Maduka Nweke; [email protected] 08034207864, 08118879331
The first buildings ever constructed were primitive shelters made from stones, sticks, animal skins and other natural materials. While they hardly resembled the steel and glass that make up a modern city skyline, these early structures had the same purpose, which is to provide a comfortable space for the people inside. Although they give the same services, the process of bringing them about is as far as several poles apart. The prices may be the same or similar because as it was difficult then to come by the building materials in use those days, so it is now to acquire the aesthetic building materials in use today.
However, in those days, it did not cost much for one to get himself a shelter. Oftentimes, one could easily assemble his friends, his sister’s friends, neighbours and relatives and all he needed to get the house ready for habitation was provided. This made it easier and cheaper for one to have and own a house. This is not the same these days as one has to go through a lot of processes, collect one document or the other, get certificate of occupancy and also get certified to commence the project.
Buildings today are complex concatenations of structures, systems and technology. Over time, each of the components inside a building has been developed and improved, allowing modern-day building owners to select lighting, security, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems independently, as if they were putting together a home entertainment system.
But building owners today are beginning to look outside the four walls and consider the impact of their buildings on the electrical grid, the mission of their organisation, and the global environment. To meet these objectives, it is not enough for a building to simply contain the systems that provide comfort, light and safety. Buildings of the future must connect the various pieces in an integrated, dynamic and functional way. This vision is a building that seamlessly fulfills its mission while minimising energy cost, supporting a robust electric grid and mitigating environmental impact.
At the most fundamental level, smart buildings deliver useful building services that make occupants productive (e.g. illumination, thermal comfort, air quality, physical security, sanitation, and many more, at the lowest cost and environmental impact over the building’s life cycle. Reaching this vision requires adding intelligence from the beginning of design phase through to the end of the building’s useful life. Smart buildings use information technology during operation to connect a variety of subsystems, which typically operate independently so that these systems can share information to optimise total building performance. Smart buildings look beyond the building equipment within their four walls. They are connected and responsive to the smart power grid, and they interact with building operators and occupants to empower them with new levels of visibility and actionable information.
Buyers lacking the necessary knowledge of the building process forego control of their investment and look to their builder as their sole source for guidance. This reliance upon the builder to fulfill their responsibilities often ends in disappointment.
When you hire a builder, you are hiring someone who is in business to make profit. That means that he will look after his own self interests first, and yours second. Hiring a reputable, ethical builder is certainly important but it doesn’t change the above fact. There is no one that will protect your interests in the building project, except you or someone you might hire on your behalf such as an inspector. Building a new home is probably one of the largest financial commitments you will make; protect your investment by becoming knowledgeable about the process.
Of course, there are a lot of documents you must have at hand to confirm your ownership of either the plot of land you want to build on or the property itself. The Land Use Decree, on March 28, 1978, vested all lands in every state of the federation under the control of state governors. The Land Use Act, coupled with other laws, made it possible for the governor, who is now the owner of all lands in the state, to actually have the power to acquire more lands compulsorily for its own public purpose to provide amenities for the greater good of the citizens.
Fortunately, the government recognises that indigenes of different sections of the country have a right to existence, which translates to a right to the land of their birth. Hence, it is customary for state governments to cede portions of land to the original owners (natives) of each area. An excision means basically taking a part from a whole and that part that has been excised, will be recorded and documented in the official government gazette of that state. In other words, not having an excision means the land could be seized by the government anytime without compensating you even if you bought it “legitimately” from the Baale or original dwellers on the land.
A gazette is an official record book where all special government details are spelt out, detailed and recorded. A gazette will show the communities or villages that have been granted excision and the number of acres or hectares of land the government has given to them. It is within those excised acres or hectares that the traditional family is entitled to sell its lands to the public and not anything outside those hectares of land given or excised to them. A gazette is a very powerful instrument the community owns and can replace a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to grant title to the villagers. A community owning a gazette can only sell lands to an individual within those lands that have been excised to it and the community or family head of that land has the right to sign your documents for you if you purchase lands within those excised acres or hectares of land. If the government, based on reasons best known to it, decides to revoke or acquire your land, you will be entitled to compensation as long as it’s within the excised lands given to that community.
The best way to know whether a land is under acquisition or has an excision covered by a gazette is to get a surveyor to chart the site and take it to the surveyor general’s office to do a land information to confirm whether it falls within the gazette and spell out which particular location it can be found.
A C of O issued by the Lagos State government officially leases Lagos land to you, the applicant, for 99 years. As already indicated above, all lands belong to the government. A C of O, however, is the officially recognised document for demonstrating right to a land. What happens after 99 years? That question is still subject of debate among experts. Most have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Others postulate that as the new owner of the land, you the buyer, can renew the C of O when it expires.