When it comes to national development — the contributions of standard and modern infrastructures couldn’t be underestimated.
In order to erect an infrastructure unhindered, it is Paramount to take cognizance of factors influencing construction. Be it for residential or public use — certain factors needed to be considered.
Besides, have you ever thought of the reasons behind the littering abandoned projects within your locality for a second? Have you ever questioned the rationale behind the variation in costs of constructing similar structures in different locations? If you are yet to find a convincing answer to those thoughts — perhaps you are oblivious of recognizing the underlying factors influencing the aforementioned observations as regards construction processes in Nigeria.
It is no more news that construction team consists of Architect, Builder, Surveyor, Civil Engineer, and Quantity Surveyor — with an individual component of the team taking cognizance and acting in line with their roles towards the success of a construction project being executed.
However, as a professional involved in the construction of infrastructures like roads, bridges, dams, houses, skyscrapers, aqueducts among others — prior to outlining and estimation of probable costs of the project being envisioned, it is pertinent to beware of certain factors that do influence the construction process. Knowing these would help you to prepare and kept you abreast in rising above the likely challenges that could surface before construction commences and how to effectively handle variations in the construction process.
In view of these, here are the factors that could influence construction processes in Nigeria:
(1) Site Location
Site location is a major factor affecting construction process — which needs to be reckoned with prior to the execution stage of the project. The costs of infrastructures across North, East, West and South varies.
There is the high tendency of erecting a structure that costs #30 Million in Lagos and replication of the exact structure in Ibadan could be at the cost of #21 Million.You might even be wondering perhaps the Ibadan project handlers used substandard materials — then, why the stark difference? The reality is that: if they use exact materials of same qualities, the cost of acquisition of land in Lagos differs from the acquisition of the same size of land in Ibadan, the payment of laborers/masons differs across locations — due to standards of life and the cost of living.
All these are what affect the cost of erecting similar structures across diverse regions in Nigeria.
(2) Nature of Soil/Terrain
The soil/terrain type and soil composition of the proposed project site ought to be ascertained through preliminary survey and an in-depth geotechnical analysis. Depending on the result of geotechnical analysis of soil composition, site terrain and structural loadings; a befitting foundation would be chosen from the different types of foundation that exist.
The type of foundation and cost of erecting foundation on a firm soil would surely be different from a water logged land and likewise on water. The foundation cost is to be reckoned with.
Most times, the money spent on the foundation in areas where lands were claimed is enough to erect a bungalow structure on a good terrain land.
Also, the cost of routing a road across plain terrain differs from a proposed similar road navigating within hilly terrains. In hilly and rocky areas, the cost of blasting rocks would surely accrue to the entire cost of the project.
(3) Financial Capacity of the Client(s)
At the project’s conception stage, the Architect/Civil Engineer will discuss with the client(s) towards ascertaining: the kind of structure(s) he wanted to erect, the preferences of the client(s), the kinds of people expected to use the facilities and importantly, the financial strength of the client(s). The financial strength of the client(s) does dictate the tunes of the project.
These clues would help in designing and constructing cheap and quality structures for the client(s) — without incurring any extra costs above the capability of the clients.
Architect/Civil Engineer’s decisions should be based on these conditions unless the Architect/Civil Engineer wants to float a project running above the client’s pocket.
(4) Cost of Materials/Inflation
Depending on the nature of structure to be erected — having put into consideration the preferences of the client, this would influence the type and grade of materials to be used. If the structure is uniquely designed, there is a tendency to consult manufacturing company in producing specially customized components for the structural members.
If the material is specially customized, the cost involved in procuring such components might be more than using the common structural components.
Having ascertained the materials needed, availability and material cost the next nightmare is inflation. Especially, knowing full well that Nigeria relatively depends on imported materials for construction and now that Naira is fluctuating against Dollar — no wonder the costs of imported construction materials also vary.
These factors are essential because no meaningful construction can take place without taking cognizance of materials costs and inflation.
Government’s policies largely affect construction processes. In a situation where a structure is meant to be erected adjacent to a road — the setback as specified by the Urban and Regional planners should be strictly adhered with. Not adhering to this could lead to the demolition of the structure in the future — perhaps, if the need arises to expand the existing road.
The structural designs and the building to be erected should be endorsed by the various regulatory bodies.