It is no more a surprise that usually during construction, a lot of regrets come up. As usual, I will keep my words simple during my explanations. Most times, these mistakes cannot be corrected without destroying a lot of the parts of the building. Sometimes this mistakes cause conflicts between the professionals and the clients to a very extreme level. Somewhere in Enugu state, Nigeria, a client had several disagreements with the contractor and it was so serious that the contractor ran away with billions to Germany where he was later caught. Some other mistakes can be such that can cause an unnecessary delay or slow down during construction but these will be curbed because one of the major aims that lead to the establishment of this directory(website) is to support clients to complete their buildings without stress. Well, that will be a discussion for another day. But we actually want those who may still be nursing in their minds to build or those are already having some money to start up a building construction or those are completely ready to build to be able to avoid financial obstacles any time this building process starts. The high income earners that are reading this post may be like,yeah!that’s not a problem, just give me 4 months and my structure will be ready to be inhabited without stress but I tell you this, you can still save yourself a huge amount of money if you avoid certain mistakes. Well, I am not trying to sound convincing but I believe that this post is actually for decent, responsible potential clients who actually understand the value of money no matter how much they earn in a day and the size and number of buildings they know that they can erect. I am actually not writing this article for writing sake because I have been in the design business for 6 solid years, I believe I know a lot to be shared and I have been so bothered and wondering why this mistakes keep been done over and over again by clients. This is a time for a re-think, actually after reading this post, what you use it to do is up to you. I mean, I can’t force anyone but I am already convinced that most people will actually try to avoid these mistakes and see good results. Before I explain this mistakes, I will do what I like doing which is to list out this mistakes, so that as you read the explanatory body, you must have had an insight and it will be easier for you to understand me. They are as follows:
1. Accumulation of fund
2. Limited justice when buying materials
3. Want to do big but not big
4. Giving value to the contractor more than the originator(Architect)
5. The boss syndrome
6. Lack of patience
7. Trying to do the job
8. Using artisans
9. Not considering inflation 9.Refusal to ask other builders questions
11. Ignoring registrations
12. Not becoming a friend Explanations
Alright, let me run it down.
1. Accumulation of fund: This is the first mistake, yes it is the first because I want to draw your primary attention to it, why because people keep making the mistake and don’t count it as one. This is one of the reasons most clients stay for many years, struggling so much to complete their houses and they just think it is normal. Me and my family are currently building a new home, so I am actually not discussing with you based on experience. Building a new home has been a nightmare for us. Based on the level of income we generate, especially with the present recession in Nigeria were I reside, it has really been a tough one and yet I have been seeing some of our relatives and some other people I know just completing their projects or at least fast building to a level where they can at least pack in. This is to say, there must have been done with the ground floor if it is a multilevel structure. Well, this mystery became unfolded to me when I visited my aunt that is married to a former dean school of engineering, federal university of technology, Owerri, that is 4 years ago, sorry, name withheld. During discussion, she asked me how we are faring and I told her and after a long talk she asked me how far we have gone with our building project, I got so depressed and hesitant towards answering the question because we hadn’t done much, well, I later told her that it is not easy. She made an exclamation “no no no”, it is not like that, she further told in a low voice, please you guys should not make the mistake of trying to accumulate money before you run a construction process because other responsibilities will definitely not allow you to know possible things you could have done in the building. She said “that’s the rare truth”. She further told me that they may have high positions but it doesn’t mean that things are just that easy for them, why? Because of the popular Nigerian saying “big man big trouble “which means that the richer you are, the bigger the expectations or responsibilities connected to you. Now, she was implying that as their level they still live in fear of fund to complete their house because they also have so many other reasons to spend big money eg all their 4 children apart from the last child where schooling in Birmingham and they spending big money. This made them to choose to use the system of not bothering themselves about overall cost, rather they set their mind on building bit by bit, slow but steady. Actually this is her own testimony and experience. You know what? it worked for them and that’s the most important thing. The husband is not the richest man, at least you should guess the level of income received by people at that level. As I said earlier, I am aware that some very wealthy men are reading this post and they may think well, I think if I start I can complete it but it is a lie, when I am talking about building project, don’t hastily limit it to a residential building. There is no man with a hyper level stream of income, who doesn’t set his mind on bigger projects like high-rise structures or bigger housing projects like the Adebola houses all over Lagos. One of the biggest men in Nigeria, the owner of master energy has been on a heavy project in his hometown as extension of his oil business. I have been travel passing that site for years now and no matter how fast people think he is, it has not been easy for him because he has a target he is not meeting, at least I have had a one on one talk with a building technologist that works and he told me as at then, work was not going on. Why am I bringing this, he is a big man bought with a big trouble, I guess I should laugh a little. Finally, you can see that this tip works for everyone, even the wealthy people, so why not adopt it and stay away from trying to accumulate funds before you do anything on a building.
