Building a House in Nigeria: 5 Critical Factors to Consider

Building collapse in Nigeria has been a long-term unfortunate occurrence that seems never to go away. November 2nd, 2021 is another day that wrote itself in the history book, particularly for the residents of Ikoyi community in Lagos. The said building was reported to have reached 21-story before crashing. While investigations are still ongoing to unearth the cause of the disastrous event, there’s a high propensity that the crash has to do with the foundation construction.


In this article, we explore the five causes of building collapse and what we need to do to mitigate it as property owners, real estate developers, and government agencies.


Building Collapse in Nigeria and its leading causes. If you have witnessed first-hand, read, or heard about building collapse, you would notice that most of these buildings have no visible signs of building defects. It’s quite amusing that some people attribute the collapse of buildings in Nigeria to terrestrial powers. While we cannot undermine this in a society well engrossed in superficial beliefs, experience has shown that most of these life-claiming incidences can be prevented with adequate planning.
Then the question is, “what are the causes of building collapses in Nigeria?”


Before we attempt to answer the question, consider this analogy:
Mr. Joe Doe acquired three plots of land at a juicy area of Lagos at a reasonable below-average rate. He had a good bargain because the area is waterlogged and is best suitable for fish pond construction. However, he was desperate to acquire the property without considering the potential risks and the cost of making the place habitable for construction.


Hastily, he hired a crook real estate developer that filled the land with sand instead of laterite. When he was sure that the land looks good externally, he sold it to a Nigerian in a diaspora desperate to invest in Nigerian real estate with little to no knowledge of how real estate works in Nigeria.


Next, he proceeded to acquire building rights from the government. The officer in charge knew the history of the area and was dead sure that it would require more than landfilling to construct even a bungalow, not to mention a story building. However, when he realized the property owner’s generosity, he gave the approval to erect a 5-story building in a land that can hold 2-story structures at its best, and the construction began.
The construction company knew the property owner only visits once in three months from where he lives abroad.


Thus, he was able to cut costs by using insufficient and substandard materials in the construction. He only needed to patch the building so that it would last long enough until the fault would not be traced to his company.


Is that where it ends? Apparently, no. The foreman assigned to the project has his own personal ongoing building project and he felt now is the best time to develop his house. 20% of the cement meant for the construction was diverted to his property.


We all know this is a circus that might not even end with the foreman. How can you ensure you avoid this cycle as a prospective property owner, particularly when you are living outside the country? Interested in finding a proactive solution?

5 Critical Factors to Consider before you Start your Building Project

We present to you five things you must get right before you start a building project in Nigeria.

21-storey building collapsed at Ikoyi Lagos - A major concern for real estate developers and the government posted by Real Estate PPT

Be knowledgeable about different construction professionals

The construction industry is made up of many, yet, interconnected disciplines that employ different people who specialize in building construction.


The experience of construction specialists and real estate developers is crucial to accomplish a wholesome and quality building project that will stand the test of time under normal circumstances. The following are examples of professionals; however, they are not exhaustive:


The architect and the design team

A group of persons or a person who formed an architectural firm can make up the design team or real estate developers. After the proprietor of the architectural firm has planned the building, the firm may hire other architects and specialists to complete the real drawing. The architect is frequently in charge of the design team.

Before creating the plan, the first line of real estate developers, an architect, must visit the site to inspect the land on which the building will be constructed.


Architects create architectural drawings that comprise multiple floor plans, building sections, elevations, and a block plan that illustrates how the structure will be placed on the site.


The architect also offers site layout plans that show how the plots relate to one another.


“These construction project proposals are then presented for approval to the government at the ministry.” When the blueprints are filed, the client must pay a fee, which must be based on the area the building will occupy. The charge is also determined by the number of floors in the structure.


As reliable members of real estate developers, structural engineers should be used for any structure that rises above ground level. However, it is best to get their advice on all types of structures being constructed. A registered engineer must create and check the structural drawings before the commencement of the project.


The architect must go to the job site to monitor the project’s progress and address any issues that may occur. A registered architect must prepare or examine all plans submitted for approval.


The structural engineer

The structural engineer ensures that the structure of the building is sound and meets the goal of the real estate developers. The structural engineer professionally calculates the weight of the construction materials and the load of people and equipment that the building will hold. It also determines the maximum wind pressure that can be applied to it.


A structural engineer can use this information to create structural drawings and calculations, then present them to the government for approval.


The quantity surveyor

The quantity surveyor tells the cost to construct a building. There are various methods used to achieve this, as concluded and agreed by the real estate developers based on the sizes and volumes of the building to be put up. A quantity surveyor can also estimate the quantities of the materials one would need to carry out the work and what it would cost you in terms of labour.


Building Contractor

According to the designs, and other construction papers vetted by the real estate developers, the building contractor signs a contract with a client before executing the construction project.


Engineers, surveyors, builders, painters, and potters collaborate with contractors.
In many cases, especially for private persons, the customer will hire a contractor to guide the building’s structural and cost analyses after approved plans.


Some of these one-person contractors are skilled and experienced in their fields. Newbies should not be offered contracts if they lack the necessary expertise and skills to complete the projects successfully.


Building industry regulators


The government authority comprises professionals among who real estate developers are included, such as engineers, architects, and others who play a crucial role in overseeing construction projects and approving these plans to safeguard the public and workers from harmful and low-quality construction methods. Only once the plans have been approved can the building be built.


The government also employs building inspectors, including real estate developers, who should assess the building as it is being built to ensure that it is created according to the plans. Building regulators include planners who approve the building’s overall design and location.


They ensure that the structure fits into the surrounding region and that it will be easily accessible. They also have a say in how an area develops.
Before starting a construction job, you should always obtain professional counsel.


Begin with the end in mind

Invest in quality

Hire experts with a proven portfolio

Monitor the project closely