By Henry Uche
Following incessantbuilding collapse in Nigeria, especially Lagos State, many have blamed the government and its agencies in the real estate value chain who done so little to checkmate the activities of persons / groups directly involved in the constructions chain.
In this interview with the Founder/Chairman- of The Address Homes, Dr. Bisi Onasanya, said he forsees more catastrophe in the sector if an independent body was not urgently set up to monitor the performance of existing government agencies regulation the construction industry since many had accused it of comprising standards.
He also called on professional bodies to show proof of professionalism by conspicuously sanctioning their members who are found guilty in any act causing loss of life and property.
With government agencies and professionals bodies working to ensure safety in the real estate sector, why do building collapse?
Yes those government agencies and the personnel need to be checked as well. They need to be monitored. A punitive measure should be drawn to keep them on their toes. Regulatory bodies are not enough, another independent body devoid of person with questionable character should be instituted to check those professionals or government agencies. This body should be made of people who are not greedy for mundane gains and other gratifications, such people shall be well paid so that they won’t be tempted to compromise with any person or group of persons, these people would not swallow hook line and sinker whatever report they receive from the first line regulators/ monitoring bodies. These people would more dreaded than the already known / existing government agencies. Honestly speaking, I there are men who are ready to deal decisively with anybody caught compromising quality / standards within the real estate construction value chain, no matter who is involved. So we need such body since every finger is pointing at government regulatory agencies who have failed in the line of duty. I see no reason a government agency would issue an order to stop work- within some days or weeks- works continues even when the needful had not been done. Many are blaming the government because as a state institution, it has the power to make things happen or otherwise. By the way, the primary purpose of government is to ensure the welfare of the people are guaranteed, and this includes checking the activities in the real estate which could pose danger to the people, and give an order accordingly, if the government prioritise the safety of the people.
I must say again, most of the government institutions set up to govern construction has gone back to seat. Critically, the system has failed the loopholes created, as I speak there are cracks in the system and this cracks are gradually giving way for destruction and catastrophe to happen eventually what will happen, this is just the beginning of more chaos within the real estate market, because every dick, Tom and Harry who lacks the competent had flooded the real estate without giving a dam. It’s a time bomb if these regulatory bodies are not properly checked.
Who should be blamed among professionals in the value chain in incidences of project collapse
The surveyor is there, the architect is there, the site manager, structural engineer, the valuer, the electrical engineer, every body is involved but we should solely hold the system responsible. Yes because what if a structural engineer gives professional advise and the builder or owner refuse to heed? Sometimes there used to be clashes of advice, but if we have enforcement agencies that carries out stage by stage inspection at every stage of the project / construction , then certification takes place, labourers and foremen watch and ensure they do their workexpectedly, it is a rule of thumb that says, when you move from one stage of construction of any project to another, there need for quality certification, but how many of them are doing that, do you know that many projects of this magnitude has no insurance? It’s too bad.
So when projects owners refuse to take advice and take short or cheaper corners…
That is the case most times. They don’t consider the long run effects of their decision, but they don’t know that though it’s expensive to do the right thing but it’s safer, so they keep looking for shortcut to success. Professionals are essential elements for the start and completion of any projects. Note, being a certified professional is an end to it, some can decide to compromise. That’s where we need a independent third party to check them.
The Address Homes is known for luxury Real estate within the mid Market, upper Market and ultra upper market.
Yes our tag clientele are the HNLs, captains of industries, the politically exposed individuals as well as young and up movers professionals, we essentially build luxury homes from all that cuts across spectra of Lagos, and Nigeria. Our mission is to provide affordable luxury home which means there is clog, you know there is this notion that no one could afford luxury homes unless you super rich, but in Address Home, we have come to address this by infusing affordability and flexibility with luxury. That’s our mission to ensure that as a focused resourceful and diligent individual can own a luxury home, in any way he or she desire. Soensure affordability not compromising quality. Our motto is: Homes built for you in mind. Our core values are to manage wealth increment, and further growth, it means that we enhance your value and funds one invest in our offerings, we improve quality and ensure that,that wealth or assets committed would appreciate within a short while to give you return that are unimaginable.
Nigeria’s real estate sector
It’s up coming and it’s gradually becoming the goldmine more than the oil and gas sector, however we have regulatory issues in Nigeria. It has saturated especially in Lagos and Abuja. It allows error and omission to thrive. Evidence abounds. In the real estate sector, there are bodies that regulate what each professional does, for instance, the recent building collapse, based on findings, if we have standard regulatory norms and values that incident would have been prevented, so it all shows that there is weakness in the regulatory body.
Return on investment. Real estate have served as the best edge against inflation, although you may not recoup their funds in the immediate, but of course, over time, and there is no real estate one invest that’ is a lost.
Innovation we’re bringing to the sector.
The Address Homes is bringing affordability /luxury without compromising quality. We are taking affordability to educate every sphere of Lagos with emphasis in ikoyi and lekki axis. We started it with Osapa London, we have about 54 units of mid luxury detached and semi detached houses around Osapa, we now took the same innovation to Ilason opposite Ikateh, we did about 31 units, of luxury homes, we taking premium to places where people think the low income earners cannot own premium.
So we have done that. We are now taking it to the mainland. We are going to Ikeja GRA by January 2022. We shall replicate it. Look we are taking luxury, taking affordability, quality, opulence, extravagance, taking classical buildings, thats functional and would guarantee good return on investment.
This affordability, can the common man afford… (Cuts in)
Yes, the common man can afford it with a payments plan, over time, what we need to do is work in progress projects. We don’t complete our projects before selling. Immediately we mobilise your foundation to size, we draw up a payment plan pricing scheme whereby one keys in to as low as 20 per cent to 30 per cent. Then we agree, we draw a payment strategy that works with your income and our own expectations that would help you. We also partner with mortgage house to help facilitate finances.
Is real estate the way forward?
Yes it is because it’s a tool for economic growth, development and sustenance infrastructural wise. The cause of the decay in our economy is as a result of dilapidated in infrastructure roads and power, if we have good roads lot of investors will troop into Nigeria because mobility would be eased from one location to another. Real estate has to be decentralised whereby the industries we all seek in the island when there good roads the so called investor and entrepreneurs would decide to establish that same industry within the other side of the environment, and what that means is that there would be job creation, bridging the gap, reduced unnecessary migration and traffic.
Projects that affect the masses
We do a lot of corporate social responsibility with a lot of partners for some organisations and establishments, for confidential reasons I may not mention the beneficiaries.
The only way we can achieve quality construction is by entrenching formidable regulatory and monitoring bodies that would not compromise standard.
Soaring cost of building materials, other challenges
Since most of our clients do not have the bulk of fund to prosecute a project, so we have designed the work in progress scheme that enables them to key into the project earlier stage of construction gradually draw up a payment plan for them to pay across the years of the project, so with the affordable flexibility scheme, they don’t feel the impact of high cost, because we tailored projects according to individuals needs. The hyperinflation is a macro problem. We can only reduce housing deficit, give topnotch/quality houses and ensure that people are not stretched with their income. The major factor causing this excruciating pains can be seen in the economic indices, its bad governance, nothing else.