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‘Modern construction techniques can bridge housing gap’


Biodun Odeleye

Biodun Odeleye

A professor of Civil Engineering, Danladi Slim Matawal has advocated the adoption of technologies and materials that reflect the concepts of ’Modern Methods of Construction  (MMC), which encapsulates the cost reduction in construction to bridge the housing gaps in Nigeria.
According to him, this could be achieved by taking advantage of the speed of construction and sustainable materials in construction process. Matawal’s position was contained in a paper titled: “Reducing Housing Cost Through Modern Techniques and Construction Materials”, and delivered at the 5th NIESV National Housing Summit, 2016 with Theme ‘’10,000 Housing Units in Each State of the Federation: Issues and prospects’,’ held at Port Harcourt, River State.
According to him, it is important that the Nigerian construction industry shift from the entirety of traditional building to embracing modern ways of building which is focused on building more in lesser time more efficiently if we want to improve the existing housing stock in Nigeria.

Matawal, who is also the Director – General, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, (NBRRI), said the shift in paradigm must emanate from our general ideology about housing and out concept of cost saving in building construction.

He noted that MMC encompasses a wide range of techniques and materials that could also be combined with each other in peculiar cases or for better results, while the principal objective is to cut down on the amount of time required on site to construct a building.

MMC’s advantages, he said, must be tailored into our already existing traditional and conventional methods of construction, while the need to bridge the enormous housing gap in Nigeria should drive all stakeholders in the built environment to take advantage of the economy of scale that can be achieved in large housing schemes using MMC. 
“The construction industry itself is a large and diverse sector due to its fragmentation, geographic and product-type dispersion, labour requirements, materials consumption, and equipment deployment, which are hugely intertwined with other subsidiary industries.
“Rapidly growing population has greatly increased the demand for residential housing, hence the pressure on stake holders in the housing environment to produce millions of houses that would prove affordable and still offer value to the customers.  
“As a result several methods have been and are still being explored to derive a viable strategy to provide affordable and still offer value to the customers.  
He stressed that NBRRI has technologies that have evolved through years of research and development target reductions in the overall costs of buildings, which is achieved by the technology adopted and the choice of materials.

While noting that Building materials in Nigeria has become a large sector on its own and greatly influences the cost of construction, he said, Nigeria is blessed with abundant raw materials dispersed all over the country.
He therefore called for collective effort by all stakeholders in the built environment to embrace MMC by tailoring its inherent advantages to suit our local climes and already existing technology.

Earlier the Chairman, NIESV Faculty of Housing, Biodun Odeleye expressed hope, that the government at the Federal and State levels, would continually facilitate mutually beneficial relationship through cooperation, synergy building and the provision of an enabling environment for housing as a priority area. 
This, he said, could however manifest through a well-focused policy direction, policy formulation and implementation by government in order to register the desired positive impacts on the teeming population that is in dire need of shelter.

Odeleye stressed that the recent economic realities are now more than ever    pointers to the renewed energy, efforts and priority attention that government should devote to the subject of housing. 
The institution, he said, will not relent in the drive to put the subject on the front burner as well as to constantly engage the government until the needful is done.
He also expressed hope that the institution will soon meet with the Minister for Power, Works and Housing for an opportunity to explore better areas of collaboration and to present a compendium of our previous Summits with the communiqués thereon, while working out feasible strategies towards the realization of government’s housing agenda, plan or initiatives.
According to him, it is a plan that meets the peculiar socio-cultural needs of the people.“A plan that would be affordable as it meets the yearnings and income level of the people; a plan that would be amenable to effective post-construction maintenance operations; a plan that would be identified as totally and typically Nigerian.

“A plan that would provide serviced plots in good locations without inhibitions and adaptable structures that would accommodate varying family sizes.
“A plan that would ensure provision of water, electricity, a network of good roads, drainage and other municipal facilities; plan that would allow good security within neigbourhoods or that encourages community policing, accessibility to markets/shopping facilities, places of worship, while accommodating tertiary services within and/or without. 
“These are all relevant issues for consideration and require cohesive planning in a multi-dimensional direction. “We are prepared as an Institution to key into government’s initiative whenever defined and to also provide useful ideas towards the effective realization of same”. He added.

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