‘Nigeria can leverage prefabricated buildings to curb homelessness’
To beat homelessness, experts have for the removal of impediments hindering adoption of prefabrication buildings to ease housing delivery. Despite the reality that real estate sector is one of the leading contributors to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), new building production techniques are not being fully explored in the country, to provide fast, timely and cheap homes for Nigerians.
The failure to adopt new construction techniques by developers, authorities and other relevant stakeholders has worsen the sector’s deficit estimated at over 20 Million and continued low ebb contribution of the sector to the GDP as it contracted by -2.31 per cent, from -3.84 per cent recorded in Q2 2019, and -2.68 per cent in Q3 2018.
A Director at Echostone Development Nigeria Limited, a property development company, Sammy Adigun said prefabrication which is a system building is the way to go in order to attain volume of housing required.He said that to build one million homes and reduce housing deficit in Nigeria, “There would be need to plan equivalent of 300,000 homes yearly for the next ten years which amount to 3 million homes and then you know that you housing 20 million people in 20 million new homes.” Adigun declared that system home is a way to de-slum and achieve that feat, stressing that technologies are needed.
Adigun explained that through the use of systemized technology for housing, 53 per cent carbon saving for sustainability can be achieved.For him systemized housing techniques are cheaper for mass housing in the long run, wherein more money is saved as well as materials and the earth.
“You use less materials, less water and you can calculate everything and make it more efficient but when you are doing something that has no calculation, its subject to wastes and losses”
According to him, the mangers and authorities’ mind has to change to adopting technology for housing stressing that contrary to opinions that it takes away jobs, technology creates more jobs especially creating platform to do more with less resources. Adigun blamed the absence of the technology-enabled housing production techniques on ignorance on the part of some housing managers.
“Easiest way to do mass housing is to de-slum and build them up, go into high-rises. Then people can move back to their houses choosing any floor they want. Instead of living in one bedroom flat”, he said.
Another developer, Mr Toyin Adeyinka said the reality still remain that Nigeria has to look inwardly and adapt prefabricated housing techniques to the housing sector.
He said, “The money that could be used for importing technology is not there again. We just need to be innovative and creative on things that we can use and the government has to set the tone and demonstrate leadership. Building design specification should be in such that it calls for local building materials like wood, clay bricks and doors that are readily available”.
Adeyinka said the scarcity of the building production technique could be hinged on the high cost of setting up and buying the prefab concrete plants.
“It is capital intensive but it’s something we can do. Prefabricated building could be made of concrete and you have to have a big plant incidentally I have worked in factory like that while abroad. It makes construction faster. Government should encourage developers to develop such factory, build factories that use prefab concrete members, then, it is a very good process. These are areas that developers and investors require support from the Central Bank of Nigeria”.
The Chief Operating Officer, REFINHOMES Limited, Kazeem Owolabi also said that the initial cost to get the prefabricated equipment especially the modulars is still quite expensive to set up.
According to him, Nigeria also lacks the technicalities and handling as well as the potential to provide training for the technicians who would manage the process.
“When you get all that necessary things into place, the issues of sustainability of the process is rare. If you train, one to five people particularly the human capital in Nigeria is wrong. When you train people, they can just disappear to find somewhere else and start something without any certification. The data base for regulating the technicians is not there”.
According to him, there will also be need to get the true test of after building implication of the model or how eco-friendly such building technique is in Nigeria as against what is been done elsewhere.
“That is why most developers stick to the process of bricks and mortals because there is continuity in those one. We think that Nigeria has not even perfected the brick and mortal to our ecosystem like wind and way we should be operating. Some of the inches of the blocks are too thick. Our block holes, a lot of people are shifting to the type of holes in blocks used in Lebanon,” said.