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PETER OKORE, Umuahia

The Abia State chapter of Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), has affirmed that the greatest hindrance to building well in Nigeria is the neglect of professionals in handling building development schemes.

This is even as the stakeholders, comprising Surveyors, Architects, Town Planners, Engineers, among others, suggested that to achieve better Urban future, all the professions in the Built Environment must be allowed to play their roles optimally.

These are contained in an address presented at the 2021 Architects Forum held in Umuahia, Abia capital with the theme: “Towards A Better Urban Future: How To Build Well.”

Arc. Anagha Ndukwo Anagha, Chairman Abia State chapter of Nigerian Institute of Architects, in his presentation, decried the alarming rate of quack -practices in the industry, both in the private and public sector, which has resulted in incessant building collapses and an avalanche of failed buildings.

Arc. Anagha maintained that building well remains the fulcrum for achieving a better urban future.

Said he: “Owing to the peculiar circumstances of our Urban Environment, we carefully chose this theme to continue the discourse commenced last year. Last year’s Forum highlighted the peculiar problems facing the built environment in our urban cities, and zeroed on necessary measures to solve the problem of incessant building collapse.

“There is an alarming rate of quack practices in the industry both in the private and public sector, thus resulting into the incessant building collapses noticed everywhere, and an avalanche of failed buildings, which is even more dangerous. This is however, a silent killer that very often remains unnoticed by its prospective victims.”

Anagha expressed optimism that the forum would lay the foundations for a better understanding of how to build well within Abia State in particular and in the Nation at large, adding, “It is also our expectation that potential developers and building occupants would have been taught the need to involve the relevant Built Environment Professionals at every stage of the building development process, from conceptualization to implementation as well as post construction stages.”

In his keynote address titled, “Towards A Better Urban Future: How To Build Well”, the Medical Director, Federal Medical Center (FMC) Umuahia, Prof. Azubuike Onyebuchi, pointed out that the present day urban centre is bedeviled with urban sprawl; individual control/small parcels of land; housing affordability; climate change; water and sanitation; consumption/ misuse of public spaces; air quality and housing; poor planning of our present urban; abuse/neglect to standard practices and poor regulatory framework.

He described the theme of the forum as a wake up call to all and sundry, especially the Policy Makers and the indolent in building industry, advising that planning and design creation should consider sustainable and affordable housing; green roofs; sustainable transportation: balloon technology; energy efficiency among others, which according to him are the engine room of securing better urban future.

The former National President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Lekwa Ezutah in his speech, called for a convocation of the seven professions in the Built Environment to interact and ensure that each body is allowed to play its role to give the society the best; and ensure that all the problems in the Built Environment is minimized.

In a brief speech, the Chairman of the occasion and NIA Abia State chapter Chairman, Education Committee, Dr. Eneogwe Innocent encouraged student- architects to always identify with the Institute to get exposed and be better equipped for the task ahead and to make Nigeria great by embracing the high sense of professionalism.

Meanwhile, the NIA President, Mr.Sonny Echono whose address was read by the NIA Chairman Disciplinary Committee, Mba Aja, advised that the natural green areas in “our cities must be protected and properly maintained to enable the cities regenerate more efficiently and sustainably.”

His words, “As we continue to see the adverse consequences of climate change worsen by the years, it is becoming quite obvious that as Architects responses to them must take centre- stage. Renewable energy must be incorporated into mainstream Architecture, while ensuring that our buildings are designed to be more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. On its part, Government must support the push to a zero-emission world as a matter of urgent priority; while we of the Nigerian Institute of Architects will through our Climate Action and Sustainable Development Initiatives, support Government by proposing practical solutions in infrastructure and housing for immediate implementation in the battle against Climate change.”