2. Limited justice when buying materials: This mistake is quite common among clients with very low income source but the truth is that as far as there is a source, good planning plays a huge role in making such mistake to be avoided. Limited justice when buying materials, one might wonder what justice has in connection with building materials, well, I will explain. This mistake is actually not made by building clients only, it is also been made by contractors. Let me quickly tell you that most clients and contractors try not to spend so much money when building, well, it is good to have such plan but this plan has to be achieved the right way. In the course of trying to save money, most clients don’t go for standard materials; they end up going for substandard building materials. Let me first make this point, after a building is set up, there are many climatic forces(disorders)that act on the building, with the aim to do nothing but destroy. Every builder must have this in mind when building. When you try to save money and you end up buying cheap and inferior reinforcement bar, it can’t stand the wind. It can easily rust. When you buy cheap and inferior roof, just get ready to keep spending money hiring a carpenter to keep working on your roof. Buy an inferior paint and get ready to keep re-painting. It will always work like that. As I said earlier, I don’t know what you will make of this article but I bet you,if you can avoid trying to save money the wrong way, or by ignoring standards and buying sub standards, you will never encounter mishap. I am fully aware that most companies ignore government standards for their products and end up producing sub-standards. But there are trustworthy companies that still do the right thing, you must have to patronize this companies so that whatever you buy can stand a long test of time. No matter what, this principle always works out. Just because you can afford to bring out a certain amount to buy a particular shoe doesn’t mean that you should, why? The shoe may appear lovely or very fine but to keep using it, you will have to keep spending money for it. Let me branch here for now on why you should not ignore buying a material once and for all.
3. Want to do big but not big: Before I go ahead, take this to heart. The number one priority of a man is, to raise educated and well trained children. The number two priority is to be healthy. The third priority is to have a convenient house. ADVICE: Don’t let number one and two make you not have number 3. Now let us know how we can do that. Funny enough and over the years, it has been recorded that humans have the nature of living a life that is determined by what friends (peers) expect of you. True or false? Personally, I go for true. This is few questions I have, why are humans so concerned with peers? What will happen if you don’t live your own life for your peers? Why not live your life for you alone, yes you alone? This is big questions that should settle this matter. It is very important to do what must be done. It is clear that humans only pay so much attention to peers because they need acceptance and respect from them. Nobody wants to be looked down on. Let me remind you of this, in case you forgot, nobody, will ever look down on you, expect if they come to realize that you have already counted yourself as inferior. Yes, it is good for people to praise you, to about your achievements but it is only good but it is not important, even if you need such praise for further opportunities in may be politics or to get more contracts, I know all that but I still maintain that it is not important. I know of many politicians and contractors with big names who do not live in mansions but have a portable but presentable duplices. It is not that they can’t build mansions but most of them don’t see the need to impress anybody when they are comfortable, the necessary things are available and their statuses remain the same. It has come to a point where people just have to think the second time. You only have two options in life which are to be responsible for your own happiness and the happiness of those whose happiness should come from you. Pay attention to this, so many Nigerians struggle throughout their life time. Now, that is not good at all. You can live a better live, if you free yourself from wrong mentality. You can have a miserable life that you may not have had, if you decide not to cut your coat according to your income. How did I know, it will only make you start borrowing and remain indebted to a lot of people and that’s how you keep borrowing and finally create a situation where you live life trying to repay your lenders. Why? just because you think people are actually looking at you. Note: Every Nigerian man that has anything doing, no matter how non-lucrative e.g. a shoe mender, can have a 3 bedroom bungalow easily. It is all about management. Alright, I know what you are thinking. You are asking a question like what if I get a better job or my business starts paying me very well after a while. Well, I have answers to that. For the reason of uncertainty, please build based on what you have at the moment, if life changes, rent out the old one and build a new one. Wow! Thank God your life has changed, you can also build industries. The best respect is the respect you give yourself by not presenting an appearance which makes people think that you have to equalize. Self-respect yourself by spending on what you can afford, in other not to place yourself in a very hilarious situation. You don’t have to empty your account on a particular thing just to please others just to gain their respect. Another question is, do people really get pleased. A quote from john Maxwell says when you’re 18, you worry about what everybody is thinking about you. When you’re 40, you don’t give a darn what anybody thinks of you. When you’re 60, you realize that nobody has been thinking about you at all!”