Authorities of CMB Building Maintenance and Investment Limited say that the success they have recorded in delivering good and affordable housing is as a result of the format they have worked out to control the variables that increase construction cost.
They explain that housing is out of the reach of many who need it because developers deliver their products at very high cost, paying consultants, contractors, among others.
At a press conference in Lagos, as part of activities marking the company’s 10th year anniversary, Kelechukwu Mbagwu, the company’s CEO, notes that developers incur high construction cost, and contractors and the consultants work at cross purposes.
He says that it is difficult to deliver a house for N10 million, for instance, because the quantity surveying consultant may be charging about N3 million to produce a bill of quantity while the contractor will come up with his own charge.
“Our first attempt at building estates was a failure because the prices we had to offer the off-takers were too high. We offered N64 million for our four-bedroom bungalows. Today, the same building is going for N37 million and we have worked out various versions of it and brought the prices down,” he says.
He reveals that some of the versions go for N27 million, some for N24 million, hoping that as they continue to improve, they could bring down the price to N17 million.
“What we have done is to assemble the consultants, engineers, architects, builders among others all working under the same roof, and with all these under control, we are now working towards achieving a N10 million house,” he assures.
Taking a retrospective view of the past 10 years, Mbagwu says they have been quite successful given the environment in which they operate, recalling that the company that started with just four part-time employees, today has about 300 staff, as the company within this period has been able to do a good number of projects and build quite sizeable clientele base.
“We have 10 active projects; we have completed a couple of them and we have three in the pipeline. We have introduced over 1,000 living units into the market. This may not sound wonderful, but given the prevailing conditions, we are actually one of the very best,” he says, adding that they have presence in Abuja, Abeokuta and various parts of Lagos, including Ikeja, Yaba, Oniru and Lekki.
According to him, their achievement so far may not sound wonderful, “but given the prevailing conditions, we are actually one of the very best; we know that working at full capacity, we could have produced up to 50,000 housing.”
Mbagwu is worried with what he called unseriousness of government with the housing industry, adding that government does seem to understand that the housing industry alone could boost the economy.
“We have discovered that the industry in this country is not serious about making housing affordable. Governments, particularly states, are not serious about making housing affordable.
“Our present thinking is to deliver good and affordable housing. We want to prove to the housing industry and to Nigerians that good and quality housing can also be affordable,” he says.
The needed enabling environment, he notes, are for government to make land available while the financial institutions make funding available and also provide mortgage.
He discloses that the company has three projects in the works including 26 family living units in Oniru; 60 individual houses in Lekki, called Pearl Nuga Court, and 12 family living units, called Pearl Grace Court in Ikeja GRA, comprising terrace houses and flats.
Culled from BusinessDay