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Stakeholders urge innovative approaches to affordable housing

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President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Luka Bulus Achi said Nigeria needs to improve on the existing construction methods, materials and speed with which housing units are delivered as the traditional construction method, which still predominates the industry, is wet construction.

With the projection of Nigeria population reaching about 450 million by the year 2050, stakeholders in the built environment are advocating for the deployment of technology to bridge the existing housing gap in the country.

The experts who spoke at a two-day real estate summit themed; “ Innovating, Collaborating and growing to achieve adequate and affordable housing in Nigeria”, held in Lagos expressed the need for innovative approaches to affordable housing sector.

Setting the tune for the discussion, President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Luka Bulus Achi said Nigeria needs to improve on the existing construction methods, materials and speed with which housing units are delivered as the traditional construction method, which still predominates the industry, is wet construction.

He stressed the urgent need for research and development in this area in order to enhance housing delivery for Nigerians.

“We are familiar with number of days needed to expect a suspended concrete slab to cure. Many structures have failed in a bid to cut down time, trying to truncate the length of time of waiting just to find a way of speeding up the process. In view of the cost-intensive nature of the industry and the difficulty in accessing funds for procurement of heavy-duty machinery, it appears that the speed of construction slows down as the structure increases in height.

“The world is witnessing other innovations in 3D printing house construction, which is available for further research in Nigeria. Growing involves process, and construction is actually a process. The challenge is that generally people don’t understand that it is a process, especially some of those in authority. When there is a process, everything must take place at the scheduled time. I believe that the ability to collaborate and innovate should be developed and made to grow to the extent that we then look forward to achieving adequate housing”, he explained.

Represented by the second vice president, Toyin Ayinde, he said: “The general public was more familiar with the term, “low-cost” than with “affordable”. It is difficult to pinpoint the origin of low-cost but it may have found its root in the housing programme of Lagos State Government between 1979 and 1983.

The housing programme was then termed low cost, but what probably didn’t come to reality is the fact that it was also low in provision of infrastructure, services and facilities. Today, it is unlikely to develop same units at the same costs. Truthfully, though, there were indications a few years ago that the government was still making some payments on debts owed since that time, meaning that the units may not really be low-cost as many imagine. Affordability is therefore a more plausible approach, which can be achieved collaborating with the relevant professionals”, he stated.



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