. – John Maxwell. It is not what you have spent your money on that brings you respect and belonging, it is responsibility handled that brings respect. As you are reading this, just look around. Let me let you know that your place of work or business determines what people expect from you. If you are a principal of a secondary school in Nigeria(I use Nigeria because this is a website for the Nigerian building industry people, so will talk Naija) and you build a bungalow of four bedrooms, you are simply a great achiever sir and your name will definitely keep resounding among your peers. Don’t get stuck trying to raise a duplex you can’t complete. Actually, I find this particular mistake that people do necessarily important to be talked about and that’s why I will soon upload a full e-book on a related topic. I repeat, this post is specifically It is a very funny situation and I do cry over the situation, when I look around and see fellow Nigerians die in ignorance of this mistake. You see, people who actually sat down and visualized how their lives will be with their family members in their own house but at the end, they just die living in a house that lacks convenience. It is very common in Nigeria, for men, fathers to live this world without living in their dream homes. I hate the sentence phrase “uncompleted building”. Please, don’t subject yourself to lifetime debt trying to build a house that doesn’t suit your level of income. I am saying this because I love you. I love our Nigerian men and women. I love Nigeria and that’s the major inspiration that made me and my team to set up this platform. A platform that will gather every person that is involved in the building industry, starting from clients, civil engineer and so on. We can do this people, so that Nigeria will start have infrastructures instead of uncompleted buildings here and there. This is a new era, other countries like America are doing more of REMODELING. Remodeling is simply the practice of renovating already completed buildings with latest building materials from time to time. FOCUS: Work on your inside, stop seeing anybody, don’t create lifetime debt for yourself trying to do it big, use what you have to do what it can do.
4. Dishonoring professionalism: This sub-topic will be treated in two ways. The first is that clients hire artisans and the second is that even if an architect is hired,there is less value for him compared to the contractor. It is clear that unemployment is the major challenge of every Nigeria graduate. Well,the case is different for a professional because a professional can pay himself. I won’t talk about how much an Architect should be paid in this article because our major aim is to the clients but I will focus my emphasis on the fact that the major challenge disturbing the mind of every professional is the hand over of projects to artisans. Ok,looks like I’m coming for the clients this time. It is usually my method to make my points with questions. My first question is,why do clients go for artisans?what if something happens?what is the essence of studying professional courses in schools?what do clients know that gives them the conviction to accept artisans?Do artisans actually do the work? O yeah!I still have answers. You can comment your’s if you want. Alright,for the first question,most clients do hire artisans because they want to save money. They also hire artisans because they don’t know what Architects actually do. For the second question,if a building collapses,there use to be a lot of government attentions around a building,and if a question is thrown on who the professional is,then you will say that it is not a professional,rather it is a mason or brick layer with years of experience that is actually coordinating other professionals like the quantity surveyor,structural engineer,mechanical engineer,weather analyst etc. How does it sound?well,let’s assume that the building doesn’t collapse,one thing must happen,the design is usually not correctly interpreted. Have you ever heard of professional advice?you won’t get that from an artisan. All an artisan will do is to raise the building for you. It is after many years that you will begin to realize the Architect’s considerations that were ignored during construction but by then,it must have been too late. You may not even realize it but you will just be uncomfortable over certain issues but won’t know why.
For the third question,I have just been thinking about the cost of education in our country and the number of years it takes professionals to inconvenient themselves to know almost the theory and technicalities of a particular professional discipline and at the end,while he is busy studying,artisans quickly learn it under apprenticeship, craft and handwork based on work experience and eye guess. The questions sets in again,why do we study then?is it not cheating?Everybody should just go ahead and do apprenticeship for few months and start work. Clients will not understand how it disturbs professionals,I remember when I was in school,a boy from the building technology department once invited me for a conference hosted by his colleagues. This conference was titled “protect professionalism”. Professional bodies are saying that they are on it but as far as there is a contractor in the picture,hmmm!I guess it will be hard to stop. Well,I be back to talk about the professional issues with contractors.
