The theme of the recent International Conference organised by the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) in Abuja “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Nigerian Construction Industry: Challenges and the Way Forward’’, suggests an indication of the Federal Government’s interest in following the global development trend in all aspects of life.
In his presentation during the conference, Prof. Danladi Matawal, the Director-General of NBRRI, said that SDGs remained as an effective direction to creating environment conducive for global community.
According to him, SDGs address significant development that Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) failed to do in environmental degradation, inequality, weak institutional capacity and unsustainable consumption behaviour in society.
“In a sense, SDGs can be said to be concise, easy to communicate and action-oriented, which are the advantages over MDGs.
“The goals may also be described as universal, integrated, interlinked, inseparable, planet-sensitive and centered on people,’’ he said.
He said that the government would ensure the provision of smart cities and sustainable communities, design and construction of infrastructure and renewable energy technology.
He also said that a scheme — Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) — would be central to the delivery of policies for sustainable development.
He further explained that the scheme would adopt environment-friendly design, procurement, construction methods and management practices toward efficient buildings and infrastructure.
Matawal said that the SDGs, which reflected a global agenda toward socio-economic development, were indicated in government’s plan for economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.
According to him, the increasing determination of society to achieve sustainable development for all has been an influential factor for government’s assent to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which comprise 17 goals, 169 targets and about 100 indicators represent a new direction for the global community,’’ he said.
Matawal observed that the new global development goals for the next 12 years aimed at improving prosperity and wellbeing by addressing the present economic, social and environmental challenges in the society.
“These transformational goals are universally applicable to all countries and tackle the challenges of eliminating extreme poverty, safeguarding environmental sustainability while achieving economic and social wellbeing.
“It also considers different realities, capacities and levels of development of various countries,’’ he said.
Matawal argued that Nigeria ought to key into the rest of the world for innovative, simple, cheap and user-friendly solutions to develop the nation’s building environment.
Expressing the government’s readiness in sustaining SDGs, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, said that the present administration was committed and determined to rebuild nation’s infrastructure, particularly in housing and roads to meet SDGs.
According to him, a good network of roads is vital in the transportation of men, women, children and goods from one part of the country to another.
“We need decent houses for our citizens, the rich and the poor, the old and the young, to live in; we also need houses for our schools, hospitals, offices, markets to mention a few.
“We need roads connecting our numerous cities, our rural areas and those leading from urban to rural areas, to our farms, homes and places of relaxation and entertainment.
“This is very important in getting Nigerians to know the various parts of the country and help them to promote national unity and stability,’’ he said.
He said that such development would open areas of business through the utilisation of local materials for the construction of roads, houses and creation of wealth for individuals and the nation.
Onu also explained that the conference would showcase enormous achievements made by researchers in NIBRRI, noting that the ministry had planned to help the institute to become one of the best in the world.
“Recently NIBRRI protected its intellectual property right by securing a patent for its laminated bamboo board.
“This product utilises wastes bamboo during construction; this is one of the wastes-to-wealth initiative of the institute.
“This product is durable and termite-resistant which serves as a heat insulation, its strength is comparable with those of structural timber product like plywood and provides aesthetics to the interior of a building,’’ Onu said.
But Prof. Kabiru Bala, Chairman, Council of Registered Building of Nigeria, pleaded with the Federal Government to adequately address challenges facing construction industry to meet world standard
He said that such effort would further spur the relevant stakeholders to work toward meeting the desired development in construction industry.
He listed challenges facing Nigerian construction industry to include unethical practice, poor productivity and profitability, shortage of qualified workers and inconsistent prices of building materials, among others.
“The net consequences of these are high incidences of infrastructural failure and collapse arising from lack of adherence to specification.
“The use of foreign codes and standards without consideration for local situations and environmental peculiarities of a project should be discontinued.
“The adoption of the National Building Code of 2006 is gradually gaining grounds and should be promoted to enhance the development of sustainable construction in Nigeria,’’ he said.
He, therefore, advised that the construction industry should be harmonised and conducted in accordance with the relevant laws and standards guiding quality management of buildings and infrastructure development process with the active participation of key stakeholders.
The United Nations (UN) believes that the adoption of the SDGs marks a crucial moment for the global development agenda.
It also holds the belief that the new SDGs and the broader sustainability agenda address significantly the unsustainable consumption behaviour in the society.
By Gabriel Agbeja, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)