The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has challenged Nigerian builders to come up with  building construction innovation  that would not only stand the test of time but would also be suitable for the tropical weather conditions in  Nigeria. 

The event was the investiture ceremony of the 20th President of Nigerian Institute of Building, Builder Kunle Awobodu. The Honourable Minister, who was the Chairman at the well attended ceremony which took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, recalled with nostalgia how pre-colonial mud buildings in Nigeria adequately served Nigerians of that era. According to the Minister, during the raining seasons, the interiors of the precolonial mud houses retained a conducive warmth,  while during the hot seasons, the interior maintained a good degree of coolness. Ogbeni Aregbesola wondered why Nigerian builders have not successfully replicated in today’s Nigeria the concepts of the precolonial buildings which served Nigerians so well. 

The Honorable Minister further lamented that the quality of building materials used in today’s buildings are not suitable for Nigeria weather conditions. He observed that for instance, the corrugated roofing sheets widely used in Nigeria easily yield to the elements; becoming rusted due to the tropical sunshine. And when it rained, the pounding sound  of the rains makes the noise inside the houses unbearable. Ogbeni Aregbesola also pointed out that there are  bound to be adverse health implications in the quality of building materials used which have not yet been fully made known to Nigerians.

Concluding, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola commended the Nigerian Institute of Building for the successful transition from one Executive Council to another. He particularly singled out the new President, Kunle Awobodu, who he described as a personal friend for effusive Praise. According to the Honourable Minister, Builder Kunle Awobodu is an experienced and committed professional with integrity whose tenure as President is expected to take the Institute to the next level.

After his speech, the Minister, an Honorary fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Building himself, was called upon to confer an honorary fellowship on Brigadier General Tunde Reis ( rtd ), who is an Architect and a special guest at the occasion.

 Hon. Ibrahim Almustapha Aliyu, Deputy Chairman House Committee on Urban Development and Regional Planning, representing the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Hakeem Gbajabiamila, who  was the Guest of Honour talked on the acceleration of the enabling Act for the enforcement of the National Building Code to address the building collapse crisis in the Nigerian built environment.

President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Kunle Awobodu called on the federal government to ensure that only those licensed to manage building production and construction that supritend over sure activities in order to check substandard building construction in the country. 

Awobodu  noted that buildings are major barometer of a nation’s physical development,  adding that the quality of such buildings if not compromised , will add to the value of a nation’s investment. He observed that building construction is a delicate work that requires thorough supervision adding that any client that leaves his building project in the hands of artisans without supervision does that at his own peril. 

Awobodu who expressed the commitment of the Institute to develop competent builders,  said it will be countproductive for the growth of the construction industry if competent  builders are not engaged. 

He said,  ” When the number of buildings being constructed in Nigeria is juxtaposed with the number of trained builders , there seems to be a missing link. Quacks are occupying the space meant for competent builders,  it is only a nation that lacks a veritable building regulations that such an aberration could exist”. 

The NIOB president averred that the major problem confronting the nations built environment is the attitude of not understanding and appreciating the importance of appropriate building production management adding that any society that allows the construction of its buildings to become the all comers affairs is bound to reap bountiful project failure in its various manifestations. 

He urged artisans to know their limitations and be mindful of the fact that building construction is a huge investment that they  (artisans) with for selfish reasons. 

“The societal error in this part of the world was that bricklaying or carpentry work was reserved for school dropouts orr dullards.  The technicalitity required in the craftmanship of building trades is underscored by intelligence. The brilliance and competence of artisans working on a building lessens the burden on the builder as there will be less error to correct,  since artisans are working from the quality template provided by the builder,  leading to early delivery of quality building product”.

He expressed satisfaction that there are some graduates from non-construction fields among the 20,000 new building artisans trained recently by the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON)  under the federal government N-Power programme,  stressing that this gives hope for considerable reduction in poor workmanship .

Awobodu assured that the new leadership will sustain the culture of inculcating standard and conscientious practice in its members and we promote creativity and innovation among them for the overall benefit of the nation. 

He also promised to collaborate with stakeholders to ensure orderliness and professionalism in the built industry,  prioritize safety of men and buildings above other interests. 

• Marc Philips