University Lecturer and Building Expert, Ibrahim Inuwa has appealed to the Federal and state Governments to engage professional builders in housing development in Nigeria.
Inuwa, Senior Lecturer, Department of Quantity Surveying, Abubakar Tafawa Bello University, Bauchi made the call in Abuja at the ongoing Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference.
Inuwa, while delivering a paper on “The Imperatives of Builders’ Involvement for Successful Housing Development’’ noted that it was discovered that less priority was being placed on professional builders’ role in housing development in Nigeria.
The don said that involvement of professional builders was highly paramount because through their engagement in housing delivery and in conducting research could enhance housing development.
He said that professional builders were equipped with the requisite skills to guide housing clients on how to develop their needs for housing development and on the most appropriate way to procure their houses.
“For a builder to be imperative it entails him being important within the domain of his operation, this covers a broad area relating to other stakeholders in the construction industry.
“His importance stems from the context of research because his essence is that of service. Thus he is professionally trained and responsible for solving organisational and societal problem related to building.”
Inuwa stated that the problems of housing development in Nigeria were area of interest to professionals in the academia, adding that a lot of research was being conducted to proffer solution.
“For instance researches to discover alternative building materials that are cost effective and environmentally friendly for housing development abound in Nigerian universities and Polytechnics.
This, he said, could contribute to housing development and national economy.
He noted that studies have equally been conducted on how cost of housing could be controlled including studies to enhance the efficiency of contractors for housing delivery.
The Quantity Surveyor, however, recommended that professional builders should be engaged to solve housing problems in the country.
He further said that housing provision has remained a major challenge in the country due to population explosion and urbanisation.
According to him, despite the importance of housing to nation’s economy, housing provision remained a major challenge in developing countries.
“The challenge of housing the poor was particularly acute in the urban areas of developing countries, where explosive expansion of the urban population growth rate and massive rural-urban drift has compounded the housing situation.
“The incidence of overcrowding in the existing housing stock, rural-urban drift has occasioned the sprouting of make shift dwellings or squatter settlements in cities that are devoid of minimum structural and quality.
According to him, majority of the houses are constructed with all sorts of quacks and second-hand materials in illegally occupied self allocated land, badly maintained and lack basic facilities.
He added that lack of provision of infrastructural facilities and the inability of public housing agencies to fund housing development as well as high inflation and interest rates were contributory factors.
He listed others as high cost of building materials, insufficient wage and income distribution, low saving culture, land tenure problem and poor economic conditions in rural areas.
He noted that the focus on finance in meeting housing development has been more prominent when compared to relevance attached to roles of major professionals involved in the decent and adequate housing.
“One of the most influential professional in the housing developmental processes is the builder.
“Nonetheless, the professional builder among other sister professionals in the building industry has been the least patronised.
“The general public is either unaware of the builder’s statutory responsibilities or other professionals usurped its functions.”
According to him, the gap should be filled because the consequences of the gap created by the ignorance are negatively impacting on the housing development programmes in Nigeria.