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How to know the Quality of a Nigerian House before you Buy

Quality of a Nigerian House

Quality is the first thing to look out for when buying a house in Nigeria, in the past few years, technologies have improved the construction process for quality building.  But a good number of house owners in Nigeria still complain about the construction and workmanship that went into their building. To save yourself from this, you should on a personal note know how to discover the quality of a Nigerian house before purchasing it.

This is what Sachin Sandhir has to say

“An inefficient construction system beset by project delays, corruption and bureaucracy, coupled with rampant violation of building codes, has resulted in compromises with quality, making structures more susceptible to structural and safety malfunctions. This is a potential danger not only to inhabitants but also people living in the immediate surroundings” Sachin Sandhir is the managing director of RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) South Asia, a professional body for qualifications and standards in real estate.

A poorly constructed building is bad news, and its worse because a lay person is not expected to know the defects in a building no matter how hard they try, the best resort is getting the structural and architectural details reviewed by an independent architect.
Meanwhile, there are a few checks that you can do on your own:

SOUND PAPERWORK
Though all developers promise ‘quality construction’, not many bother to provide the details. “It is essential that the builder annexes with the (booking/purchase) agreement a schedule of amenities or specifications related to flooring, doors, windows, sanitary/electrical fittings, etc, that he will use. This ensures you are aware of what the developer is committing. However, in reality, while the type of amenities is usually mentioned in the agreement, the exact specifications and quality are not,” says Sandhir.

Putting the details on paper will also put pressure on the developer to deliver.

Since you cannot do the job of an architect, you can definitely deal with the paper works. “It is essential that the builder annexes with the (booking/purchase) agreement a schedule of amenities or specifications related to flooring, doors, windows, sanitary/electrical fittings, etc, that he will use. This ensures you are aware of what the developer is committing. However, in reality, while the type of amenities is usually mentioned in the agreement, the exact specifications and quality are not,” says Sandhir.

When the developer knows that you are checking everything that goes on the building, he is two times productive.
Soil Investigation:

A lot of people just pass this one because they forget to think about the future of the house they are building. The soil on which a building is built, is very important, some soils have a tendency to shrink and expand depending on moisture. The way to be sure is by conducting a soil test before commencing construction and ask for a copy of the results.
Structural Design:

A lot of technicalities that goes into constructing a building can make no sense to a lay person sometimes, however, you can ask for the design created by the project’s architect and get help from a third-party professional to ensure that everything is in place and to be sure that the building should be strong enough to withstand earthquakes of a certain magnitude.
Concrete Mix:

Strong Concretes is the word here, its important to monitor the preparation of concrete mix on the site but that’s not always possible so, ready-mix concrete is a better option. Ask the builder for certificates of concrete  mix provided by a testing laboratory.
Wall Thickness:
There must be working plans and agreement on every aspect of building, the width of the walls must be in the layout plans and booking/purchase agreements. You can either visit the site or have somebody visit the site to check that the builder is following the original plan.
Fixtures:
There are standards to fixtures and finishings, you must check if bathrooms fittings, electrical fittings and all have been certified and are original.

Finishing:
Don’t give your house a few months before you have to check the finishing, once the unit is ready, everything from the paints to the marbles should be approved, if not, you have to know the quality of products used and ask for a replacement if you have to.
Third-Party Certifications

This is important because you cannot really tell the quality of the property delivered to you by just looking at it, you can avail to the services of independent auditors. Inspection is key.

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