02 April 2019

Nigerian Institute of Quantity
Surveyors (NIQS) is proposing a new set of guidance to overhaul the nation’s
construction industry. They also want the establishment of a Federal Social
Housing Corporation, which will deliver houses to the vulnerable civil
servants, especially school teachers, military and para-military service
personnel and other ministry workers.

NIQS made the submission in Abuja
when a delegation of the National Executive Council (NEC) and past presidents
of the institute led by its President Obafemi Onashile paid a courtesy visit to
President Muhammadu Buhari.

Onashile also called for the
establishment of a Federal Construction Law Court to resolve construction
disputes and ensure fast and prompt resolution of construction cases which
currently tend to last decades in courts.NIQS noted that unclear delineation of
professional functions amongst construction professions within the government
is making massive corruption and incompetence to persist on projects with
attendant negative consequences on the economy.

Onashile lamented the current construction
industry practice where designers (mostly engineers) are also the cost
advisers, insisting that such a practice was not transparent and should be
stopped. He said quantity surveyors should be mandated and allowed to undertake
cost management of projects on behalf of government while engineers should be
compelled to focus and deliver on designs and implementations of projects..

“In situations where
quantity surveyors are excluded from performing the role of cost
advisers/managers, the cost management of such projects becomes arbitrarily
done by provisions made in the contracts. These can lead to unduly high
construction costs or alternatively under-provided for, leading to project
frustrations, poor quality works and discouragement of the parties,” he

The NIQS boss also said that
procurements and indeed construction standards were being bastardized and out
of line with international global standards and best practices, noting that a
local arrangement called “BEME” (Bills of Engineering Measurement and
Evaluation) in the Nigerian Construction Industry was alien to international procurement

“The Government should
denounce this and ensure that our national procurement for infrastructures are
at par with global standards and should insist on “Bills of
Quantities”. He also called on the Federal Government to establish the Construction
Industry Development Board (CIDB), comprising of construction institutions
representatives, the Ministry of Works and Housing key directors and
representatives of directors of construction companies.

Onashile said once the NIQS draft
Bill to Assure and Control Construction Industry Payments is signed into law,
it will help curb corruption in the Industry, giving legal recognition and
respect for construction contracts and payment obligations.

“We equally like to
emphasise the promotion of welfare and professionalism by every stakeholder
involved with construction. To this end, the NIQS has drafted a Bill for
enactment to Regulate and Control Building and Construction Industry Health and
Safety. This law once signed into operation will bring to immediate halt to the
issues of collapse buildings currently ravaging our country,” Onashile

He also said there is an urgent
need to create a Directorate of Quantity Surveying and Project Costs
Management, just like Directorates of Civil Engineering and Housing as well as
the establishment of Federal Construction Law Courts to specifically focus on
Construction disputes and ensure faster and prompt resolution of construction
cases which currently tend to last decades in Courts.

“Quantity Surveyors have in the recent years improved on our proficiencies and we do now possess relevant capacity to manage any size of projects together with any combination of project teams. Even where projects are being donated to the government or being designed abroad and built by multinationals, Quantity Surveyors should be considered for appointment as Project Managers to act for the government,” he said.

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