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APPRAISAL OF THE COST OF BUILDING MATERIALS ON CONSTRUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Researchers in building sector have indicated that between 50 to 60 per cent of the total construction input goes into building materials. As a result, there is an urgent need to address the high cost of these products which is said to have slowed down the growth of the building and construction sector in Nigeria. Building materials constitute the largest single input in housing construction. While Adedeji (2010) observed that about sixty (60) per cent of the total housing expenditure goes for the purchase of building materials, Arayela (2005) averred that the cost of building materials constitute about 65 percent of the construction cost.
Ogunsemi (2010) opined that building materials form the main factors that restricts the supply of housing and ascertained that they account for between 50-60 percent of the cost of buildings. Thus, Adedeji (2002) rightly observed that one main barrier to the realization of effective housing in Nigeria as revealed in successive government efforts has been the cost of housing in the country. He argued that in the early periods, shelter in Nigeria was easily affordable as building materials were sourced from the immediate environment at affordable costs. Technology also was readily available with commensurate simple techniques. But contact with the outside world through interregional and international training of professionals in foreign countries as occasioned by colonization, brought changes to tastes and hence outlook to house forms. These changes rendered the undeveloped local building materials inadequate while there was an increased demand for exotic ones. Accordingly, Arayela (2002) posited that the modern building industry lays much emphasis on sophisticated building materials and techniques that are expensive and energy consuming. Though, housing delivery efforts have evidently been inhibited by prohibitive costs of building materials, this problem cannot be reasonably and reliably overcome by merely resorting to the use of locally available materials without due considerations to the applicable initiative, the cost of processing and sustainability of the local materials. One of the most important components of a sustainable building is the material efficiency. Correct selection of building materials can be performed by taking into account their complete life span and by choosing products with the minimal environmental impacts. For instance, González and Navarro (2006) estimated that the selection of building materials with low environmental impacts can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 30%. The use of renewable and recycled sources is widely encouraged as the life-cycle of a building and its elements can be closed (Chwieduk, 2003). The major factor that greatly affect the selection of building materials are their costs and social requirements such as thermal comfort, good mechanical properties (strength and durability), aesthetic characteristics and an ability to construct quickly. Ideally, the combination of all environmental, economic and social factors can give a clear description of a material, and thus helps in a decision making process regarding the cost of the materials suitable for buildings (Abeysundara, et, al.,2009) . Nigerians would continue to pay more for accommodation in major cities until the cost of building materials is subsidized through probably through tax reduction. The instability in the price of building materials was posited as a direct result of high taxes which in turn impacts on the cost of accommodation in major cities across the country. According to Arayela (2002), many completed housing estates had remained unoccupied because of the high rental and sale prices attached to them as against the meager income of the average Nigerian workers. He also added that if government can revitalise our industrial base, the cost of building materials will come down and many more people would be able to build houses. He therefore urged the Federal Government to provide tax relief for local manufacturers and importers of building materials in order to reduce the high cost of accommodation in major cities.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Building materials have been playing an important role in the construction industry—they are those materials put together in erecting or constructing structures, no field of engineering is conceivable without their use (Akanni, 2006; Udosen & Akanni, 2010). Building materials contribute immensely to the quality and cost of housing, from what is used in the foundation to the materials for roofing and finishes, while the building materials industry is an important contributor to the national economy of any nation as its output governs both the rate and the quality of construction work.
The cost of building materials poses a significant threat to both the construction industry and people aspiring to own houses (Anosike, 2009; Mekson, 2008; Mohammed, 2008; Njoku, 2007); for example, a bag of cement, which is valued at Ν1,350.00 in 2006, goes as high as Ν1,850.00 in 2009 (Anosike, 2009) depicting about 37% increment; the bag goes as high as Ν2,000.00 in 2015 during peak season (field survey 2015). Supporting this view, Jagboro and Owoeye (2004) earlier established that increase in the prices of building materials has multiplier effects on housing development while Idoro and Jolaiya (2010) affirmed that many projects were not completed on time due to the cost of materials, which have been on the increase. Besides timely completion, high prices of building materials form a crucial constraint to improving housing conditions in Nigeria (United Nations Centre for Human Settlement [UNCHS], 1993).
In spite of the past studies on the cost of building materials in Nigeria, little is publicized about the implications of the rise in cost on the construction industry; most literature (Jagboro & Owoeye, 2004; Mekson, 2008; Njoku, 2007; Oladipo & Oni, 2012) has concentrated on identifying the causes with little emphasis on the implications; hence, the research seeks to provide information on the effect of cost of building materials on housing development in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine the effect of building materials cost on housing development in Nigeria.
2. To determine the factors responsible for high cost of building materials in Nigeria.
3. To proffer solutions that will reduce the cost of building material to ensure adequate housing development in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the effect of building materials cost on housing development in Nigeria?
2. What are the factors responsible for high cost of building materials in Nigeria?
3. What are the solutions that can reduce the cost of building material to ensure adequate housing development in Nigeria?
HO: Cost of building materials does not affect housing development in Nigeria.
HA: Cost of building materials does affect housing development in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. Findings from this study will educate the general public on the current market cost of building materials in Nigeria and its effect on sustainable housing development in Nigeria.
2. The results of this study will sensitize the policy makers and the government on the need to make and implement policies that will reduce the cost of building materials in Nigeria thereby encouraging massive housing development all over the country.
3. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the effect of building materials cost on housing development in Nigeria will cover the current prices of building material in Nigeria focusing on how it has influenced the provision of affordable housing for the Nigerian populace.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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