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Nigeria is blessed with many natural resources such as land, sharp sand, laterite, granite, iron ore and wood of various types, yet it still depend largely on foreign materials for housing construction after five decades of independence.
Except sand, granite and wood, most of the finishing materials such as tiles, glass, roofing sheet, doors, sanitary wares, locks, lightings and pipes, including labour are being imported into the country.
Over dependence on foreign materials by government and home builders, housing experts say is one of the major factors responsible for high cost of houses in the country, aside from high cost of land and money.
Worried by the high price tags on housing units, experts comprising developers, builders, architects, town planners and manufacturers are currently canvassing the use of alternative local building materials to arrest the trend.
They noted that despite the manufacturing of different types of machines for local brick’s production, roofing sheets and research on alternative cement by the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NIBRRI), lack of patronage has weighed on the agency of government.
Some of these materials include sun-dried bricks (adobe), cement stabilised bricks/blocks, interlocking laterite blocks, burnt clay blocks, clay roofing tiles and NBRRI brick/block making machines.
As at now, Nigeria has over 17 million housing deficit and would require 740, 000 units built annually in the next 20 years to bridge the gap.
Speaking with the New Telegraph in Lagos, first Vice President of Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kunle Awobodu, said that apart from public apathy, lack of awareness on affordable and alternative building materials have not helped matters.
According to Awobodu, if NIBRRI has researched into alternative cement for housing, it should be publicised and made available in the building materials’ market for public use.
“If the alternative building materials are affordable and available, nobody will jettison them. They should make them available in the market,” he said.
The first vice president said that when materials are produced locally, there is tendency the cost would reduce.