Mr. Toni Nasr, is the Project Manager, Azuri Peninsula, the largest city in the Marina District of Eko Atlantic, Lagos. The project includes three 30+ floor luxury residential towers as well as multiple town houses with ground floor/podium. The three Towers including Oban Tower, Zuna Tower and Orun Tower, comprises seven-bedroom villas on the top two floors, six-bedroom penthouses and two and four-bedroom apartments in varied formats on all other floors. In this interview with Vanguard Homes & Property, he explains the concept of steel and concrete buildings which is in vogue across the world vis-avis the benefits of steel and concrete buildings to construction sub-sector. Excerpts:
Why the choice of steel and concrete method in building and construction as applied in Azuri Peinsula rather than the traditional method?
Using steel and concrete in building construction is time saving, as it allows for speed during execution. Environmental wastes and hazard are also seriously reduced since less concrete and formwork are used. Among other things, using steel and concrete is hugely encouraged for the following reasons. One, it guarantees quality which must be very high, as the steel used is fabricated from the factory with all the required specifications by experts to ensure quality is sustained. Secondly, it saves time. In the case, a lot of time is saved during execution as only assemblage and erection is needed, because time is money.
Are there challenges peculiar with steel and concrete buildings?
Yes. There are two major challenges associated with this type of construction technique: Safety measures (working at heights) and engineering capability. Although we have successfully surmounted these challenges as we see them as opportunities for growth and development. We ensure that safety measures are never toyed with during and after the erection procedures based on our top notch risk assessment and management. Through proper planning of the engineering design and execution, we ensure quality during these processes by making sure only proven, qualified and competent experts are involved throughout who will pay attention to all the details in the factory and at erection phase. There is also the challenge of heavy equipment and haulage services. To tackle this, we have ensured the use of most modern and efficient equipment certified to international standards in all our operations to further fast tract the execution of the project.
What is the adoption rate of steel and concrete in Nigeria?
The adoption rate is quite low as this methodology (composite) is not commonly practised. Most clients/construction companies do not erect composite concrete works because it requires expertise and highly qualified and competent experts and technicalities that very few companies possess. ITB Nigeria is one of the few construction companies that possess the capability. In a few years however, we foresee an increase in adoption considering the huge benefits that this technique offers.
Do you see a potential in the adoption of more steel and concrete buildings in Nigeria?
As I stated earlier, once clients start seeing the benefits accruable to the use of steel and concrete, then more companies will begin to adopt this method. One advantage that would appeal to clients is having a large span area with reduced columns without necessarily increasing the thickness of the slabs, and the safety of having less environmental pollution because of reduced use of concrete. And more so, fabrications are all done in the factory leaving out only the erection and little concrete to complete massive structures. Ultimately, projects would eventually be delivered swiftly hence the steel structure/composite function can be a good option. With the growth in skill of engineers today, there will surely be increase in adoption rate.
Do steel and concrete buildings require specific maintenance techniques?
Like every other structure that requires maintenance, steel and concrete structures have to be maintained too. However, there is no major, regular or specific maintenance techniques required as all elements have passed through all requisite quality specifications and codes and are effectively covered with crisp finishing.
Does ITB Nigeria Ltd. have any other steel and concrete project in the pipeline?
Discussions with prospective clients are at advanced stage and we expect that such projects will commence shortly.
Do you source steel and concrete building materials locally?
Concrete building materials are readily available locally but we tend to import the steel elements as such grades of steel are not produced in Nigeria at the moment. As Nigeria becomes more technologically advanced, we hope to be able to source the steel elements locally.