In today’s Nigeria, the landscape is littered with abandoned building projects, roads, rails, ports and other infrastructural projects at all levels of governance from local government through the state government to the federal territory.
It is quite unfortunate that many of building and infrastructural projects in Nigeria are out-rightly abandoned even at conception.
When we talk of abandonment, we mean to say buildings or projects that are left unoccupied, vandalized, boarded-up or deteriorated.
“Abandonment” can also mean an owner ceasing to provide maintenance and operating services to a building, or the loss of an owner’s legal right to a building, or the demolition of same.”
An abandoned construction project can also be an uncompleted project in a time frame of a contract. Hence, there is urgent need to look inward and examine critical factors militating against project completion and occupation in accordance with its conception.
Abandoned building projects may not be limited to buildings alone; roads,industrial structures, bridges, factories, dams, electricity, communication projects and so on are equally on the list.
Some reasons for failed construction projects are: incorrect estimation; lack of available skilled personnel; inadequate planning; poor risk management; misunderstanding of the work requirement; poor quality control by regulatory agencies; corruption and communication gap among the personnel.
Other factors are cost; the developer and the contractors; inability of clients to engage contractors or designers capability to do the work; failure on the part of contractors to obtain vital inputs such as materials, manpower and machines. The ripple effect of all of the aforementioned is that all activities becomes totally suspended and the project consequently becomes abandoned.
Invariably, in the true sense of it, a project is never considered abandoned, rather the project must have been suspended as a result of the proprietor lacking funds to continue in the main time.
Inconsistent government policies, lack of accountability, high level of corruption, incompetent contractors, non-availability of building materials, lack of utilities or infrastructural facilities, wrong location and so on has been advanced as remote causes of abandonment of building project
The above reasons invariably lead to waste of resources in the form of capital, materials, human power, promotion of illegal activities, adverse effect on community, aesthetics and so on; the menace abandoned building projects cause to the society is enormous
Hence, there is a need for construction firms to inculcate operational, strategic, personal, technological, marketing and environmental strategies in order to cushion the effect of financial predicament associated with building projects
It is indeed pathetic that several construction projects which would have impacted positively on the economic and overall social development of the nation litters the corners and open spaces of the country. This significantly affects the housing area by reducing its beauty in addition to creation of social problems, spread of disease and threat to the environment as highlighted earlier.
In view of these, the following recommendations have been put forward by industry professionals to possibly put a stop to this ugly trend;
1. Only new projects which can be completed with the available resources should be initiated.
2. The selection processes and consultancy should be characterized by accountability, transparency, honesty and integrity.
3. The use of political undertone rather than economic advantage in citting of projects should be discouraged.
4. Corruption at the level of Government and other stakeholders in the housing sector should be curbed through Due process, Economic and Financial Crime Control (EFCC), Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (BMPIU) and other Crime Control Agencies.
5. The need to set up a National Construction Industrial Bank is overdue.
With this in place and well executed, the incidence of abandoned projects littering our entire landscape will be a thing of the past.