there for our civil servants to access loans and be able to afford this. So, these are the kinds of things we are asking people to do, not to build houses that are not affordable.

“FCT Administration embarked on the project to give teeth to President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts in tackling housing deficit in the country and ensuring good shelter for all, as one of the basic needs of life,” he said.

He said that  the issue of  empty plots has become a thing of the past in the territory  as  phases I to III of the city has been fully allocated “while what remains of phases IV and V is all we have currently. Consequently, the FCTA is emphasizing allocations to groups and institutions as well as high-rise developments to use the few spaces remaining to benefit the greatest number.”

On the issue of private developers taking land for mass housing and selling it, he said: “That has stopped. That is why the minister has suspended mass housing allocation. We are sorting out all these, talking to developers.

“The era of where people take land and sell is over. Now, you don’t take land and receive title. If you want to develop now, you have lease agreement for development. It is when we know that you are serious, may be up to three years that we start talking about giving you title. So everything is restructured now. It is not like before.”

Originally published in Daily Trust

SON harps on quality building materials

The Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr Osita Aboloma, has called for collective efforts towards finding lasting solutions to the incessant building collapse in various parts of the country.

He made this call in his address on “the importance of quality flat sheets & steel reinforcement materials in the construction industry” at Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) Ikorodu Cell Seminar held Wednesday in Lagos.

He said the theme of the seminar  is not only apt but has come at a time when incidences of building collapse have been of serious concern to many stakeholders and has led to avoidable loss of lives and properties.

He challenged the seminar participants to come up with practicable solutions that will address the building collapse menace and minimize wastages and losses.

He said, “Causes of building collapse have been attributed to many factors, mainly human errors such as faulty designs, faulty construction, foundation failures, use of substandard materials, negligence, omission, ignorance, quackery, sabotage, inadequate supervision, non-compliance to specifications/standards. Natural occurrences such as floods, earthquakes, heavy winds among others could lead to building collapse. Faulty designs and construction arise from defective architectural and engineering drawings owing to lack of feasibility studies, soil and site investigations, poor design details, errors, omissions and inaccurate data coupled with contractors failing to carry out construction in accordance with specifications/standards.”

He noted that all the  known causes of building collapse underscore lack of compliance to codes/standards requirements associated with the  built sector.

Originally published in Daily Trust

Lagos pays N8 billion compensation to property owners

Amid complaints trailing the Lagos State’s urban development agenda, the government said it has paid about N8billion compensation, to individuals and groups whose properties were affected by key projects and development in the state in the last one-year through its Land Bureau Unit.

Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Urban Development, Mrs. Yetunde Onabule, disclosed this at a One-Day seminar on, “Urban Tinkers Campus-The City We Need” denied that government forcefully evict people without taking into consideration their welfare.

According to her, compensation were paid promptly by the government on any land acquired by the government for public interest with presentation of all necessary documents by affected persons, group or organisation.

She listed the affected areas to include; the Abule-Egba link bridge, Oko Baba Sawmill relocation, Isale Igangan regeneration project, Olorunsogo Market, Mosafejo community and the Epe Phase I road expansion, among others.

Onabule said that the government would consistently advocate for the titling of all lands in the state and urged the people to obtain governor’s consent on subsequent transactions, regularise and register their titles with appropriate authority.

Reacting to the liveable index number, which the state was ranked, the Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello said the state government is delighted to be one of the 74 Urban Thinkers Campuses worldwide.

He said the development confers on the state the privileged of being one of the global centres providing a platform for stakeholders in sustainable urbanization to exchange ideas, forge partnerships and develop solution to the challenges of urbanization in contemporary modern cities
“As a mega and fast development city, Lagos State is strategically positioned to play a leading role in propelling development on the continent. Not only is Lagos the economic capital of Nigeria, it is the fifth largest economy and fastest growing city in Africa with population of over 22million people.

The huge economic opportunity available in Lagos State makes it a major destination for prosperity seekers which translates into thousands of people migrating into the state on daily basis”, he said.

The state’s commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Anifowoshe Abiola lamented that the major challenge facing Lagos is the massive influx of people into the state.

“This trend combined with the fact that one –third of the world’s population reside in slums, emphasizes the urgent need for high quality urban design and planning with effective implementation”, he stated.

