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Experts differ on effect of technology on mass housing

By YINKA KOLAWOLE

Experts in real estate sector have expressed different opinions on the possible impact of local technology on the development of affordable housing in Nigeria.

Some realtors are canvassing that traditional method of using mortals and bricks for buildings be continued, with the use of artisans, while others are calling for the use of alternative methods of building in construction of houses.

In his opinion, President, Nigeria Chapter of International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), Mr. Kola Akomolede, said that the conventional method of building houses should be maintained. He noted that adopting alternative technology in housing provision in the country may be counter-productive, in that it might render many engaged skilled and unskilled labour within the sector jobless.

“I believe that more policymakers, specifically the ministers, should be at conferences like this to listen to international and professional solutions to our housing and real estate chagrin. They should not just send representatives who end up giving second hand reports. The solution to our problem is right under our noses we just need to take the right que,” he stated.

For Afolabi Imoukhuede, Nigeria’s representative to UK’s Department For International Development, (DFID) Support Programme for the Construction and Real Estate Sector, it is high time serious consideration be given to the adoption of alternative technology in mass housing schemes in the country.

He asserted that contrary to the view held by some, the use of alternative technology would not cause job loss, but will actually lead to job boom in the sector. He however, noted that many of the conventional technicians would have to improve on their knowledge to keep abreast of development in the sector to be relevant globally.

According to Imoukhuede, “lots of solutions abound, however, the problem has been how to turn these solutions into action, which is one of the reasons why this conference is important. This conference crystallise with DFID’s objective to significantly address the affordable housing quagmire. We believe that with the vast array of speakers all issues in the real estate sector will be covered.”

In her opening address, Ruth Obih, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, 3Invest Limited, organisers of the conference, said the objective of staging the event is to integrate all aspects the real estate development cycle under one pavilion as it recognises the integral status of real estate in economic development.

She noted that though realtors have been coming together at different fora to discuss the challenges in the housing sector and proffer solutions, the challenges have remained. “Our focus is to bring in Nigerian experts doing well outside the country and some within the country to come and split open these dialectics.

This approach has been adopted because in our view, the real estate industry is an interdependent system where no particular section can function well without integrating with the other.

“We found that individual discussions and solutions as it has been the tradition over the years, has recorded marginal success and will still continue to be insufficient until concerted efforts, like the Real Estate Unite, are made to interlink the issues and forge a common front,” she stated.

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