Communique on “The Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on The Nigerian Construction Industry: Challenges and Opportunities” Issued by The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors

Preamble:

The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant lockdown effects on economic activity is presenting a range of challenges to the construction industry.  The Federal Government aptly responded to the pandemic with the issuance of Covid-19 and the Quarantine Regulation 2020 on 29th March, 2020, pursuant to the Quarantine Act of 1926. While the need for compliance with the Regulations remain non-debatable, it comes with real consequences on the Construction supply value chain. The Pandemic affects the way and manner stakeholders operate to deliver construction projects. Consequently, there will be defaults in construction contracts, leading to cost overruns, extension of time, claims, disputes of various magnitude among others. The overall impact on the industry is dependent on the severity and duration of the pandemic in Nigeria and globally.

 

Assessing the impact of Covid-19 Pandemic:

A web-based Seminar was held by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors on 5th May, 2020 to evaluate the effects of Covid-19 Pandemic and present necessary recommendations to Government, construction industry stakeholders and the general. The theme of the Seminar was “THE IMPACTS OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE NIGERIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES”.  Six renowned and experienced Quantity Surveyors drawn from both public and private sectors were invited to discuss various issues related to the theme.

 

Recommendations:

At the end of the Seminar, the following recommendations were made:

Government:

  1. The three tiers of Government need to prioritise their spendings and focus more on procurement and provision of necessary healthcare facilities. The construction aspect of the health care facilities will go long way in boosting activities in the sector, thereby creating jobs in the Industry.
  2. Government should increase spending on researches at Universities, Polytechnics and research Institutes across the Country with a view to stimulating groundbreaking outcomes/findings. This may result into immediate discovery of potent vaccines and drugs for the disease and consequently transforming the Nation to a knowledge based economy.
  3. Government should explore additional and viable sources of revenues.
  4. Encourage companies to increase manufacturing of local materials, including possession of automated production models that can fast-track availability of construction materials and goods, thus filling the void created by lower importation.
  5. Stimulus should be provided to construction organizations to enable them cushion the effect of the pandemic. This will minimize lay-off rate and reduce negative social-economic impact of the pandemic.
  6. Central Bank of Nigeria should give priority consideration to players in the construction Industry as well. In addition, government should speed up access to CBN intervention funds to facilitate quick recovery of the construction sector.
  7. Government should through the Central Bank of Nigeria prevail on commercial banks to reduce interest rates for firms in the construction supply value chain. This will make investment within the construction sector more attractive and will boost its activities.
  8. Tax holiday should be extended to companies in the construction supply chain to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on their businesses.
  9. Government should enforce construction organisations’ compliance with mandatory workers’ compensation insurance.
  10. Government should promote greater compliance to cashless policy to tame the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Construction Industry Services Providers (Contractors, Consultants, Manufacturers etc):

  1. Manufacturers and construction companies are encouraged to form strategic alliances to attract government attention and support.
  2. Firms should invest in new Information and Communication Technology tools to be able to adapt to changing industry needs.
  3. Construction firms should optimize off-site assemblage of construction components. This will minimize disruption of remote working and supply chain activities.
  4. Acquisition of new technology in the industry. This will require the use of technologies such as drones, robots etc.
  5. Consultancy practices should consider diversification as a viable strategy to meet the challenges of post Covid-19 recovery. An evolving and important area is the sustainable development and adoption of green building technology. This is the current and viable direction of global practices in the built environment. Corporate firms must explore and maximize the business perspectives of this evolving trend globally. This will assist in mitigating long term impacts for present and upcoming practitioners.
  6. Health and safety protocols and designs should be entrenched within the companies and on site to minimize the effect and curtail the spread of the pandemic.
  7. Construction industry professionals should review construction contract standard forms to take care of future eventualities similar to COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the execution of contract.
  8. Industry professionals should embrace the concept of re-skilling and capacity building for satisfactory and sustainable performance of their functions as well as evolving practices.
  9. There should be renewed emphasis on Professional Indemnity Insurance by professionals.
  10. appropriate strategies should be developed to comply with the need for remote working in meeting clients’ and employers’ requirements.

COVID-19: Temporary closure of the Secretariat & Lagos Liaison Office

In view of the rising number of infections of the novel Covid-19 in Abuja and Lagos as reported by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the NIQS Secretariat and liaison office will be temporarily shut from the close of business on Friday, 27th March, 2020 for a period of 2 weeks. This action becomes necessary to protect our invaluable staff by ensuring that they stay at home with their families.

Members enquiries will be responded to via official email addresses or phone numbers during the period of temporary closure. We shall continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks and keep you informed of further developments. While we enjoin all our members and staff to abide by precautionary guidelines issued by health experts, we thank you for the continued understanding.

QS Dr Aminu M. Bashir FNIQS
Secretary-General


NIQS President Visits NSE, Seeks Collaboration between Construction Industry Professionals

The President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, QS Mohammed Abba Tor, FNIQS led a delegation of the leadership of the Institute on a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Society of Engineers, yesterday, at their headquarters in Abuja.

