CONSTRUCTION STANDARD AND REGULATIONS IN NIGERIA

According to Adenike (2006), Grema (2006) and Bamisile (2004), the construction industry in Nigeria is characterized with problems which negativity affect the standard of construction.

CHAMAN LAW FIRM

6/1/20225 min read

OUR STORY

Quality, not quantity

We have made quality our habit. It’s not something that we just strive for – we live by this principle every day.

OUR STORY

Quality, not quantity

We have made quality our habit. It’s not something that we just strive for – we live by this principle every day.

CONSTRUCTION STANDARD AND REGULATIONS IN NIGERIA

One of the largest, dynamic, and complex industries in any part of the world is construction industry, reason being that it plays an important role to the Nigerian economy. Construction workers and employers build our roads, houses, and workplaces and repair and maintain our nation’s physical infrastructure. Construction work can involve building of new structures. Construction work also includes renovations involving additions, alterations, or maintenance and repair of buildings or engineering projects such as highways or utility systems. When the construction industry is examined from a global context, its socio-economic significance becomes obvious. The industry is the world’s largest industrial employer (111 million employees) and in most countries it accounts for more than half of capital investment and as much as 10 per cent of GNP (Du Plessis, 2001).

The construction industry in Nigeria is characterized with problems which negativity affect the standard of construction and which, according to Adenike (2006), Grema (2006) and Bamisile (2004), are often as a result of low quality of materials and workmanship and can be controlled by proper use of the appropriate regulations.

However, the need for good structures (building, road etc.) in the society has necessitated the need for improvements in the standard of construction, this can only be possible through coordinated and committed participation of all stakeholders in the industry using the appropriate regulations as the key guide for quality management. The increase in cases of building collapse in Nigeria in recent times, has brought to the fore the effectiveness of instituted construction regulations.

In Nigeria, there are few existing National Standards relating to general construction (buildings, roads etc.) and many of them are not even known (Bamisile, 2004). As a result, the designers use mainly British and American Standards and Codes despite the fact that local requirements are often different. Serpell et al. (2002) observed that the development process of standards is difficult, cumbersome and unstable. This aggravates the situation with respect to regulations. Furthermore, many designers in Nigeria lack adequate knowledge with respect to the function and performance of the materials and components they specify (Adafin et al., 2011 and Folorunsho and Ahmad, 2013).

Regulation is treated as synonymous with law. Regulations are rules or norms adopted by Government and backed up by some threat or consequences, usually negative ones in the form of penalties. While a regulatory framework on the other hand, refers to a system of regulations and the means used to enforce them. These are usually established by industry regulatory bodies to regulate the specific activities Construction regulations are statutory instruments that seek to ensure that the construction policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out (Gelder, 2004).

Construction regulations approval is required for most construction work in any given country. In construction, regulation involves registration of contractors, projects, skilled construction workers, construction site supervisors, training institutions, and provisions relating to collection and payment of the construction levy (G.O.K, 2012).

Generally in every country, construction regulation authorities are established to harmonize construction laws found in statutes which may contradict each other, curb uncontrolled and unchecked physical planning of buildings and construction, control and enforce the mechanisms on the application of the Building Code in the construction industry, prevent easy entry and penetration of unqualified contractors, and improve on the bureaucratic requirements and procedures in approval of building plans. Further, construction regulation authorities eliminate corruption cases in the building industry, emphasize on both material quality and contractor performance, and revise the Building Codes to ensure relevance (Nahinja, 2014). Construction regulations are statutory instruments setting out the minimum legal requirements for construction works and relate primarily to the health, safety and welfare of the workforce which must be taken into account when planning construction operations and during the actual construction period (Chudley & Greeno, 2006).

According to Mohammed (2010), construction regulations must incorporate a provision that the contractor who plans to perform any construction shall before carrying the work notify in writing the competent authority for construction planning. Traditionally, cost, quality and time have constituted the parameters within which projects have been managed. However, increasing awareness of the role of standard in overall project performance, and the inclusion of standard technique and materials as a project performance measure by organizations has improved services in the sector. The number of large-scale construction accidents in Nigeria in the recent past has further raised the level of awareness on the need for construction standards.

Regulation of building construction in Nigeria is done through a statutory authority known as the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria - CORBON, whose function is to establish and oversee the construction industry and coordinate its development. The Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria - CORBON is mandated to encourage the standardization and improvement of construction techniques and materials, provide, promote, review and co-ordinate training programs for skilled construction workers and construction site supervisors, accredit and register contractors and regulate their professional undertakings, accredit and certify skilled construction workers and construction site supervisors, develop and publish a code of conduct for the construction industry.

VARIOUS PROFESSIONAL REGULATORY BOARDS IN THE NIGERIA CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria(QSRBN)

The regulatory body of the quantity surveying profession and practice in Nigeria was established by Decree No. 31 of December 5, 1986, now CAP 383 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN). It goals includes:

I. To ensure that all quantity surveying graduates produced by higher institutions of Learning in Nigeria meet internationally required standards.

II. To eliminate quackery and ensure that all Quantity Surveyors employed in both the private and public sectors are registered with QSRBN.

III. To ensure that firms carrying out quantity surveying services in the country are registered with the Board and adhere strictly to the best practices and code of conduct of the profession.

The body executes its mandate through training, registration and enhancement of ethical practice. According to the regulations, no person should practice under any name, title or style containing any of the words or phrases “quantity surveyor” or “quantity surveying” unless he is registered under the Law as a Quantity Surveyor. An Architect is a person trained and licensed in the planning and designing of buildings, and participates in supervising the construction of a building. The work of an architect is to advise his clients, study their needs, to prepare, direct and co-ordinate design and to supervise works executed under a building contract. An architect or quantity surveyor in Nigeria must have a minimum of five years of approved training followed by a minimum of one year of professional experience in Nigeria to the satisfaction of the Registration Board or satisfies the Board that he/she has otherwise acquired an adequate knowledge of Nigeria building contract procedures.

  • The Society of Chartered Surveyors (2006)

Identifies that upholding ethical principles is a key reason why people rely on professional bodies. Competence and trust are central elements in generating confidence in the professions (The Society of Chartered Surveyors, 2006). Cartlidge (2011) argues that professions can only survive if the public retains confidence in them. Transparency and ethical behaviour are particularly important for quantity surveyors who are involved daily with financial transactions such as procurement, contractual arrangements, payments and valuations (Cartlidge, 2011).

  • NEMA and Construction Standard

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is a body established under the Environmental Management Act of the laws of Nigeria to exercise general supervision and co-ordination over all matters relating to the environment and to be the principal instrument of Government in the implementation of all policies relating to the environment. NEMA has the primary responsibility of implementing environmental safeguards, although many actors have responsibilities including civil society, private consulting firms, development banks which finance infrastructure and other government actors including local government and the court system.

Currently, the system suffers from inadequate funding, corruption, a lack of engagement with important community stakeholders, gaps or duplications of regulations, and a misunderstanding by society at-large of the benefits of a sustainable and standard construction. These serious issues result in little oversight of development projects with potentially huge environmental impact.

In Conclusion, it is evident that there is significant relationship between construction standard and instituted regulations in Nigeria.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM

EMAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

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