Now,what do clients know that make them allow artisans?I tell you,they know nothing. Example is the Architectural practice which I understand better. I must tell you the truth,Architectural drawings are the most complicated drawings to any ordinary man who wants to build. With experience,whenever you submit a drawing to a client,you will realize that he will primarily be after the 3D view or a model to see the overall appearance of the building because the client doesn’t have time for what Architects call construction drawing. This construction drawing is one of the building elements that distinguish between the Architect and the artisans. This ignorance is enough to make a client accept an artisan because he is not really educated on the worth of a professional Architect. All he knows is that the artisan has raised up many buildings but when he begins to feel the negative impact of some misinterpretations,it becomes late. Well,I think,professionals should add value to their profession and also set up programmes to educate clients to another extent on why Architect deserve to do the job. Do you know that many don’t know this
72% are unaware that architects apply for
79% don’t know architects ensure buildings
comply with health and safety legislation
86% have no idea architects select, negotiate
with, and manage contractors
20% are unaware architects prepare
9% DO understand architects control site
15% don’t know that architects design buildings
33.3% of over 55s were aware that architects
prepare planning permissions, whereas: 14% of
18-24s were aware that architects prepare
20% of young adults were aware that architects
handle building control certificates and
Do Architects actually do the job. My answer is no. Why?because a half done job is not done. I won’t say much about this but I tell you. I will always go for professionalism. And it is always good that after an Architect is done with a design,he should be fully part of the construction because he did the thinking and got the inspiration,so,there is nobody that can interpret and transfer the exact inspiration to the ground the way he will.
Still under this sub-topic,the challenge has a way of appearing so nice when it involves a contractor. During standard contracting,the client attaches more value to the contractor more than the Architect. Note: Based on standard,it is the contractor who manages a project but it is the Architect who technically manages the project. The contractor makes everything available,but the architect does Architectural drawings contains the appearance and necessary factors to direct on how the building should be,he also coordinates other professionals like quantity surveyor,structural engineer,etc. At the end of the day,you realize that,it is the Architect(master builder) that does much of the job and get less credit. So who gets well paid and gets the credit?the contractor who knows nothing about building. Please,don’t misunderstand me,I just feel that in the building industry,we should have a common ground,where everyone does his or her own. Few years ago,I was doing my industrial training and working on a site under a contractor based in Abuja. Trust me when I say,it was a huge project because involved a complete concrete casting from foundation to wall plate off set level somewhere in Afikpo. It was an ultra modern hospital. The contractor hired an Architect from Delta state who was doing the real job and we were learning from the Architect,following his directions and orders as IT students, and do to the contractor’s greed,he never wanted the client who was a close friend to my dad based in USA to see the Architect as important. What he did to support this greed was to always run to the Architect to tell him what we have done so far,so that he can show the client and it will appear as if he is also the technical supervisor. We were really feeling for the Architect because he was complaining. This mistake shouldn’t be made for a peaceful and successful construction.
5. The boss mentality syndrome: It is not easy to be free with your site workers,but it is necessary. Why?because it has positive psychological effect on workers. One of the factors that ensures a successful building project is being friends with your employees. Do not always wear a stone face when interacting with your employees. It helps a great height. If you want the right materials to be bought,better and new inspiration to pop out,healthy communication,if you want them to understand your vision, just be cool with them,make them feel at home. You won’t accept this sometimes cook for them and never mind please. This is such an obvious thing, but the reason I
mention it is because you will be surprised by the
reaction your construction workers will display and the positive effect it will have on them. I know of an American woman called Erin in Texas,who dropped this experience for the first time. She explained in her blog that the closer she was with her construction workers,the smoother everything went. She added that the man who was installing lighting system told her out of excitement,that most of the time he has been installing lighting system,he doesn’t even interact with the home owners because they don’t even care for the friendship. She said that the lighting system installer said that home owners don’t even tell them directly if they observe a mistake,instead,they meet the contractors and tell them. That’s funny. Please learn to make this people comfortable and you will see that they won’t even want to cheat you for being nice. Erin added that the workers told her that they feel as if they are part of their family and they would which that project will be over anymore. Wow! You can visit the www.thesunnysideupblog.com, and read the lessons she got after building their house. This supports my advice. During construction,don’t take nonsense but don’t be too harsh by always considering the fact that your workers are trying their best. Let your status as the boss not deceive you because hey!nobody is dragging your position as the owner of the house with you,so why will you want to be to stiff, unfriendly and non-communicative with your workers. Common open up and even take pictures with them.
6. Lack of patience: This mistake is mostly committed by clients who fall for site workers who wish that the project was given to them to handle. Right here in Nigeria,it is very easy for an artisan or construction worker who has been in the construction business to make the professional appear incompetent before a client and most clients don’t realize this before blaming the client. Most Nigerians naturally are too aggressive that they don’t investigate or have a second thought before acting or passing judgment on people.
