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National building energy efficiency code launched

Nigeria’s first building energy efficiency code was officially launched Thursday by the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola.

The programme  is a partnership with German Development Agency (GIZ), Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) and the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

Speaking at the event, Fashola stressed the importance and relevance of energy efficiency in buildings in cost and power consumption saving.  He explained that adopting energy efficiency in building construction would lead to job creation, citing “retrofitting old, non-compliant buildings could create a new crop of jobs that previously were non-existent.”

He said that the building energy efficiency guideline informed professionals on how to design, construct and operate energy efficient buildings.

The national building energy efficiency code is a set of minimum standards for energy efficient building in Nigeria. It was developed and compiled by GIZ, in collaboration with South African sustainability consultants, Solid Green, who served as primary consultants on the code. Input was also received from the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) and the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing along with allied professional bodies including but not limited to the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) and the Green Building Council of Nigeria (GBCN).

The launch was attended by representatives from the private sector, FCT Department of Development Control, professional institutes, regulatory bodies and ministries.

Originally published in Daily Trust

Real estate investments defy economic slowdown, begin modest recovery

Nigeria is expected to continue inching its way towards real estate recovery, as property investors are able to repatriate investment capital, pay dividends, conduct export related transactions and meet other financial obligations.

However, consolidating these relative improvements will require a sustainable regulatory framework that reduces uncertainty in the economy, coordination of monetary and fiscal policies to improve macroeconomic conditions, according to Broll Property Group, one of Africa’s leading property services companies.

The Broll Sub-Saharan Africa Snapshot 2017 – a half-year overview for both investors and occupiers, noted that there was also a silver lining with respect to inflationary pressure in the Nigerian economy. The snapshot contains overviews of the economy as well as the industrial, office and/or retail markets in Nigeria.

Although confidence is emerging in the investor market, it remains too early to determine the extent to which the improving economic indicators and improved dollar liquidity will drive investment activity in the office sector.

In the first half of 2017, no new office deliveries were recorded, however around 52,000m2 of A-grade office space is expected to be delivered to the core markets of Ikoyi and Victoria Island over the next 6 to 12 months.

For instance, the increased dollar liquidity in the economy and the opening of the forex window for investors has boded well for landlords. Transactions which hitherto faced constraints and difficulty, such as the repatriation of investment capital and the repayment of dollar based loans and dividends, are now able to be conducted with relative ease given the improved access to forex in this new window, according to the snapshot.

Specifically, relocations by corporates from B-grade and standalone buildings to better quality space in A-grade buildings in Victoria Island and Ikoyi remained a key theme in the first half of 2017. These relocations continued to be driven by more favourable leasing terms in the market as a result of the vacancies in recently delivered buildings.

In a bid to remain competitive, landlords continued to extend concessions by way of lower rents, longer rent free periods and additional fit-out allowances. Overall, demand from existing corporates as well as whilst most of these corporates opt for newer, better quality buildings in the core markets of Ikoyi and Victoria Island, there were also some enquiries for office space in secondary locations.

Throughout the first half of the year, there was also a resurgence in demand for larger office spaces in the occupier market. Whilst smaller office requirements of 200m2 to 500m2 held sway, enquiries and transactions for spaces exceeding 1,000m2 were noted in the core markets of Ikoyi and Victoria Island.

Average asking rents for office space within these core markets vary between approximately $33/m2/month to $41/m2/month for B-grade spaces, while A-grade spaces have average asking rentals of $54/m2/month to $64/m2/month.

Notwithstanding the respite reflected in some macroeconomic indicators, the harsh reality facing the retail sector remained largely unchanged. Amidst the challenging business environment, many landlords have sought innovative ways of driving performance and increasing the vibrancy in their centres.

Consequently, some landlords have undertaken the reorganisation of their tenant-mix by adding kids play areas and other entertainment activities. Retail schemes that did not have provisions for cinemas in their designs are also looking to retrofit cinema screens into their existing structures.

This slowing effect on the sector has been reflected by slower take-up rates in recently delivered schemes, which have taken much longer to fully let. Additionally, as retailers reassess their expansion plans, there has been more focus on older, more established shopping centres in core markets, causing recently delivered centres in both core markets and second tier cities to record slower leasing activity.

