President, Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Tonye Oliver Braide;  Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and other architects during a courtesy visit to the minister, recently


APPARENTLY disturbed that previous homeownership schemes are not targeted at providing social housing, architects have proposed new innovative concepts to government, which will collectively address affordable and sustainable housing for Nigerians.
The models proposed by the Nigerian Institute of Architects ( NIA) for social housing include, development of a contributory scheme that will provide an endless flow of revolving housing finance for low income earners and the informal sector.
Under the proposal, the body also looking at the provision of a property exchange mechanism, where housing is treated as an exchangeable commodity with mobility through the housing types based on income expansion, family size and zoning typologies.
The institute is also promoting has new concepts on mass housing with executing template based on the mass production of the components required to build the house rather than looking at the completed whole. “This will create an architectural value chainin the production process and opens access to a vast array of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) funding at single digit interest rates for component fabrication that culminate in housing development,” according to NIA president, Tonye Braide.
Braide, who unveiled the concepts during a visit to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola in Abuja, said: “Low cost housing will be executed along the mass production templates used in manufacturing industry. Standardization of components will be key and an operating logistics platform can be developed to distribute the components around a localized area network.
“This will result in architectural component fabrication plants in every Local Government Area (LGA)in Nigeria producing everything needed to complete a basic house. The basic raw material will be from local elements occurring in great abundance in the LGA. 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 up- stream jobs will be instantly created.
“The down- stream sector will consist of the masons, carpenters and other artisans. The job creation component will depend on the capacity of the locality to absorb new building construction. The localization of the production process will greatly reduce the cost of house building as high long distance transportation costs of finished products will be eliminated.”
He said, planning of cities have been developed along best practice principles, but the execution process and absence of appropriate governance structures in development control still leaves cities far short of being at par with global competition.
“Architects must be part of the vital professional component in city development control, for our streetscapes must have the right injection of aesthetics and psychological pleasure. Neighbourhoods should be contraptions of beauty to behold,” Braide said.
The architects expressed its readiness to partner with government on massive urban regeneration programmes to recapture the essence of inner city areas and put to good use existing infrastructure.
He said: “Cities across the world regenerate themselves and Nigeria should not be the exception. We have the resources to create top class living conditions for all categories of the citizenry.”
According to NIA President, Nigeria needs about 25,000 architects to fulfil the professional inputs requisite to achieve the right quantum of development, but unfortunately, there are less than 4,000 registered architects in over the 56 years of the Institute’s existence. “There are varying interpretations of the laws governing the practice of architecture in Nigeria, which have to be put right to achieve a total recapture of government’s massive investments in our architectural educational infrastructure.
“We have to be more inclusive and open our doors to all who have had exposure to architectural training. We have to set up a bridging mechanism to bridge all gaps and bring all to join in this call to arms. We cannot prefer foreigners who we do not regulate nor have capacity to verify the quality of their educational background to our local content and capacity, who we can expose to hands-on training to attain best practice professional proficiency standards,” Braide added.

The Guardian