Skip to main content

Worried about the challenges in the industry, professionals under the aegis of the Nigerian Institute of Construction (NIOB), Lagos State Chapter, have called on federal and state governments to reduce homelessness by marketing research on alternative building materials in the country.

The experts spoke at a press briefing organized by the NIOB Chapter on its upcoming Builders Conference and Annual General Meeting, in Lagos.

Leading the call, Chapter Treasurer Mubarak Gbajabiamila said embracing local content would be a powerful measure to ensure effective provision of housing to Nigerians.

According to him, it is crucial that the government invests in the commercialization of local content research and the production of alternative buildings to stimulate housing production.

He said if the government encouraged the use of local content, it would add value to the economy in the form of growth and make local professionals relevant in the scheme of things.

“If you look at Lagos, our construction is usually expensive and that’s part of the reason for buildings collapsing. When what’s used to produce is expensive, in the process people are looking for alternatives and actually getting into poor quality practices.

80 percent of construction materials production is imported and foreign exchange is scarce and the government restricts the use. This means we need to come home and invest in local content for efficient housing delivery. We have 22 million people and every day the housing deficit is growing,” he said.

He further noted that 70% of large contracts are awarded to foreign companies, adding that development is a deterrent to local professionals. Gbajabiamila, however, praised the current administration of Lagos for investing so much in ensuring the state turns into a smart city.

The chair of the conference planning committee, Olusesan Phillips, urged those involved in the built environment to tackle the relentless collapse of buildings.

He listed challenges plaguing the sector as invasion by quacks, infiltration of substandard materials, penetration of the industry by crooks, corruption, lack of effective oversight, lack of political will. and sabotage, which are responsible for the collapse of buildings in Lagos.

He said that although the government has made tireless efforts to prevent the relentless collapse of buildings, the professionals and the people must admit that the state government cannot do it alone.

Phillips said: “Limitations on the part of government include manpower for effective oversight, funding, equipment and technology, bureaucracy, corruption, lack of political will, policy continuity and the incitement of officials.

“There is a need for the government to bring in professionals from the private sector for the supervision of construction sites.”

He said the conference, titled “The Changing Landscape – Redefining the Real Estate Industry”, will attract all stakeholders in the built environment, especially developers, building material manufacturers, construction industry professionals building, government officials/regulators and investors.

In his contribution, the president of the Lagos branch of the institute, Mr. Lucky Isename, stressed the need to engage grassroots professionals, trained in the art and science of building construction, the importance of soil testing on construction sites and good documentation to tame structural failures.

“We have to get it right from the start and when we get there, the buildings will stand the test of time. We must not compromise facts and professionals,” Isename said.

Outgoing Chapter President Sunday Wusu said it was necessary to instill the concepts of environmental and social governance (ESG) in every industry player, increase adherence to the rule of the day, create a conducive climate to professionals and to ensure that society is free from building collapse.

He said: “Companies that consider and value ESG will never be involved in building collapses that result in the loss of resources and lives. Safety and doing things right procedures and processes are enshrined in their mission statement and operations model,” he said.