By Yinka Kolawole
The Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) has commenced moves aimed at facilitating affordable housing in the country by organising a training programme on alternative building technology for artisans. The institute recently organised a training programme for local fabricators on interlocking brick technology in Ota, Ogun State.
Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of NBRRI, Prof. Danladi Slim Matawal, explained that the training for the fabricators include how to produce the machine, production of blocks and how to build houses with them, adding that the exercise was going to be continuous.
“We are incubating the technology, so our sister agency, the National Board for Technology Incubation has selected fabricators especially welders with specialization in block making machines around the country to be trained in the production of the technology and ultimately, if the machines are plenty, we will train them in the production of the blocks as well as building of the structure,” he said.
Matawal said that unlike the compressed brick machine the agency developed in 2002, the interlocking bricks came as an innovation for housing development which does not require bonding, and can be projected for application. He informed the fabricators on the need to take the training exercise seriously, noting that the council members of Real Estate Developers of Nigeria (REDAN) were around to identify those who would be able to produce NBRRI machines to specifications and precision.
A communique released after a stakeholders’ forum recently hosted by NBRRI noted that cost of construction of buildings has gone beyond the reach of an average Nigerian due to high cost of imported building materials and construction technology.
According to the forum, there is acute shortage of accommodation in both urban and rural areas of Nigeria, because housing has not been recognized as an essential social service. “The cost of construction of buildings has gone beyond the reach of an average Nigerian due to high cost of imported building materials and construction technology. There are appropriate indigenous building technologies that can drastically reduce the cost of construction.
“Research and Development (R&D) in the construction and road sectors is inadequately funded. Despite the poor funding of research activities, modest but significant achievements have been recorded by NBRRI in the development of appropriate building materials and road construction equipment using locally available materials as well as conducting researches valuable for housing and road development.
“There is weak collaboration and partnership between NBRRI and stakeholders such as, Academia and Industry. There is a dearth of qualified indigenous artisans and craftsmen in the construction industry. There is also lack of adequate provision of laboratory equipment in Technical and Vocational schools to meet current and future manpower needs. “NBRRI should endeavor to patent her research findings and to disseminate information on them. There is need to carry out further research in the use and application of substitute Cementing Materials.
“NBRRI should champion the training of skilled artisans and craftsmen for the construction industry including certification. There has been technological failure and inadequacies in building and road construction materials,” the communique stated.