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Over 130% rise in building material costs stall projects nationwide, worsen Nigeria’s housing crisis 

Michael Segun, a Lagos resident, complains that his building project in Ikorodu, Lagos, which he started in late 2022 with the intention of moving in by mid-2024, stalled at the roofing stage for months.

The rising cost of building materials has outpaced his income as a civil servant, making it impossible to continue. 

He says that reaching this point in the project requires significant sacrifices, as his family has had to forgo many luxuries to fund the construction.

However, there is nothing more they can sacrifice to move the project forward. 

Segun’s situation is not unique. Across the country, many Nigerians have been unable to complete their building projects due to the escalating costs of construction materials. Others have not even started projects for which they have architectural plans, facing the same issue of rising costs. 

The International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) reports that more than 28 million Nigerians lack access to decent and affordable housing.

Experts warn that the continued increase in building material prices could further exacerbate this housing crisis. 

A comparative analysis of the cost of selected building materials between May 2023 and May 2024 

In May 2023, the inflation rate stood at 22.42%, but by April 2024, it had ballooned to 33.69%. This drastic rise has directly impacted the prices of essential building materials.

To gauge the extent of this increase in costs for selected building materials, including cement, windows, doors, and iron rods, Nairametrics conducted a market survey with dealers in Lagos.

Our findings showed over a 13% average increase in building materials cost between May 2023 and May 2024. 

Here is how the cost of these building materials rose over the past years: 

Cement 

In May 2023, the average price of cement in Lagos was N4,300 per bag. By May 2024, the price had risen to between N7,500 and N8,000 per bag, depending on the brand, representing a significant increase of approximately 74.42% to 86.05%.  

This current price range also marks a notable decrease from February 2024, when cement prices soared to between N11,000 and N15,000 per bag.  

It’s also worth noting that bulk purchases of over 100 bags typically result in an average discount of ₦200 per bag at most cement dealerships across Lagos State. 

Doors 

The prices of double steel doors in May 2024 range from N250,000 to N300,000, a significant increase from the range of N70,000 to N80,000 in May 2023. The price increases range from 200% to 290%.  

Windows 

In May 2023, a 4ft-by-4ft casement open aluminium window without burglary protection was priced at N50,000, while the same window with burglary protection cost N70,000 at the same time. As of May 2024, the prices for these windows have increased to N80,000 and N110,000 respectively, representing a 57% to 60% increase over the period.  

For a 4ft-by-4ft sliding aluminium window without burglary protection, the price in May 2023 was N35,000, whereas the version with burglary protection was N60,000. By May 2024, these prices have risen to N50,000 and N80,000 respectively, representing a 33% to 43% increase. 

Iron rods 

The price of a 12mm iron rod increased from N8,000 in May 2023 to N19,000 in May 2024. Similarly, a 16mm iron rod rose from N4,800 in May 2023 to N11,500 in May 2024.  

Additionally, the price of a 10mm iron rod went up from N3,600 in May 2023 to N9,500 in May 2024, while an 8mm iron rod saw its price rise from N2,500 in May 2023 to N6,500 in May 2024. 

These represent over 120% increase in price over the period. 

How does the hike affect built industry professionals 

The steep rise in building material costs has significantly impacted professionals in the construction industry. To understand this effect, Nairametrics interviewed several experts, including a construction and project management advisor and an architect. 

Babatunji Adegoke, a Construction and Project Management Advisor, shared insights with Nairametrics on how the hike in building material costs has affected the industry.

He noted that the increase has caused a significant slowdown in construction projects nationwide, leading to many abandoned projects and negatively impacting the employment of contractors involved.  

He explained that due to rising building material costs, contractors are requesting additional funds from clients to continue projects. This often leads to disputes, as clients expect project completion based on initial payments, sometimes resulting in legal action for breach of contract.  

“The significant hike in the prices of construction materials has resulted in the slow pace of construction projects across the country,” Adegoke said.

“This has hurt the economy as well. These increases have resulted in claims requests by contractors requesting additional funds from their clients to continue with the projects they are executing.

“It has also led to many projects being abandoned thereby worsening the unemployment rate in the country.”

Furthermore, he pointed out that ongoing inflation and rising prices of building materials have made it challenging for contractors to forecast construction costs, leading to unpredictability in project budgeting. 

Clinton Amadi, an architect, shared insights with Nairametrics on how the increase in building material costs over the past year has affected his professional practice. He noted that the rising cost of materials, which has significantly increased the overall cost of construction for homes and other buildings, has led to a decline in clients seeking architectural drawings for new projects. 

“The steep increase in building material costs has led to a significant decline in clients seeking architectural drawings for new projects,” Amadi explained.

He added, “Many people lack the resources to start new projects due to the rising costs.” 

He also noted that the rising prices of building materials have compelled some of his clients to deviate from the architectural designs he created for their structures to cut costs. 

Bottomline  

The rise in the cost of building materials has significantly hampered many Nigerians’ ability to complete their ongoing projects or start new ones.  

There are 11,856 abandoned projects in Nigeria, some of which have occurred in 2024, according to the Nigerian Senate. 

Joel Okereke, an estate manager in Lagos, confirmed that projects are being abandoned due to rising costs of building materials, stressing that builders are struggling to put the effect of inflation into their contract costs. 

Experts fear this will push more Nigerians into substandard housing units. Property owners who have partially completed buildings might move in without all the necessary amenities to avoid paying increasing rents, which have doubled on average over the past four years in major urban centres. 

According to Federal Government data read by former Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria has 42.8 million housing units, but 75% are substandard. This figure may increase as building material prices continue to rise. 

On a brighter note, the challenging environment caused by the hike in building material prices has created opportunities for professionals in the construction industry.  

Adegoke, an expert in the field, who was earlier cited, mentioned that professionals can now become claims specialists and arbitrators.

Claims specialists advise clients on areas where additional funds or time may be needed, while arbitrators resolve disputes between parties, offering an alternative to lengthy and expensive litigation. 


Source: TheTimes.com.ng.

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