Stakeholders in the building and construction industry have expressed worries that issues affecting the industry are not included in the manifestos of contestants for political offices in the run up to the February general elections.
According to the President, Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, the construction sector is in a crisis due to mundane factors, which the politicians have failed to pay serious attention to.
“As the nation commences a political transition process through electioneering, stakeholders in the built environment, especially professionals and artisans in the building industry, are worried that issues affecting the industry are not salient in the manifestos of the contestants,” Awobodu said.
The Chairman, Lagos State Chapter, BCPG, Mr. Wunmi Agbaje, an architect, said that since shelter was one of the three basic needs of human beings, sharing prominence and priority with food and clothing, shelter was a human right.
He said, “Yet buildings are the determinants of development gradation, helping to differentiate villages from towns and cities. At this critical time of the nation’s political transition, should major stakeholders in the construction industry fold their arms and watch as events unfold with little or no consideration for their inputs in manifestos that could become the bedrock of government policies?
“Issues, which we implore the incoming public officeholders to address are bureaucratic bottlenecks in the building plan approval process, encumbrances and difficulties associated with the Certificate of Occupancy process and the need for the ministries of physical planning and urban development to outsource relevant professionals to help vet building plans and monitor construction in order to cope with the rapid and vast development of our urban centres.”
Others, Agbaje added, included effective monitoring of land acquisition by the government to prevent squatters building on such land without building plan approval, which mayight result in building collapse.
“However, land under government acquisition should be released on time to people for proper development if the government’s plan for the land is no longer feasible. This will prevent slum growth, which otherwise usually results due to human desire for shelter,” he said.
Awobodu also said that the prevalence of sub-standard building materials in the market should be curbed and quackery eliminated in the construction process.
He noted, “Substandard construction work can be gradually phased out of our history if the government handles the menace with an unalloyed commitment.
“Construction has always been an assemblage of diverse knowledge and experience. To put right the accumulated errors in the Nigerian construction industry requires the cooperation of the government, professionals, craftsmen, artisans, manufacturers and suppliers in the industry. Collectively, we can sanitise the industry and defeat this syndrome of building collapse if the government provides the required backing.”
Other professionals who also spoke on the need for a change in the sector included the Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos chapter, Mr. Ladi Lewis, and his counterpart from the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mrs. Adenike Ayanda.