Originally published in The Guardian

How to Buy a Trouble-free Home

Not many joyous moments compare to when most people purchase their first home.  The reason is simple; it’s one of the biggest financial investments and that moment is truly emotional.

How would it feel if that asset turned into a nightmare? A real nightmare. Unfortunately, a lot of people spend more time and energy researching their next automobile than they do on a property they would like to buy.

Several construction defects such as faulty wiring, foundation damage, leaking roof and even legal issues, may arise after purchase. Buying a home could be a long and intricate process. It is important to follow the steps below in order to reduce or totally eliminate the possibility of these nightmares.

Know what you want

Having a clear picture of what your want automatically reduces your search period. Reasonably, your agent should not take you to a 5-bedroom apartment when you gave him a brief for a 3-bedroom. It ensures a good use of your time.

Thorough inspection will protect you

Every single detail matters, so you need to look beyond the color! To make sure your potential home is in a good condition, engage an independent professional to inspect the property. In the case of used houses, you should note the required repairs and request for a discount accordingly.

Conduct a title search

Clear title to a property is one of the most important factors to be considered before purchase. There are various means to investigate the title and it is a must to engage in the process of retrieving documents evidencing events in the history of the property, to determine relevant interests and regulations concerning that property.

Get a Lawyer to review your contract

A lawyer can help you avoid some common problems with a home purchase. Realtors often use standard forms, expecting they will cover all circumstances or will be easily customizable for unusual circumstances.

Your lawyer will review the contract on your behalf and interpret unclear clauses. Never agree to or sign what you don’t understand.

Happy home hunting!

NITP urges FG to set up urban, regional planning commission

Bothered that Nigeria is not keying into new wave of creative urban planning that helps cities evolve, town planners have urged the Federal Government to set up a national urban and regional planning commission.

The commission is supposed to formulate national policies for urban and regional planning; initiate, prepare and implement National Physical Development Plan, regional and subject plans as well as establish and maintain urban and regional planning standard.

The Second National Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Toyin Ayinde who made the call at the First Annual Lecture Series organized by the Centre for Planning Studies, Lagos State University, Ojo in conjunction with the Nigerian Institution of Town Planners, Lagos State Chapter at the University Campus, said such policy direction will promote sustainability and inclusiveness, which are components of Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030).

Speaking on the theme: “Evolution of Lagos into a modern megacity: The role of effective stakeholder engagement”, said that for Lagos State to attain the status of a modern megacity city status, political leaders must engage in wider consultations and of the citizenry in the implementation of physical planning and development.

He lamented that experience has showed that most decisions for town planning and physical development in the past, are influenced by the chief executives’ interest or the interest of a few, which has often put a lid on the extent of progress that could be achieved.

“We must recognize the people as the key element that determines a city’s success; embrace the idea of “People before Things”. Most of those in governance have reasoned the other way, putting things before people. We must place value on man: Consider the logistics around human development, investment in people: small businesses, affordable housing and education should be top priority.

“Let’s do all in our power to ensure the vibrancy of our city, make it beautiful and functionally efficient. We can give life to it by investing in all the development plans we really need, and implementing them faithfully. It is an assignment for everyone and all stakeholders in the human settlement system. We can make our cities more inclusive and sustainable”, he said.

According to him, Lagos has given practitioners in the built environment cause for concern over “Life on land” stressing that experience from time to time is that there are quite a number of challenges which include; building collapse, deficits in housing, flooding, crime and insecurity, traffic congestion, power failures and unemployment amongst other.

In his remarks, the Director, Centre for Planning Studies, (LASU), Prof. Ayo Omotayo said the centre instituted the lecture series because there is the need for marriage of ideas between the ‘town’ and the ‘gown’ for Nigeria to produce best brains in the town planning profession. He appreciated the Lagos state chapter of NITP for the partnership especially bringing in someone who has seen it all in terms of practical aspect of town planning, to debut the lecture series of the centre.

Prof. Omotayo commended the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun whose vision and support for the centre and the entire university has brought to fore tremendous physical, moral and academic development of the institution.

According to him, with history having showed the course of development of Lagos, from its humble beginning of fishing and trading towns, with a scanty population, to a mega city whose population is estimated to be over 21 Million residents, noted that the dynamics of urbanization has set on the state than any other cities in Nigeria.

