Property

National Building Code: Foreign investors shun Nigeria over implementation delay

By Adewumi Ojo

With the agitation for enactment of National Building Code for building industry raging and government’s failure to address this, investigation has revealed that foreign investors are redirecting their investment into other countries.

Calls for a building code have been the focal point among the stakeholders and professionals in the sector for over three decades as an effective action from pre-design stage of building to post-construction stage.

Investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect shows that government’s failure to show commitment towards the code that came up in 1987 with presentation to the then National Council on Housing as an attraction for investors is giving room for discouragement to foreign investors who are willing to invest but could not see an effective and efficient building regulation law that will foster and drive their investments for profitable Return on Investment, (ROI).

Speaking recently with NND, the 1st Vice President of Nigeria Institute of Building, Mr Kunle Awobodu, stated that Nigeria with a huge housing deficit concern needs to respect the Building Code for proper regulation and effective monitoring of situation.

According to Awobodu, government’s unconcerned attitude in effecting the building code is making the industry suffer from quack professionals who are not qualified to handle the job.

He said, “We have been agitating for building law and calling for its implementation for effective monitoring of building works and situation in the country.  Substandard products will definitely end.

“When constructing, there are specifications that we must observe under building construction, we must pay respect to those things, when you are given plan approval and at the end of the day, you are not complying with the drawing and what you are building on site is against the approved building plan, all this should serve as a discouragement’.

He called for speedy action on the issue for more investment and development of the critical areas of nation building and help in reducing housing difficulty facing the people.

Also in a chat with NND, one of the key stakeholders in the industry who preferred anonymity lamented n non existence of building code that will oversee activities of practitioners and also provide more efficiency into the industry.

He posited that lack of building code is driving investors out who are scared of the danger in exposing their investment to danger.

He revealed that Building Code  in advanced countries serves as a regulatory procedure by government in creating enabling environment for economic driven synergy and propel investment for the development of economic activities.

“Evolvement of national building code helps in stopping ugly trends in the industry and opens new vista in the industry and eliminates to the barest minimum the incidents of building collapse syndrome in Nigeria, promotes safety and qualitative housing for every Nigerian.

“But government is not working on this, in 1987, the defunct National Council on Works and Housing directed that national building code  be evolved for the country. All stakeholders in the building industry were duly contacted for input.  Unfortunately this document was not ratifies by the then federal executive council in the county..

“The need for national building code became necessary due to absence of planning in the country, incessant collapse of building, and fire incidents, dearth of referred design standards for professionals”. If the Code can be enacted and well implemented by the government it will certainly serve as a tool of encouragement for both local and foreign investors”, he said.

Findings revealed clashes of professions over monitoring, regulations among the seven professions in the building industry in adhering to building standards and its ethics with unqualified hands taking advantage by making use of substandard material and substandard constructions and projects.

The building code agitation arose from the existing condition of the country’s increasing cases of building collapse, use of untested products and materials, lack of culture, absence of planning of towns and cities and clashes of professions among the seven professions in the building industry.

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