Builders Advised to Employ new Systems to Avoid Waste



Fadekemi Ajakaiye
Professionals in the building construction industry have been advised to start employing more sustainable ways of construction, as the current system is predicated on a lot of wastages.
This was an outcome of deliberations at an interactive session organised by The Oak Grove, a major stakeholder in nation’s housing sector, in Lagos, recently.

According to the promoter of The Oak Wood, Emmanuel Owo, an Architect, the brainstorming session was designed to focus on the challenges of providing affordable housing in Nigeria. The interactive session attracted the presence of 21 stakeholders/professionals across the building industry and other related fields. Builders, Engineers, Mortgage Bankers, Architects, Real Estate Investors, Flooring/Finishing experts, among others were present at the session.

Owo said “To bring some consciousness of our current realities as a nation to the building construction industry, the discussion centered on: Construction methodology: As opposed to the conventional building construction methods, that is full of wastages and mediocrity, professionals should start moving to modular systems with a little bit of mechanisation to improve efficiency.

“Professionalism: We, professionals in the building construction industry, should adopt the “build more with less” approach to projects without compromising on quality and aesthetics. Professionals are also charged to work with what is REAL and not just what is ideal.
“Quality of labour: The current dearth of semi-skilled labour and the level of supervision imparts largely on the final output and cost of a building. Professionals should pay more attention to the quality of work and also invest in training and retraining workmen, taking people out of unemployment.

“Materials: Local content must be vigorously pursued with the use of readily available building materials. This implies that we must begin to look at ways in which resources that we have in abundance are the materials that form the core of building materials and processes, as this would likely translate to cheaper buildings at the end of the day and also generate local employment.”

He said, “Questions like embracing solar energy must be critically asked and considered critically. The use of polished concrete (e.g. terrazzo), as opposed to imported tiles. Bamboo is a readily available type of wood that can be used in the building process from start to finish because of its versatile range of uses. This is an unexplored alternative to hardwood, imported boards and in some cases steel. It is a cheaper alternative and it is also locally sourced.

“Regulations and standards: There is need to revisit this, as some are not entirely relevant and dynamic with the times anymore. Building authorities will likely not approve some designs and propositions that will enhance affordability due to existing codes and policies. These codes and requirements need to be reviewed in line with changing realities and the demands of urban renewal & regeneration.

“Optimal utilisation of the land: To solve the issues of housing deficit in Lagos State, building lone bungalows and single-family dwellings will not suffice. Land is a scarce resource in Lagos State, which must be fully optimised at all times, this invariably translates to the need to build multi-level buildings to accommodate more people. In designing these buildings, the people that will live in them and the challenges they currently face must be adequately addressed. Power generation, Water, Parking, Noise Pollution, etc must be tackled intelligently.”

The discussants agreed that stakeholders who believe in the vision of affordable housing delivery and are willing to invest in the vision/modus operandi should be invited, that the professionals should develop local capacity to add to the value chain. They resolved to send a Communiqué of the session to the N.I.O.B, N.I.A, N.S.E, Ministry of Housing and other relevant bodies, saying there was need to “increase the local content drive in the building construction industry, to ensure that 60-70% of building components are sourced locally, thereby creating employment.”