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Construction chiefs set agenda for Buhari

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Hopeful of a better Nigeria, building industry and their professional practice under the new administration, construction bigwigs have drawn some outline for the Buhari-led administration, which will boost the housing sector. They said the roadmap became necessary for the new government both at the federal and state levels to follow, if appreciable progress would be attained within their sector, which some have described as the vehicle for wealth creation for the nation. From the Nigerian architects to builders, land and estate surveyors to structural engineers, builders to quantity surveyors, the leaders of the various professional institutional bodies have said there was need for the new government to tighten loose ends in the construction industry.

According to them, failure of the past governments to come to terms with some of the suggestions have caused the country loss of both huge capital, human labour and construction industry development through transfer of skills from the developed clime into the country. Although each professional body has areas of interest, some of which, already expressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, top on their list of demands is current appetite by government officials for foreign professionals, a trend said to be a great disservice to the nation and her professionals in the building industry as well as fueled unemployment in the country. For instance, regulatory body for all Nigerian architects, known as Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has said the present government should desist from patronizing their foreign counterparts without due recourse to the rule of engaging them in Nigeria.

To checkmate this development, which they said has emboldened foreign professionals to illegally engage in projects in Nigeria, the body said it has introduced Architect Project Registration Number (APRN).  Now, it wants the present government to back this initiative.

Speaking with housing times, ARCON president, Mr. Umaru Aliyu, said that without the newly introduced number, no architectural drawings in any part of the country could be adjudged legal. He said: “The Council appreciates the untold hardship our members have been subjected to by the unwholesome attitude towards the practice of architecture in Nigeria over the years. It is in recognition of this that the Council introduced the use of the ARCON seal, complemented with the use of the security stamps to be affixed on every sheet of the drawings submitted for developmental control/implementation purposes.  “The Council has however gone ahead, of late, to introduce the Architect Project Registration Number (APRN), which is a number assigned by the Council to each architectural project in any part of the country to ensure that only fully registered architects submit architectural drawings for developmental control/implementation and receive approval from relevant approving authorities. All submissions for development control/implementation must comply with the above,” adding that, it is urging the government to back the initiative.

According to Umaru foreign architects should not be encouraged to willingly break the country’s law and the UIA recommended International Standards of Professionalism that guides their practice. Land suveyors known as the Nigerian Institute of Surveyors (NIS), said the government should among other things create a Survey and Mapping Commission because “we believe that such commission is capable of setting a robust agenda for development of Survey. With this done, it would be easy to solve problem of ecology, security, population and environmental degradation and infrastructure development through member’s annual subscriptions.”

NIS President, Bern Omo Akhigbe, while urging the new administration to involve surveyors in planning matter, stated that their contribution in addressing sundry problems, especially, as related to land matters made it imperative for them to be more involved in the day-to-day’s government activities.

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