In order to increase homeownership rate among Nigerians, the built practitioners have advocated the adoption of modern construction techniques/materials to fast-track affordable housing. Dayo Ayeyemi reports
Except modern methods are adopted for housing provision, efforts by the Federal Government to bridge the nation’s housing deficit of 17 million units would remain a mirage.
This was the position of housing stakeholders that spoke with New Telegraph at the weekend.
According to them, the conventional way of constructing houses by Nigerians through the use of brick and mortal is too slow to enhance the required speed and economy of scale for mass production to meet accommodation needs, hence the need for alternative methods.
They said the nation would need to provide 700,000 units per annum to bridge the gap, pointing out that the current annual construction of 100,000 houses by government, home builders and real estate developers was too low from the required units.
According to the Managing Director/CEO Afriland Properties, Mrs. Uzo Oshogwe, stakeholders should adopt innovative technologies for mass housing production at affordable rates.
She also canvassed alternative housing materials such as traditional technique like using clay brick and periwinkle shells, adding that prefab method had proved to enhance housing production and reduce cost.
For mass production, Oshogwe suggested the use of precast construction in a reusable mode or form, saying, “it is cost efficient and fast in assembling.”
According to her, research has shown that precast is 23.22 per cent cheaper than cast and paste concrete construction.
Explaining the process, she said: “Prefab home is manufactured off-site in advance; it is usually in standing sections so that it can be moved and assembled. It reduces cost and time of construction.
“Also, periwinkle shell has fine and coarse aggregate in concrete wall- good in construction work. Mud architecture also has 15 and 20 per cent reduction in the overall construction cost of a house.”
According to a former Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development in Lagos State, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, the need for innovating is more pronounced now than ever, saying that the nation needs to improve on its construction methods, materials and speed.
He described the traditional construction method, which still predominates the industry, as wet construction.
“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,” he said.
In view of the cost-intensive nature of the industry and the difficulty in accessing funds for procurement of heavy duty machinery, Ayinde said it appeared that speed of construction was slowed as the structure increases in height.
He called for research and development in this area in order to enhance housing delivery in Nigeria.
The CEO of Afriland Properties compared home ownership rate in Nigeria to other nations, noting that the gap was too wide for evaluation.
She said: “Home ownership rate in Nigeria is 25 per cent, while that of Indonesia is 84 per cent, Brazil is 63 per cent, Kenya is 73 per cent, and South Africa is 56 per cent.”
Painting the horrible picture of low homeownership in the country despite the increasing urbanisation rate, the CEO of Afriland Properties noted that half of Nigerians lived in cities, while 62 per cent of these people lived in slum condition.
She added that the nation’s population growth rate stood at 2.6 per cent. with an increasing urbanisation rate of 4.39 per cent.
Despite the estimated population of 182 million in 2017, she stated that Nigeria’s population has been projected to hit 263 million in 2030 and 450 million in 2050 by United Nations’ projection.
President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kennet Nduka, noted that when tenants paid 60 per cent of their average disposable incomes on housing, it could not be said to be affordable.
To meet the nation’s housing deficit of 17 million, Nduka said that government needed to provide N59.7billion, adding that the issue of affordability could be determined by poverty and challenge of housing, citing that poverty as an index had a lot of effect on affordability.
“Factors for poverty include self-esteem to lack of governance structure and attitude to life,” he said.
Oshogwe identified Land Use Act, poor policy, lack of infrastructure, lack of access to government’s subsidised housing development, poor financial support as major challenges to affordable housing.
She advised on the need to reform the land registry to ease bottlenecks associated with land registration and titling.
Ayinde pointed out that ineffective housing finance was a major challenge in the housing sector.
According to him, it will be impossible to segregate finance from housing, adding that N6 million price tag for housing is not affordable for a lot of Nigerians.
He said: “We must address the fundamentals of poor economy; we need to sort out the issue of housing finance.”
There is need to educate citizens on the use of alternative method for housing construction.
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