This has a serious negative and tarnishing effect on site supervisors. Funny enough,a bricklayer will be criticizing a professional supervisor to the client and the client won’t will start developing doubts without asking the professional supervisor questions. A bricklayer can develop hatred and jealousy if a supervisor tells him what to do a lot and he feels bad about it,may be because he is far older or may be,the approach he uses makes him feel bad,such a man can come up with a manipulative judgment and begin to rubbish the supervisor before the client. Client should really learn to be patient,to avoid loosing a proficient supervisor just because of a little or no mistake,just taken personal by unhappy artisans. One thing is that minor mistakes are bound to be made during construction because we are humans and we are not perfect. Also,in construction,things look bad before they look good. So you need to gather enough patience when working with your supervisor.
A house owner should also learn how to be patient,if a house project is slow. There are lots of factors that can make building process slow. Eg rainfall,unavailability of materials etc. Patience is needed in such condition,if not,you will have an unnecessary fallout with your supervisor or contractor.
7. Trying to do the job: In Nigeria,what is invoke is abuse of profession. As I mentioned earlier,every layman thinks there is nothing much about professional courses like electrical engineering,civil engineering,Architecture,quantity surveying,etc and this is because,every human being has this level of pride in him and it is unacceptable when this quality is used on cases that are delicate. This pride makes them just make few inquiries and boom!they have started the work. I have a friend known as Acho whose elder brother in London has been sending money to build his site bounding wall(fence). I was just discussing with him yesterday and I asked him whether he knows that what he is doing is wrong,he started laughing and finally said “yes” but that I can’t expect him to invite a supervisor,just for a fence. He further said that he gets enough money from the job. Guess where I am going,he cheats and settles for low quality and cheap materials to fill up his personal pocket,at the expense of the job. The negative effect of what he is doing now, may be felt when they pack in and begin to maintain and maintain. Actually,it is not a prayer but the law of construction. In my own village,I have seen people who will always tell you mehn!forget Architectural building drawings and just follow my finger directions. They will be like,dig 10ft by 12ft bedroom here. Oya!dig another one here,oya!dig kitchen of this here and I begin to wonder the level of poverty mentality that is loaded in them. I know how hard things are. I mean I don’t need to be reminded but there are basic things that should be done. The issue is always what I said earlier which is that people are ignorant of the real work of an Architect. Please,if potential clients should all begin to direct site workers on how to build their houses without putting it on paper,how will they master the natural constraints like effect of harsh weather,flood feasibility,direction of wind,usual sun intensity,etc, before designing? Well,I am sure that it hurts me because I am an Architect and I am sure it hurts other professionals in another other fields when they realize that people are trying to do what they don’t know how to do the right way when you have suffered so much for it and some laymen are blocking the space you should have occupied as to respect professionalism. Well,let me not get too emotional and focus on telling you why you shouldn’t try to do it yourself. (1)professionals already have the link (2)professionals know the market more than you do
(3)They have enough time to build but you may not.
(4)They know the best materials
(5)They understand the climate(science).
8.Using artisans: Ofcourse,we understand the country we live and the hard life in it. I perfectly know how earning money easily, is like a nightmare for the average Nigerian. This situation has led a lot of people into substandard practices and illegal practices. It is applicable in the building industry. Clients avoid professionals because they don’t want to spend much,considering how professionals charge. To be honest with you,many clients do this in assumption without having in mind that negotiations may result to convenience. If you doubt,you can still try us by calling 08167987421.
9.Not considering inflation: If you grew up in Nigeria,you will testify with me that the cost of market products don’t go down after inflation. We must say the truth to plan better and avoid unnecessary disputes and disagreements. When a client wants to award a contract or negotiates cost of construction with the engineer,he should look at the future inflation. This will remove future disagreement,buying of substandard materials,or delay in construction.
10. Neglecting to ask house owners question:
This may sound irrelevant but it is never irrelevant. As much as you might think that it is easy to decide on starting a building construction,it can only be when you are not ready for it.
Those that have started will always tell you what they did as in gaining confidence before starting(especially those that handling large or heavyweight projects like commercial buildings).
11. Ignoring registrations:
Well,this one is common in villages. Infact,I have couple of drawings on my desk waiting for approval,why?because they are trying to boycott the necessary. This will only lead to delay because the local regulatory authority will not rest.
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