Becoming a home owner is a goal most individuals want to achieve. The joy of living in your own house and not having to deal with landlord or other tenants is what many people crave for. And this is a goal worth pursuing. In as much as this is a great goal, there are some residential building construction mistakes that need to be avoided especially as building collapse has been on a rise. Some of these mistakes can lead to building collapse if not avoided. From research, it has been seen that man-made conditions are the major causes of building collapse in Nigeria and privately funded buildings have the highest percentage of building collapse.
Building collapse is a failure in a structure due to its inability to serve the purpose for which it was built. The failure of a structure is not just a result of complete collapse but when any part of the structure or the whole structure becomes unfit for use for the intended loading for which it was designed to carry.
I will be shedding some light on some residential building construction mistakes in Nigeria you need to avoid.
Table of Contents
10 Residential Building Construction Mistakes in Nigeria You Need to Avoid
1. Inadequate Budget Planning
Some people do not consider their financial capability before embarking on their building construction project. They prefer to design their dream house and then try to get money to achieve this instead of designing their dream house based on their pocket size. This is one of the most common building construction mistakes in Nigeria. Looking at it, it may look really nice to design your dream house and then look for funds to achieve it, but in reality this is one of the major reasons for abandoned building projects. So it is essential to design your dream house based on your budget.
In essence, we advise you take a budget-to-design approach to construction rather than the popular design-to-budget approach that increasingly leads to project abandonment. This is to ensure that your dream home is completed within your budget and within the agreed period of time.
2. Not Choosing a Good Building Contractor
Apart from not having a good budget plan, another residential building construction mistake to avoid is choosing the wrong building contractor. Choosing the wrong contractor can be very costly in the short and long run. It can lead to huge loss of money, inferior construction work, loss of lives and properties if it leads to building collapse. This is why you should do some things before choosing a building contractor. Some of them are :
- Do search online and offline and streamline them to about 3, then you can do offline search on them because you need to verify if they will do a good job and provide the services they claim to do OR you can make enquiries from trusted Realtors on the right company to choose to build your house.
- Check if the company has portfolio and ensure it is their work being displayed there. It will even be better if you can go to physically inspect and assess some of their work in their portfolio.
- Check the reviews from their previous customers. You can check their social media handles to see reviews and comments from past clients.
- Check the company’s level of specialization to see if they have the skillset needed for the kind of building you want to build. Also check to see if they have the staff, subcontractors, tools needed for your building project.
- Ask the company for the initial payment you will first make to get your building project started. If they ask for full payment or even 80%, this is too much. It’s better you don’t choose such company. Also, they should list out the cost of materials, supervision etc. They should not just present a total price.
3. Deciding to Do It Yourself Without Having The Needed Knowledge
Some people consider it a waste of money to have a building contractor build their dream home for them since they can hire the building labour they need for every aspect of their project and also get the construction materials needed. This can turn out not really good especially if the owner of the building construction project is not experienced in building construction or civil engineering and if he does not have enough time to supervise the project. Also, even if he has time to supervise but he does not know when a construction step has been skipped or if inferior materials are being used, it can lead to badly built house or to a big loss of money.
Hence, you need to ask yourself some questions before you decide to handle the construction of your house. So before you head out on your own to handle the entire construction of your dream house, here are some practical questions you seriously have to answer;
Do you have the needed construction experience?
Can you free up 3 to 4 months for site supervision. Will it affect your job or business?
Do you have knowledge of residential building laws and regulations?
Do you have a Health, Safety, and Environment [HSE] policy in place to minimize accidents? Etc.
4. Non-adherence To Necessary Residential Building Construction Laws
One thing many people do not know is that there are building regulation laws in every state in Nigeria and it differs from one state to another, so it is not a one size fits all situation. Before building your dream house in Nigeria, you need to know the laws that apply in that particular state. You need to get the needed building approval or permits and conform to the building regulation laws there. Another thing to note is that there are also national laws for building. Not following all these laws this have led to many residential buildings being marked for demolition.
This is why it is important to get a good building contractor that is very knowledgeable. They are aware of these laws and it’s part of their contract to comply with them from start to finish.
5. Using Poor Quality Building Materials
Quite a number of people will prefer to cut cost and use inferior materials rather than paying for quality materials that will serve them long. Buildings are supposed to be built to last. And one factor that can make you achieve this is by using very quality building materials in the construction of your building. Using less than quality materials will affect how long your house lasts. By working with a good contractor with proven delivered projects, they can be helpful in ensuring your house is built with top notch materials since they usually have a group of trusted suppliers they work with.
6. Conversion of Building Type Without Proper Consultation/Over loading
Some individuals go ahead to convert a bungalow to a storey building without proper consultation with structural engineers for possible redesign in structural elements and building foundation. This can lead to collapse because the foundation of a bungalow may not be able to bear the load of an additional storey. Another case is one in which a residential building (e.g a bungalow) is converted to a school building (e.g a storey building) without consulting with structural professionals and without considering that the load the structural elements or foundation of a residential building is lower than what a school building can carry. A room in a school building can have up to 50 people and the whole classes can have up to 200 students or more, this can strain the building and cause collapse. If a building was initially designed to be a home and it is turned into a school which has a library where boxes of books are piled up, the building may strain under the weight and can lead to collapse.
7. No Geographical or Sub-soil investigation
This is another cause of building collapse in Nigeria. If geographical and sub-soil investigation are not carried out before building construction work starts, this means the builders did not determine the bearing capacity of the soil, its settlement rate and the position of the water table. If the strength of the soil is not adequate for the increased loading, it is essential to improve the foundations by doing, for example, piling. But if this step is skipped and a wrong foundation is done, this can lead to building collapse.
8. Lack of Proper Supervision of Professionals On Site
Another cause of building collapse is lack of proper supervision of professionals on building construction sites. Government agencies play a vital role in the construction industry as they are to regulate the codes guiding building construction. If penalties are enforced on violators, it will lead to a higher number of professionals following the due construction process which in turn will lead to lesser number of collapsed buildings. In addition, it is advisable to have quality assurance and quality assurance and quality control personnel check on the construction process, the building materials being used, the workers and faults should be reported.
9. Poor Construction Process And Over-Interference from Clients
Poor construction process is one factor that can be avoided if a highly experienced and knowledgeable building contractor is contracted for the building construction job. Then for the case of over interference from clients on a building construction job could lead to building collapse. This is because some clients would push the contractor to ensure their instructions are carried out. Then the contractor obeys the client’s instruction in order to keep his job thereby forfeiting constructing a safe and sturdy building.
10. Lack of Maintenance
Usually, when houses are built with quality building materials, it is easier to maintain. Maintenance costs are usually lower in comparison with houses built with inferior materials. The maintenance of buildings culture in Nigeria is not as high as it should be. Many people prefer to just live in their house and will not bother with proper maintenance of the house or building until there is one issue or another and repairs need to be made. If proper maintenance of buildings are done, then more building issues will be detected early before it leads to house collapse which will in turn save lives and properties. In essence, individuals should be sensitized about building maintenance and how to check for building failure because building failure happens before building collapse.
In conclusion, if all these residential building construction mistakes are avoided, the rate of building collapse in Nigeria will be highly reduced.