As refurbished Surveyors’ Tower is commissioned

By Jude Njoku

THE Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) building in Lagos, refurbished at a cost of about N250 million, was last week commissioned by the Minister of State for Works, Ambassador Bashir Yugudu who used the occasion to call on construction industry professionals to support  the Federal Government’s National Integrated Infrastructure Master plan.

The renovated eight-storey building which is located in the Professional Area (Engineering Close) in Victoria Island, has been renamed Surveyors’ Tower by the Institution.

Amb. Yugudu sued for the support and collaboration of the surveyors and other built environment professionals to realise the goals and objectives of the National Integrated Infrastructure Master plan. The Minister who stated that the Jonathan administration has made remarkable progress in the roads sector, explained that right now, a journey from Benin City to Lagos takes about four hours. Similarly, the journey time from Kano to Maidugri has been reduced considerable because the roads are now more user-friendly.

Buttressing this claim, Amb. Yugudu noted that a major player in the roads transport sector, Messrs ABC Transport Company Plc, recently slashed its fares on Nigerian roads because of the remarkable improvements.
He lauded the vision of NIS past leaders, especially the idea of using contractor- financed arrangement to develop the building and for setting up a Board of Trustees, BoT to manage all the landed properties of the Institution.

Yugudu called on other professional bodies to emulate the NIS model.  “This is the best way to go in view of competing demands. People should be innovative and creative and as professionals, we should always endeavour to add value to the system,” he said.

Alternate Chairman of the BoT, Prof Francis Fajemirokun noted that the building which was built by Messrs HFP Engineering Nigeria Limited, with funds provided by the National Provident Fund, NPF, was completed in 1992, but could not be officially commissioned due to objections raised by both the developer and financier.

Developer and financier
“The building has been named Surveyors’ Tower both to indicate unambiguously the ownership and in recognition of the fact that it is one of the tallest buildings around here. The building was fully contractor-financed and construction started around 1988. The building was completed in 1991,” Prof Fajemirokun who as the NIS President in 1992 moved the secretariat of the Institution from Montgomery Road in Yaba to the fourth floor of the new building, said.

Tracing the journey to the reconstruction of the property, the BoT alternate chairman said; “in 2011 during the presidency of Surveyor Maikano, the building reverted to the Institution. In 2012, the Institution realised that all the tenants had been ordered to vacate the building.

This took some time. Furthermore, most of the occupants left their occupied spaces in a despicable and untenantable state. Some even vandalised in an attempt to recover or remove some of their own fittings. The long period of vacating the premises was followed by a period when no one appeared to be in charge and during which suspected hoodlums had a field day, further vandalising the building.

The Presidency of Maikano put in motion the procedure to rehabilitate the building so that it can be let out. The NIS Council approved the appointment of M.I. Okoro & Associates a firm of Estate Surveyors and Valuers as the firm to see to the rehabilitation and subsequent management of the building,” he said.

An elated NIS president, Mr. Bode Adeaga in his address,  lauded Dr Meckson Okoro for working tirelessly to secure a loan of N200 million from Enterprise Bank for the renovation. Apart from the loan, Adeaga said the Institution also raised funds internally “through an arrangement in form of shares (modified for surveyors only) ranging from N100,000/unit over a 10 year refund st different dividend levels”.

State of the building now
Speaking on the present state of the building, Adeaga said everything has been fixed except four lifts which have been commissioned to Feezy Engineering company Limited. The lift contractors who were at the event, assured that the lifts would be installed in the next one month. “A 500KVA generator, a borehole with water treatment system have been installed,” the NIS president said.

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