Stories by Maduka Nweke, manwek[email protected] 08034207864, 08118879331
Nigeria is a country endowed with natural resources that are abundantly not tapped. The raw materials that abound in Nigeria are enough to liberate the housing sector and make the country materially independent. But not having the raw materials explored and extracted has made the country to continue to suffer lack in so many areas.
It is possible that all the raw materials that go into house building can be made in Nigeria. From mud, wood to iron even though government has developed fatigue to factor the development of the raw materials in the budget. But even beside factoring that in the budget, many have said there is urgent need for government to declare emergency in the housing sector if the mouthed policy of housing for all by the year 2020 is to be achievable. But, whether there is emergency or not the most important thing is self sufficiency in raw materials for building. The way and manner the building raw materials production by federal and state governments on a large scale, the various types of building materials available in states for development.
For government to increase attention to building raw materials it needs to encourage manufacturers. So for the country to develop local building materials, the desire for imported goods should be drastically reduced to local manufactured goods. This however, will increase demand for locally produced building materials as a means to elicit taste for local products.
One advantage of developing building materials locally is thsat, it will be produced to specifications and with local authority inspection and monitoring. Most of the building materials imported into the country are developed in the country of origin based on that country’s local specifications.
An instance of that is the quality of flat sheets & steel reinforcement materials in the construction industry. The production and manufacture of quality building materials is timely considering that the incidences of building collapse have been of serious concern to many stakeholders and has led to avoidable loss of lives and properties.
Major causes of building collapse have been attributed to factors like poor quality building materials, human errors such as faulty designs, faulty construction, foundation failures, use of substandard materials, negligence, omission, ignorance, quackery, sabotage, inadequate supervision, non-compliance to specifications/standards. Although, there could be natural occurrences such as floods, earthquakes, heavy winds among others that could precipitate building collapse, faulty designs and construction arise from defective architectural and engineering drawings owing to lack of feasibility studies, soil and site investigations, poor design details, errors, omissions and inaccurate data coupled with contractors failing to carry out construction in accordance with specifications/standards.
Some quality foreign building materials should act as the benchmark to monitor the quality of goods manufactured locally.
In Nigeria today cost of building materials has continue to soar despite Federal Government’s claim through the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) that the country can provide 70 per cent of its building materials needs. NBRRI has assured many times that since the institute has tested the various materials before, the avalanche of the raw materials within each states will be able to sustain the needs of the population.
According to the Director General, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), Professor Danladi Matawal, some locally manufactured building materials have been tested to match whatever natural disaster that is prevalent in the area while in the manufacturing stage. He has said that using locally-sourced building materials not only saves money for the builder, but can be more environmentally-suited to the particular locality. The decision above was as a result of research and development in the engineering material sector to find ways of minimising the cost of building materials. NBRRI, a public institution involved in research and development in the country, was established in 1978 to conduct integrated research and development in the broad areas of building and road. This institution has either not been given the required support or has not lived up to the expectations. It will be recalled that over the years, the institute’s mandate has been expanded to include research and development in the engineering materials sector and in line with the mandate, it has made significant achievements by pioneering the development of various local construction materials and the equipment required for their use.