Top on the life goals list of every adult is the goal of building their own dream house. You cannot beat the joy and fulfillment that comes with living in your own house. So without any doubt, the desire to build your own dream house is a goal worth pursuing.
In helping you achieve this very important life goal, I want to open your eyes to some residential building construction mistakes in Nigeria you need to avoid.
6 Residential Building Construction Mistakes in Nigeria You Need to Avoid
In all our 8 years experience as a construction company, we’ve repeatedly encountered these residential building construction mistakes and advice clients against them.
- Poor Budget Planning
This is the most recurring residential building construction mistake in Nigeria. People begin their dream house construction from a design perspective, rather than from a financial [budget] perspective.
The erroneous assumption is to design the best dream house for yourself and then look for the money to build it. While this may sound nice in theory, experience has shown us over and over again that this approach to building your own dream house doesn’t work.
Rather, statistics shows that this is the number one reason for most abandoned or uncompleted residential building construction projects in Nigeria. Instead of looking for money to implement your dream house design, we advise clients to design their dream house based on their budget.
In other words, we take a budget-to-design approach to construction rather than the popular design-to-budgetapproach that increasingly leads to project abandonment. For us, our goal is to see that your dream house project is completed with the available budget within the agreed timeline.
- Choosing the Wrong Building Contractor
So many factors determine the kind of dream house you end up building, we’ve just identified poor budget planning. Following poor budget planning is the choice of a building contractor.
A contractor is like a medical doctor, making a wrong decision is costly both in cash and in kind. What is lost is nothing compared to what you think you might be saving. Apart from the very obvious headache that comes with hiring an unprofessional building contractor for your dream house project, the future potential loss of lives and properties that follow in the event of a building collapse is unimaginable.
So what are the things to look out for when considering a building contractor?
- A proven track record: their business must be an open book. You should be able to talk with their past customers when necessary, look at their previous works/portfolio, look at the caliber of clients they’ve worked for and check out their reputation.
- Expert teamwork: constructing your dream house is no child’s play and will require the expertise of more than one person. So you do need to look out if there is a solid network of staff, subcontractors and suppliers behind the contractor you are considering. They all must be available and ready to go to work on your dream house.
- Expert Opinion: a good contractor knows their stuff in and out largely because of their training and years of industry experience. You need to ascertain this through your initial interaction with the contractor. And a good way to know if they have got this is the quality of advice you are given pre-project and not during or after the project has begun.
- Deciding to Do It Yourself
For some people, hiring a building contractor is considered a waste of money and so they decide to handle the whole construction of their dream house by themselves. After all, they will simply hire the specialized labour they need for every phase of the project and acquire all the materials needed.
It doesn’t take long for many who have made this residential building construction mistake to realize that they are unqualified for the role they are trying to play. Besides the obvious fact that you have to be an idle person who doesn’t have a job or business to attend to, you also must be very knowledgeable about project management and civil engineering.
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;
- How much personal experience do you have to be competent in the construction process?
- Do you have the ability to recognize and stop potential problem areas as they occur?
- Can you devote 3 to 4 months of “daytime” supervision that is required on the job? Will your own job suffer?
- What is your personal knowledge of the Residential Building Code?
- Do you have the final completed price guaranteed in writing before starting?
- How do you handle cost over-runs?
- How prepared are you for the unexpected?
- Are you insured against injuries on your job site?
- Do you have a Health, Safety, and Environment [HSE] policy in place to minimize accidents?
- Do you have fire and damage coverage?
- Ignoring Necessary Residential Building Construction Laws
Building your dream house in the Nigeria of today, especially in the urban areas is no longer a joke in terms of laws.
Gone are the days when you can just buy a land and start erecting any kind of structure you like without acquiring necessary permits and conforming to building regulation laws. Many residential buildings have been marked for demolition as a result of ignoring these laws.
And here’s the interesting part, this laws are not uniform across the country. There are different laws guiding the construction of residential buildings in different states of the country as well as national laws that equally apply.
This is where a good building contractor comes in handy. They are aware of these laws and its part of their contract to comply with them from start to finish.
- Poor Space Planning
Have you ever been to some personally owned houses and wondered if they were rented apartments?
This is often because of the tightness or smallness of the house. From the sitting room, to the placement of the bedroom and the kitchen, everything seems choked. Little or no space is structurally provided for.
This is what you get with poor space planning when designing your dream house. Except your idea of a dream house is a boys-quarters, I really don’t see why you shouldn’t provide for space in your house. The structural layout of your dream house must be spacious to allow the rooms to be fully utilized.
- Not Using Quality Building Materials
Buildings are essentially supposed to be built to last. And a major part of achieving this fundamental objective is the quality of material used in the construction of the building. Cutting corners with building materials will affect the lifespan of your dream house.
Again, working with a good contractor is a guaranteed way of ensuring the materials used are of high quality. They know the right combination of materials to use and have a network of trusted suppliers to work with.
About the Author
Walter Emediafe is the CEO of www.SapientVendors.com.ng a fast growing construction company in Nigeria 8 years industry experience of providing practical engineering solutions for residential, commercial and industrial clients across the oil and gas, banking, real estate, maritime and construction industry in Nigeria.