Architects To Deliver Mass Housing


In line with its desire to complement the efforts of the Akwa Ibom State government in raising the infrastructure profile of the State, the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) has completed arrangement to initiate affordable mass housing project in the state and Nigeria.
Speaking with The Sensor exclusively at the weekend, the National President of NIA, Arc. Tonye Oliver Braide said beside providing housing for Akwa Ibom citizens, he intends to extend the project to other states within 24 months. The initiative is aimed at empowering Architects and also developing housing components for the building sector.
Braide who was in Akwa  Ibom State to begin the initial processes for the commencement of the project; which includes a seminar revealed that the housing initiative is a commercial one in which the houses will be delivered on owner-occupier basis.
Explaining further why the pilot project is to begin from Akwa Ibom State, the National President of NIA noted that Akwa Ibom is a dynamic state.
According to him with the world class infrastructure put in place by past and pre sent government and plans on-going to industrialize the state, affordable housing, Braide noted is required to scale up the city-state posture of Akwa Ibom.
The houses which will be single two and three bedroom flats, with a projected 500 units in the pilot scheme, the President said shall be delivered cheaply. He noted that on the owner-occupier basis, the rent paid becomes the installments towards final acquisition of the property.
In his view, when the project is executed in the entire federation the shortfall in housing which is about 17 million will be brought down.
Architects he explained will be able to participate in the project through equity buy-in, in a cooperative model adding that this will increase their sources of income.
The participating architects he maintained will explore ways of developing technology to provide building components such as doors, tiles, roofing materials among others cheaply, to help keep cost of buildings low.
The foundation for the pilot project which he stated will be laid in February 2016, the President revealed will be operated by Prudential Cooperative Microfinance Bank (PCMFB) which Braide stated is a success story in microfinance banking.
To this end, the National President said he was in Akwa Ibom at the weekend to continue discussions with the Managing Director of PCMFB, Arc. Ubokutom Nyah and the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of NIA, Arc. Iniobong Ukpong.
Explaining that a number of research persons locally and internationally will be drafted to consider the proposals for providing affordable houses to civil servants and other classes of people in Akwa Ibom, Arc. Braide added that “So far, we have looked at the model by Arc Nyah who is a successful architect and microfinance banker and I can say it is realistic that this model can provide affordable housing”.
Arc. Briade revealed that the NIA is currently discussing with international housing finance institutions which will look at the model and expectedly provide the funding for the housing scheme.
Describing it as a private sector driven initiative, the National President however said the NIA is already talking with the Akwa Ibom State government to fast track statutory requirements and other infrastructure for the housing scheme to begin, as well as support proposed seminar.
Also on the high rate of quackery in the building industry,  Arc. Braide noted that the use of non-professionals in building houses and other infrastructure has led to many problems including building collapse and flooding.
Instead of engaging professional Architects to advise and design buildings, he lamented that clients who are seeking cheap but dangerous options pay artisans lower rates but endanger the buildings which are likely to collapse, kill people and lead to more grievous losses.
To avert such situations he said government should enact a law which will make architects the key professionals to approve building design adding that in such a situation it will be possible for people to get quality buildings and value for money.
In his view should a client encounter problems with a non professional, he may not have any association to complain to but if a registered Architect has issues with performance and delivery, of project, the NIA will investigate it and take appropriate actions including withdrawal of license.



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