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Stakeholders task planners on best practices, technology for quality delivery

By Victor Gbonegun
08 May 2023   |   3:05 am
Town planning consultants have been challenged to embrace global best practices of value addition, quality product delivery through creative innovation and technology to remain relevant.

Town Planning

Town planning consultants have been challenged to embrace global best practices of value addition, quality product delivery through creative innovation and technology to remain relevant.

Stakeholders in the profession led the call at the 2023 professional development workshop organised by Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) in Lagos. The forum was tagged: “Encouraging global best practices in town planning consultancy service delivery”.

Leading the call, a past President of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Waheed Kadiri, said planners must realise that the essence of consultants in the profession include the need for expertise, objectivity, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, innovation and flexibility.

He said for consultancy firms to survive in the future, it needs flexibility, fluidity, focus and forward-thinking.
” He said planners must place choices based on ethics, values and purpose above things like pay and benefits.

To encourage best practices, the Director, Vistaplan Consulting, Dr. Abubakar Olaseni, said there was need for invigorated publicity and marketing websites, social media presence, continuous technology application like the GIS, drones in data collection and remote sensing.

He also called for robust capacity building in geospatial technologies, adaptation to smart cities in city planning and implementation as well as, branding and rebranding town planning consultancy firms.

For increased efficiency, another speaker, Dr. Ojo Akintayo, said it is imperative that the firm is opened to adopting new technologies to be more effective, and profitable in service delivery.

He said functionality and relevance of the technology to be adopted must be consciously selected particularly within the framework of the available resources to drive such.

Akintayo said: “Some of these technologies are global positioning system, remote sensing, mobile mapping apps, drones, 3D laser scanners, building information modelling, cloud-based project management software and geographical information system.

There should be deliberate skill upscale of the technology. This could be done by nominating a staff for the acquisition of knowledge of the technology, which could be through online platforms such as YouTube, free course platforms and firms must highlight quick wins. These are the immediate gains in adopting the technology that must be highlighted, which should encourage the adoption by the team members and the consultancy firm in service delivery.”

ATOPCON President, Mr. Muyiwa Adelu, said town planning consultancy has come a long way to stay in all areas of national life government as it is the biggest driver of the economy via policies, regulations, and laws.

Adelu said the onus lies on the private sector to assist government by using its regulations and laws to create and sustain employment for the teeming population.

“The highest employer of labour is the private sector. Government role is to create enabling environment to assist the private sector deliver its mandate. As consultants, we have come far notwithstanding unfriendly business environment principally driven by uneasy ways of doing business in Nigeria.

“It is sad that inability of government to rely on physical planning tool to create sustainable and vibrant environmental and economic wherewithal has led the nation to the chaotic life we all experience. But government should be ready to listen and willing to implement suggestions and ideas to help its operations. Town planning consultancy has fared well in Nigeria and can only get better.”

The President of, Nigerian institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Nathaniel Atebije, said practitioners have to work hard to change the existing narratives in the profession

Atebije said: “We must produce professionals who believe in excellence, knowledge and practice endowed with consummate passion and integrity. We must close the doors to arm-chair practitioners who limit our scope of practice.

“We must produce planners who are always ready to investigate and interrogate every challenge in our settlements (from physical to social and economic) to proffer pragmatic solutions through policy and/or design.”

The commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development in Lagos, Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, said the government is introducing the Certified Accreditor Programme (CAP) and Certificate of Structural Integrity (CSIP) as measures to involve tested and trusted professionals such as architects, builders, engineers and town planners to instill sanity and the much deserved confidence in the system.

He disclosed that CAP/ CSIP represent the ideals of adequate regulation and supervision in the building construction industry with emphasis on efficient service delivery.