Currently, average asking rents for 100m2 – 200m2 of prime retail space are roughly US$62/m2/month in the core markets of Abuja and Lagos whereas rentals in secondary markets are around US$44/ m2/month. Whilst no new shopping centre developments were delivered in the first half of 2017, around 50,000m2 is expected to be delivered over the next 6 to 12 months

The snapshot noted that the new forex window opened by the CBN for investors is also expected to revive some confidence as landlords are now able to carry out dollar based transactions and meet other financial obligations much easier. As some landlords look to benchmark their rents with the rates offered on the forex window, rents which are quoted in dollars but paid in naira might trend higher as this window offers a devalued naira rate.

For the industrial market, Broll stated that there is a significant mismatch between the demand and supply of stock in the market, but increased activity in the industrial sector will hinge on sustainable policies to revive the industrial and manufacturing base of the country.

This would be strengthened by investment into adequate attendant infrastructure (roads, rail, ports, power, etc.) that can lead to the repositioning of the sector. Whilst the current government’s plan to diversify the economy and reduce the country’s dependence on imports is a step in the right direction, the full impact on the industrial sector will be better determined over the long-term.

The high cost and limited availability of land in desired locations such as Lagos as well as the lack of adequate infrastructure to transport goods from cheaper sites situated further away from commercial hubs reduces the investment potential of the sector. This is further emphasised by the rents commanded which are currently too low to attract much needed investment capital. Average asking rentals for prime industrial space ranges from US$1/m2/month to US$5/m2/month, depending on location.

Group CEO Broll Property Group, Malcolm Horne said: “As African property markets are maturing, tenants are seeking out professional advice and landlords are gradually embracing the needs of multinational and large national space users.

“Both are driving a growing trend towards outsourced property services to further their goals of extracting value from commercial real estate, growing with new developments and optimising financial structures.”

Elaine Wilson, Divisional Director for Research for Broll Property Group said: “Our research teams across Sub-Saharan Africa enable us to advise and provide our clients with knowledge based research across various commercial property segments in these countries.”

Wilson explains that markets across Sub-Saharan Africa differ from country to country, some are less sophisticated than others and what may work in Nigeria for example does not necessarily work in a market such as Mauritius.

Originally published in The Guardian

FG repositioning FHA, FMBN to meet housing needs – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola says the Federal Government is repositioning the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to address the country’s housing needs.

Fashola made this known at the end of the sixth meeting of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development organised by the ministry on Friday in Abuja.

“ FMBN and FHA are being repositioned to play their role more effectively to address the housing problem.

“For example, officials of the FHA have been mandated by the ministry to be repositioned in order to be one of our champions of housing delivery.

“Similarly, the FMBN continues to deepen participation in the National Housing Fund, which forms a reliable pool of funding from which she lends money to contributors by way of mortgage loans to acquire houses,’’ he said.

The minister noted that FMBN had increased its granting of loans to estate developers to build houses for Nigerians.

According to him, the agency currently has 3,823 housing units available for sale in various states of the Federation.

Fashola said the ministry had directed the agency to improve on its visibility and transparency by regularly publicizing offers to interested members of the public.

“Such publicity would contain the housing units, prices, location and eligibility criteria,’’ he said.

He further said the next level of intervention which the ministry was developing would be to leverage on existence of registered co-operatives for the members to own their property.

According to him, experience has shown that very sizable parts of the population who are productive and self-employed have been excluded from formal processes that regulate access to funding, land or housing.

He noted that people could operate successfully and access housing through the co-operative societies.

Fashola said co-operatives had been very prolific and successful in sectors like agriculture and market organisations where the vulnerability of an individual could be transformed into the strength of a group.

“Our Government sees no reason why the successes of co-operatives in these sectors cannot be utilised to facilitate housing delivery.

“We are determined to place the might of government at the disposal of groups who can form themselves into co-operatives.

“This would no doubt provide them the enabling capacity to acquire the land, take loans, build for themselves and operate a rent to own policy.

“When our work on the review of the existing laws, and the processes for eligibility are completed, we will undertake a national launch and enlightenment programme for active use of co-operatives in housing delivery,’’ Fasola said.

The minister said the present administration had improved the concept and design of the national housing programme.

He said the pilot stage implementation had already created opportunities for 653 contractors, and created 13,680 direct jobs and 41,000 indirect jobs.

Originally published in Daily Trust

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.

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Industry Expertise
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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

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