Experts deliberate on path to sustainable buildings

By Okwy Iroegbu-­Chikezie
The workshop with the theme: “Sustainable building services practices: Enhancing performance and user satisfaction” provided experts in the construction industry the opportunity to provide solution to the problems of the sector.

President, the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Kunle Awobodu said the quality in building production, enhanced building performance and habitability were not happenstance, but rather they were statutory.

At the virtual mandatory professional development workshop of the institute, the NIOB chief stated that some systems give headaches to end users of buildings if the designs and installation were not properly done.

Former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel was among the participants. Others included the former President, the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Ibikunle Ogunbayo; a Professor of Building Services at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Ikemefuna Mbamali; an expert in construction ergonomics, health and safety from Nelson Mandela University, South Africa, Prof. John Smallwood; and Prof. Abimbola Windapo from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

The Chairman, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, who is also Vice-Chancellor of the ABU, Zaria, Prof. Kabir Bala, commended the NIOB for organising the workshop in a search for solutions to the problem of services in buildings.

The President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Babagana Mohammed, emphasised the necessity of the workshop. He sought increased cooperation and teamwork among the various professionals in the construction industry. He pledged his support for the growth of sister professions and eradication of quackery in the industry.

Mbamali explained the building services ecosystem from the design, equipment and component, selection, optimisation and spatial coordination and user behaviour.  Smallwood emphasised the importance of health and safety, explaining some of the hazards at the construction stage.

Daniel explained the history of the development of escalators and elevators, standards, their design considerations, construction and installation requirements including operation and maintenance.

Specifically, he said external elevators could be used in our environment only after consideration of factors such as weather, and power. Windapo explained the practices of building services in South Africa and the relevance of regulations, including using certified workers for installation.

Ogunbayo argued that buildings are more than stuctures, as the performance of their services gives meaning and comfort. The Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Ahmed Dangiwa, challenged builders on materials input for housing development.

Also, the Managing Director of the Family Home Funds, Femi Adewole, reiterated the timeliness of the workshop and the target of the Family Home Funds in provision of housing in the next five years. The two chief executives enunciated the significant role of builders in property development and the value builders can add to housing developers.

Dr Buhari Manzuma explained the imperatives of testing and the various tests for electrical installations towards improving safety in buildings.

Professor Myha Stanley explained challenges of traditional building services design coordination, saying in the least a three dimensional presentation of services drawings through the Building Information Modelling platform.

Aderonke Oyelami, a quantity surveyor, lectured the delegates on practical challenges in the measurement and costing of building services.

Graham Teede, a chartered building practitioner from Australia, gave insights, using real-life examples, on issues with installation of building services. He explained that installation of building services requires due diligence and compliance with standards. He further explained the challenges of congestion and tolerances im services installation.

Dr Dalhatu Abdulsalam emphasised the need for energy management through appropriate techniques for cost effective operation and maintenance of building services. Dr Emmanuel Nkeleme a post doctoral researcher based in South Africa presented his research output in the development of a predictive controller for optimising energy consumption and reducing costs in the use of heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

Echoes of problems of services in completed buildings reverberated from the presentations. The well attended workshop ended on a high note with a call on governments and professionals to adopt the national building code with its compliance forms which would enable designers and builders to attest to their input in the building delivery process thereby blocking unprofessionalism in building services design and installation.

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