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Housing sector and rising cost of building materials

By Adedotun Ajayi


Over the past 10 years, there have been a dramatic increase in the costs of building materials in Nigeria, and this development threatens the performance of the construction industry.
Building materials cannot be precisely defined, but it covers a wide range of materials basically used in the building construction industry. These materials vary from their natural state to those partially or completely processed in the manufacturing industries.
Therefore, building materials include bricks, timber, ceiling, cement, paint, doors, windows, roofing sheets, iron and steel products, sanitary waves, electrical fittings etc. Building materials include material components used in the building industry.
According to Adedeji Oyewole, a real estate agent, said that about sixty (60) per cent of the total housing expenditure goes for the purchase of building materials. Adedeji in his words said “Building materials form the main factors that restrict the supply of housing and ascertained that they account for between 50-60 percent of the cost of buildings. One main barrier to the realization of effective housing in Nigeria as revealed in successive government efforts has been the cost of housing in the country. He argued that in the early periods, shelter in Nigeria was easily affordable as building materials were sourced from the immediate environment at affordable costs. Technology also was readily available with commensurate simple techniques. But contact with the outside world, through interregional and international training of professionals in foreign countries as occasioned by colonization, brought changes to tastes and hence outlook to house forms. These changes rendered the undeveloped local building materials inadequate, while there was an increased demand for exotic ones. Ayodeji posited that the modern building industry lays much emphasis on sophisticated building materials and techniques that are expensive and energy consuming. Though housing delivery efforts have evidently been inhibited by prohibitive costs of building materials, this problem cannot be reasonably and reliably overcome by merely resorting to the use of locally available materials, without due considerations to the applicable initiative, the cost of processing and sustainability of the local materials. One of the most important components of a sustainable building is the material efficiency. Correct selection of building materials can be performed by taking into account their complete life span and by choosing products with the minimal environmental impacts.
A brief interview was carried out at the Arakale market in Akure where building materials are sold majorly in the state, According to Oluwafemi Ojo of Femzy Nigeria Limited, “The main issue we are facing as retailers is the scarcity of raw materials for production from the manufacturers. In the space of a year prices really went up. For example, a bundle of the local roofing sheets that used to be N12,500 is now N18,500 and factory zinc roof that used to be N38,000 per meter is now N45,000 per meter. Iron door that used to be N24,000 is now N45,000, A jacuzzi bath tub that used to be 100 thousand Naira as at February 2020 is now 300 thousand Naira. All these rise in prices have slowed down purchase power.
According to Chris of AIKESO commercial Agency, “Recently, the rising cost of building materials has driven up the cost of construction by as much as 10%. This trend is a concern for all contractors who are already dealing with the effects of industry-wide labor shortages. The industry has seen significant increases in the cost of metals, lumber, plywood, bricks, cements, asphalt paving materials, and roofing materials.
So, what exactly do these increases mean for contractors? Well, as the cost of building materials continue to increase, it outpaces the increases seen in project prices. This means that contractors have lower profit margins than they experienced prior to the jump in building material costs. In order to remain profitable, contractors will have no choice but to increase the price that they charge customers.
To make matters worse, the cost of building materials is only projected to increase in the coming months. New federal tariffs could increase the cost of building materials such as steel, lumber, and aluminum. As it stands, contractors will have to increase the prices that they charge their clients to address these rising construction costs. The high cost of construction materials could have widespread and lasting effects on the entire construction industry.

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