‘Why new build­ing tech­nics are not preva­lent in Nige­ria’

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - GUARDIAN PROPERTY -

at a man­u­fac­tur­ing site and trans­port­ing those sub­assem­blies to the lo­ca­tion of the con­struc­tion job­site. It is a mass pro­duced mode of con­struc­tion and takes less than half the time when com­pared to tra­di­tional con­struc­tion

The tech­nic is be­com­ing the norm, im­prov­ing in qual­ity of build­ing, side­steps the pos­si­bil­ity of un­re­li­able con­trac­tor, un­pro­duc­tive staff and has be­come avail­able with nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits which also in­clude; eco-friendly, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, shorter con­struc­tion time and sus­tain­able con­struc­tion. Whereas, in ex­ist­ing tra­di­tional con­struc­tion meth­ods re­quire ex­tra ma­te­ri­als that lead to in­creased waste.

In the case of con­tainer homes, they are made from the steel ship­ping con­tain­ers that carry goods on trains, trucks, and ships. The small­est con­tainer makes a tiny box of a home at about 100 square feet of floor space. Ex­perts say homes are built with con­tain­ers be­cause they are seen as more eco-friendly than tra­di­tional build­ing ma­te­ri­als such like bricks and ce­ment. Tempo-hous­ing, Nige­rian hous­ing in­te­rior and ex­te­rior firm has lever­aged on this tech­nol­ogy and ex­per­tise to cre­ate a Nige­rian tai­lored so­lu­tions to the hous­ing prob­lem that is quick to build, easy to main­tain, por­ta­ble and most im­por­tantly af­ford­able.

Speak­ing on the de­vel­op­ment, the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Te­tra­manor, a La­gos-based build­ing De­vel­op­ment Com­pany, John­beecroft­toldthe Guardian that the two tech­nics very com­mon at the mo­ment are the use of glass and steel.

“In most of the build­ings around, you see a lot of us­age of glass and steel. This is more com­mon in ex­pen­sive lo­ca­tions like, Lekki, Ikoyi, Ba­nana Is­land and Vic­to­ria Is­land in La­gos. Glass and steel are very ex­pen­sive ma­te­ri­als to build home. The use of glass and steel give you very beau­ti­ful build­ings.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, Nige­ri­ans are also adopt­ing the uses of clay bricks in build­ing their homes as the prac­tice pro­vides low cost main­te­nance in build­ing.

“Clay bricks are ac­tu­ally very ex­pen­sive to build, how­ever, now that they are been mass-pro­duced, they have be­come cheaper. Peo­ple are be­gin­ning to use them. The unique thing about clay bricks is that main­te­nance is lower. Once you fixed it, there are no needs to paint ev­ery year like the nor­mal block­house nor plas­ter it or clean it. Of course, it has its own chal­lenges too like you canít put the pip­ing/wiring in­side clay bricks rather ev­ery­thing must be ex­posed. Build­ing cracks is limited also in the use of clay bricks. Devel­op­ers in the coun­try have been adopt­ing this tech­nol­ogy en masse.”

For him, devel­op­ers in Nige­ria are look­ing for­ward to the adop­tion of pre­fab­ri­cated build­ings where the tech­nol­ogy in­volves con­struc­tion of build­ings in the fac­tory for on­ward as­sem­bly at the build­ing site, only if there are enough funds to im­port the tech­nics to the coun­try.

“This tech­nol­ogy is com­mon in the United States of Amer­ica (USA) and other coun­tries be­cause it is much cheaper and more used for mass hous­ing. The tech­nol­ogy is in the form of mole wall build and ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing the roof­ing done in the fac­tory, only to be in­stalled on the site. Nige­ria does­nít have the tech­nol­ogy. Un­til Nige­ria makes use of pre­fab­ri­cated build­ing, solv­ing the prob­lem of af­ford­able hous­ing will re­main a chal­lenge. The build­ings are lighter in weight, tested and are cer­ti­fied to be durableî.

“In the US, devel­op­ers are us­ing woods to build so that if the wood col­lapsed on the oc­cu­pants, he or she could still sur­vive whereas if a block house col­lapse on oc­cu­pants, sur­vival rate is not vis­i­ble. We need to find the cost of im­port­ing this tech­nol­ogy to Nige­ria to solve the chal­lenge of mass hous­ing,” he said.