He therefore said: “What residents want is provision of affordable and adequate housing; Road redesign, construction, upgrading and rehabilitation; Integrated (multi-modal) transportation system and traffic management; Waste disposal and functional drainage systems to prevent flooding; Health care delivery: Security of lives and property; regular power generation, distribution and supply; Urban design: greening, landscaping, open space beautification, recreational facilities; Security of Tenure; and Ease of Doing Business.

Originally published in The Guardian

Stakeholders seek creation of National Housing Council

A tentative outlines of the shape of things to come for housing and settlements development in Nigeria may have started to emerge, as key stakeholders last week ended it’s talk shop and endorsed a workable guide for the beleaguered sector in Abuja.

The effort, coming at the instance of the 11th Abuja Housing Show organized by Fesadeb Limited yielded a lot of dividend. The stakeholders agreed that there is the urgent need to create National Housing Council, where operators and professionals generate viable solutions as interest rates of 27-30 per cent cannot build houses for rent or for affordable long term outright sale.

The three- day parley attended by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who led discussions, noted the urgency in critical reform in the housing sector to tackle shortage of skills, lack of artisans, and create jobs opportunities as well as bringing down interest rates, ensuring government incentives to both individual and corporate interests as it is practiced across the world.

According to the participants, government can and need to intervene in critical sectors like housing because of its potentials to generate employment and curb corruption. “Affordability is not cheapness; it is a system that allows one to buy what he would not be able to purchase at the moment and conveniently pay later.

“We need appropriateness of innovative finance and infrastructure in order to address the country’s housing deficit of over 17 million units. That, there is the need to build at least one million housing units per year in spite the problems of high cost and high interest finance, through appropriate government policies.”

They noted that housing for the poor or social housing programme needs at least N1 Trillion through private sector, but mainly public sources  to also  stimulate economic growth for the entire country. Hence, federal government should contribute N100billion and mobilizing business and private sectors to also partake in the programme. The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) needs to be recapitalized to provide decent houses for people in line with the provisions of the programme.

The stakeholders observed that multi-finance approach to housing programmes also requires critical evaluation to enable partners, like the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC) play their roles effectively. The contributory pension scheme should be explored to make available funds for investment in stable outlets like housing.

The innovations in the sector can create jobs even through informal markets feeding housing construction value chain and other related sub sectors.  Instituting innovative solutions could also tackle housing infrastructure problems. “We need to identify our responsibilities and assign them efficiently.Construction of houses should reflect culture and not to destroy traditional architecture that also relates efficiently with other areas like roads, recreational and open spaces.”

Accordingly, the summit said that experts’ attention is needed to address deficit issues by examining the increasing phenomenon of vacant houses in Abuja in order to be made affordable to those in need. Affordability test, for example, can determine those in need and can afford housing, because salary alone cannot fund mortgage, resulting into housing units not been affordable by the contributors because salaries could not service present mortgage arrangements.

In the communique issued after the summit, they advocated for full involvement of public sector as exemplified by Lagos and Bauchi states in funding more infrastructure resulting in housing delivery and job creation. They agreed that subsidies must reach single digit lending rates by banks and mortgage companies.

Attention was drawn to the fact that there are problems of housing shortages, but, the size of the problem should not dampen our enthusiasm to find solutions. Although, adequate housing provision is a global problem,

“We need to build between 700,000 and 800,000 housing units annually in order to manage present crisis, yet, less than 100,000 units are built every year. To achieve this, we need to extend the frontiers of affordability by including cooperatives, the self-employed and the unemployed that provide wide opportunities to our economy and families.”

If the right attention had been given to housing, the country would not have been in regression today. Issues of equity contributions, loans to construction companies, and high interest bank guaranties, often faced by financiers can be tackled if government can fixed limits to their demand.

The government need to leverage land acquisition, titling processes and charges in addition to providing durable infrastructure. This will bring the needed vibrancy to the sector, allow private sector to do and achieve high results.

There is the need to have uniform underwriting standards for the self-employed, non-interest, and fore-closure laws. Mortgage banks are to be encouraged to give out more loans.”

And different approaches like rent-to-own, can be used to provide affordable housing to the people.For wider innovative solutions, we need to get other parties in the business of housing and real estate development involved for affordability, availability, and acceptability of housing and housing infrastructure.

Originally published in The Guardian

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