Lagos CBN Building
Bennett Oghifo writes that the Central Bank of Nigeria believes its reputation as the nation’s money institution will be better served with a state-of-the-art building instead of its more than 50-year-old relic at Tinubu Square, Lagos Island
First, it was the Lagos State Government that came up with a vision to redevelop the central parts of Lagos Island into high streets. Now, there is a conflict of structures, as most buildings in the Lagos Central Business District (CBD) are looking derelict against the well-paved roads.
The roads have transformed the CBD into a new neighbourhood and it is even spiced with a rejuvenated water fountain right at the heart of Tinubu Square, facing the new building of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
What it looked like
When it was first developed, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) building at the heart of Lagos Central Business District was an edifice to behold and copy, because of its elegant design. Unfortunately, it is not so anymore. The old building was neglected when the CBN headquarters was moved to Abuja’s central business district.
As it is said in the construction industry, the building’s integrity is not in doubt, but her reputation as a well maintained structure sank faster than the Titanic as soon as former Governor Bola Tinubu commissioned the reworked business district.
Obviously embarrassed by this slide, the managers of the bank have decided to build a new structure like what they have in Abuja, complete with intelligent fittings and, to do this, will spare no expense. They expect N32 billion to do the trick and, to make it better, have put the job in the hands of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc., which has been mobilised with a good percentage of the contract fee.
The new office building for the Nigerian Central Bank that is being constructed in the economic metropolis of Lagos is designed as a world-class facility.
The Central Bank has special requirements for the project, particularly intelligent security and building systems.
Well, this company boasts it has wide experience in the design and construction of durable and functional buildings, these being valuable assets for its Clients. Office Buildings, it said require an intelligent combination of functionality and architectural appearance to create a positive working environment.
Julius Berger has been briefed to remodel the more than 50-year-old Lagos Office to give it a modern look like its peers around the world just like its Abuja cousin. The building is designed as 19 storey L-shaped structure.
It is a very functional design with major consideration for user-friendliness. On account of this, six of the 19 floors will be used as car parks and 13 as office space.
Central Bank’s Headquarters Complex, Abuja is a 70m high complex located in the Central Area of Abuja. With its outstanding glass and granite facade it is a landmark of the city’s centre. It was also developed by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.
The building consists of a central atrium with four office wings, a spacious auditorium seating 500 people, a three-storey car park, a service block with five generators and other ancillary buildings. The total gross floor area is 99.500 m².
The extremely short construction period made it necessary for Julius Berger Nigeria Plc to develop a structural system to fast-track the superstructure. The main tower consists of a combination of precast elements and insitu concrete.
To allow for flexibility for future installations, all offices were designed with suspended ceilings and raised floors. These were installed by local subcontractors. The mechanical and electrical facilities are state-of-the art and include fire detection and fighting systems in compliance with international standards.
Due to the sensitivity of the client, CCTV and access control systems were installed. A central air-conditioning system provides a pleasant room climate for the 4.500 employees.
To ensure the continuous operation of all building installations, a 10-Mega Watts power house, 2 water wells and a water treatment plant were installed.
The building was also provided with a basic sewage treatment handling facility. Fifteen lifts, including two panoramic ones in the atrium, were installed. To facilitate maintenance of the external facade, including the acoustic paneling in the atrium, a total of seven electrically operated suspended cradles were installed.
“Before the current effort, the Bank had in November 2006, explored the possibility of refurbishing the structure and invited tenders from prospective building contractors. “The bids submitted for the refurbishing ranged from N12.0 billion to N22.0 billion. The management of the Bank decided that it was more cost effective to rebuild the edifice.”
“Consequently, fresh bids were invited in February 2007 from reputable contractors. This second tender process was concluded in June 2007 with Messrs. Julius Berger Nigeria Plc winning the contract in the sum of N32.3 billion including 5 per cent VAT with a completion period of 37 months. The effective cost of the project excluding VAT is, therefore, N30.9 billion,” said officials of the Corporate Affairs department.
While stating that, “the project is expected to have minimal disruption to the Bank’s services. Staff to be affected will be relocated within Lagos,” they said, “The Bank would like to use this opportunity to appeal to the general public especially those to be affected by the reconstruction project to bear with us.”
Construction of sustainable buildings is a core competence of Julius Berger. The company has a history of building perfectly engineered and designed buildings, which are reflective of both client as well as Nigeria specific requirements.
Julius Berger’s Role
Julius Berger has moved into site and is raising the building after pile works. Although no completion time-frame is known but at the end of construction it is expected that the edifice will measure up to or even surpass the CBN’s headquarters’ building in Abuja.
Julius Berger designs and builds administration, commercial and industrial buildings, hotels, hospitals, airport terminals, sports facilities and entire residential districts.
The company provides forward looking facility management solutions, which ensure the useful life of a building is extended and maintenance costs are significantly reduced. It has the specialized knowhow needed to construct buildings that meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for certification.
The company‘s subsidiary, Abumet, supplies turnkey projects with facades, windows and doors; high quality furniture and interior fittings are supplied by Julius Berger‘s own furniture production facility.
The new CBN building’s electrical, plumbing, fire fighting and air conditioning works are being undertaken by Etco (Nigeria) Limited, a leading electrical and mechanical engineering contracting firm.
Etco has, over the years, completed and handed over a large number of projects of all sizes, ranging from hotels, office blocks and residential complexes to factories and industrial facilities.
Some of these projects are; Lagos City Hall, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, UBA, Marina, Lagos, Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki, Mobil House, Victoria Island, National Assembly Building, Abuja.
Etco has its headquarters in Lagos, but has branches in Abuja and Port Harcourt. It became a subsidiary of Electra Ltd, an international company and one of Israel’s leading businesses.
CBN Building in Lagos
The former headquarters building in Lagos was built before the bank went into operation in 1958. It was the most beautiful structure of its time, and the designers made adequate room for its functionality that has made it to live up to modern challenges in office accommodation.
However, the managers of the bank believe another building needs to be constructed to take care of future challenges. Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency also commended the speed of construction work, saying it indicated that both the CBN and the contractor, Julius Berger were seriously making efforts to complete the building on time.
The committee said it would speak up where and when things were not done properly in the course of their tour of all CBN’s projects.