On con­tainer hous­ing, he em­pha­sized that some devel­op­ers have claimed that the tech­nol­ogy could be used for a two-bed­room/three room apart­ment as low as N6 million and the con­tainer hous­ing can be ar­ranged up to three or four storeys high. Ac­cord­ing to him, ex­perts have at­tested that it could re­duce the cost of the nor­mal house down by 60 per cent re­duc­tion, which is very af­ford­able.

He said; “We know that two or more devel­op­ers are try­ing to bring it on­board but we are watch­ing to see whether itís some­thing that we could ex­plore. Most of the oil com­pa­nies use them off-site for ac­com­mo­da­tion. The con­tain­ers that are ly­ing in waste in ship­ping houses could be con­verted for that pur­pose. We need the tech­nol­ogy to be im­ported, the skill for work­ers and the buy­ers to have con­fi­dence in the tech­nol­ogy. We must pro­duce it in Nige­ria, work­ers and those who will adopt itî.

The Se­cond Vice Pres­i­dent of Nige­rian In­sti­tute of Build­ing (NIOB), Kunle Awo­bodu said new tech­nics in build­ing con­struc­tion have made ren­der­ing, lay­ing of blocks and plas­ter­ing in build­ing to be very easy to achieve at a faster rate. “Some new ma­chines that molds blocks at high speed are now avail­able in the mar­ket. 3D print­ings are now used for mak­ing the me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents of build­ing pro­to­types. The process is been in­tro­duced to con­struc­tion to en­cour­age mass con­struc­tion. We also have con­struc­tion ro­bots that could do a lot of ac­tiv­i­ties within the con­struc­tion in­dus­try like erec­tion of steels and ly­ing of bricks but our fear is that when you start to en­gage the use of ro­bots, it might lead to un­em­ploy­ment for the build­ing ar­ti­sans.”

He ex­plained that the use of mail-gun with the ca­pac­ity to join 50nails within a minute has be­come an im­proved way for join­ing tim­bers to­gether, mak­ing the process faster in­stead of the use of ham­mer. “Mod­u­lar con­struc­tion has been part of the tech­nics help­ing in mass con­struc­tion of build­ings es­pe­cially pre­fab­ri­cated build­ings. This is more of dry con- struc­tion. Lat­est roof­ing sys­tem and cov­er­ing has helped to erad­i­cate the rust­ing looks of the usual Iron Sheets that get rust eas­ily. In­stead of tim­bers, we have started us­ing steels of light gauges trusses for res­i­den­tial build­ings.”

“The doors are now made of steels, which are eas­ier to main­tain. The win­dow sys­tems are now made of steels, alu­minum prod­ucts and slide in na­ture with glosses. Ceil­ings can now last for ten years and still look neat with the use of PVC roof­ing ar­tillery and it has saved us from the prob­lem of as­bestos. In terms of elec­tri­cal, there has been im­prove­ment in the area of con­duit. We just need funds to im­port the tech­nol­ogy,” he said.

Awo­bodu lamented that Nige­ria is yet to re­ally in­cor­po­rate most of the avail­able tech­nics in con­struc­tion be­cause of the ini­tial cost in­volved and the skills in­volved.

On his part, the Pres­i­dent of NIOB, Ken­neth Nduka said the ap­pli­ca­bil­ity of the mod­ern build­ing con­struc­tion tech­nics must de­pend on the need re­quire­ments of the peo­ple and the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tion.

He said: “We have a chal­lenge in our econ­omy right now, let ev­ery com­mu­nity look at what is pe­cu­liar in their lo­cal­ity and adopt it. Any ap­proach to lo­cal ma­te­rial, will en­joy gov­ern­ment pa­tron­age and would cre­ate more jobs. For ex­am­ple the use of mud hous­ing in Nige­ria, if the tech­nol­ogy is im­proved, it will solve the hous­ing prob­lem and cre­ate thou­sands of jobs.”

Fab­ri­cated con­tainer homes in United States

Con­tainer house built in Nige­ria

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