Moved to ensure low-income earners own homes, the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) has called on the Federal Government to explore the development of social housing as a solution to the country’s housing deficit.

The NIA stated this during a courtesy visit by its leadership to the office of the Minister for Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.

NIA President, Mr. Tonye Braide, said social housing development was a major area of interest for the architects.

 He said, “Several studies have been presented in several professional development workshops run by the institute and we do have a wide range of executable models waiting for implementation. One of the models is the development of a contributory scheme, which will provide an endless flow of revolving housing finance for low income earners and the informal sector.

“Another model looks at the provision of a property exchange mechanism where housing is treated as an exchangeable commodity with mobility through the housing types and based on income expansion, family size and zoning typologies.”

He explained that the institute had developed concepts on mass housing, which proposed an executing template based on the mass production of the components required to build the houses rather than looking at the completed house.

According to him, this will create an architectural value chain in the production process and open access to an array of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises funding at single-digit interest rates for component fabrication, which will also culminate in housing development.

Braide said, “Low cost housing will be executed along the mass production templates used in the manufacturing industry. Standardisation of components will be key and an operating logistics platform can be developed to distribute the components around a localised area network.

This will result in architectural component fabrication plants in every local government area, producing everything needed to complete a basic house.

“The basic raw materials will be from local elements occurring in great abundance in the local government areas.  While some of the manufacturing plants may be located at off grid locations and powered with renewable energy, other plants may be manually operated.

“If each component fabrication cluster employs 100 persons, then about 75,000 new upstream jobs will be instantly created. The downstream sector will consist of the masons, carpenters and other artisans.”

Fashola was quoted to have said in his response that no community had achieved 100 per cent home ownership, no matter how cheap or affordable.

He added that architects should lead the discussion on the consequences and realities of owning a home, and also help to strengthen the concept of affordability.

“We must be at the forefront of resetting minds about the realities of home ownership. To achieve social housing, the money has to come from somewhere. Nigerians must accept that social housing has to be paid for,” he said.