The President, while delivering his address during the visit, called for synergy and collaboration between professionals in the Construction Industry particularly between Quantity Surveyors and Engineers.

While congratulating the President of the NSE, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE and the newly elected executives of the NSE on their election, , President Abba Tor, noted that there was a need to leverage on the synergy and platform created by the Construction Industry Development Initiative (CIDI) by organizing a Construction Summit. This Summit, according to him, will be jointly planned and organized by the seven professional bodies in the built environment.

 “Construction professionals in the built environment in Nigeria need to jointly advocate for: Full participation of Nigerian professionals in policy formulation and implementation for development of Infrastructure in Nigeria, collaboration between the professionals in the industry for enhanced service delivery and strategic alliance between professionals for multidisciplinary practices”, he explained.

Citing inadequate government patronage of Nigerian construction professionals, dominance of foreign companies in the construction industry as well as inadequate involvement of Nigerian professionals in development infrastructure as some of the drawbacks of Nigeria’s landmark projects, President Abba Tor stated that the Institute was working on a blueprint for the summit.

Responding to the president’s remarks, the President of the NSE, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE, thanked the President for the visit, assuring the Institute of the continued support and collaboration of engineers.

The high point of the event was the presentation of gifts to the President of the NSE by the President of the NIQS on behalf of the Institute, a gesture which was also reciprocated by the NSE.

Story By:
Lauretta Gerard
Marketing & Corporate Affairs Officer
The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors

I have 50-year plan for NIQS – Mohammed Abba Tor, FNIQS

New President of Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) Mohammed Abba Tor has rolled out plans for the 50-year-old institute saying in his two-year tenure, he will set new stage for NIQS to respond adequately to changing customer needs, offer quality value proposition to clients and engender optimal national development. The institute, according to him, will be made to work better in costing and cost management of construction projects. The president warned uncertified persons who pose as Quantity Surveyors to stay away as the institute will step up monitoring and report any quacks to the Quantity Surveyors’ Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN) for prosecution. He urged professionals to register with the institute to avail themselves of the numerous rights and privileges enjoyed only by members. He said NIQS will benchmark sister international organizations for capacity development. Tor is a Fellow of National Institute of Quantity Surveyors (FNIQS) and Fellow of Institute of Construction Industry Arbitrators (FICIArb) as well as Fellow of National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (FNIMN). He hails from Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno State and is Managing Partner of Kalabal Associates – a firm of Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers. He spoke with Viewpoint Housing News at the headquarters of the institute in Abuja on Wednesday.

Read full interview below:

Viewpoint: How many certified Quantity Surveyors are there in Nigeria?

Tor: There are 4403 qualified Quantity Surveyors in Nigeria as at today, made up of 415 Fellows and 3984 Members.

Viewpoint: We have learnt that some Quantity Surveyors have not registered with the Institute.

Tor: Quantity Surveying graduates that did not bother to apply and get qualified are missing a lot.

Quantity Surveying is dynamic and only by continuously obtaining the required CPD points that one can remain relevant and up to date with the profession and meet client’s expectations in service delivery. Furthermore, failing, neglecting or refusing to join the Institute means losing numerous rights and privileges enjoyed only by members.

In the public service for instance, one cannot progress beyond certain level without being qualified and registered with Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN) which is our regulatory body. As a private consultant, you are required to present evidence of being qualified with NIQS, registered with QSRBN and possessing valid practice license to be considered for projects.

Organized private sector, contractors, etc usually demand for relevant professional qualification from persons before being considered for some positions. Privileges being enjoyed by members include access to capacity building, information, journals, networking opportunities, appointment into NIQS Committees, supervision of candidates logbook and diaries, serving as referees for membership upgrades, consideration for Falcon Heart scholarship support e.t.c. Membership of the Institute also confers right to vote and be voted for during elections, entitlement to use MNIQS or FNIQS after your name as appropriate, Group Life Insurance cover, maintenance of your name on the register and so on.

Viewpoint: Is there any synergy between the Institute and Nigerian Quantity Surveyors working offshore?

Tor: There is a strong and blossoming synergy between NIQS and Nigerian Quantity Surveyors working abroad.

Members in some countries organize themselves and form groups and clusters and seek affiliation with us in some instances. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between NIQS and Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors and ongoing discussions with Nigerian Quantity Surveyors in Qatar provide formidable template for strengthening the synergy.  

Nigerian Quantity Surveyors working in UAE and Qatar played crucial role in facilitating technical tour of sizeable number of our members in 2016 and 2018 respectively. It is noteworthy that Nigerian Quantity Surveyors are being held in very high esteem abroad and involved in all types of infrastructural projects without any inhibitions.

Viewpoint: The National Executive Council of NIQS was working towards improving the curriculum of Quantity Survey in Schools. How far has this gone?

Tor: The Institute is collaborating with QSRBN in this regards. A workshop titled “Stakeholders Critique and Validation on Draft Revised Quantity Surveying Curricular for Degree and Higher Diploma Programmes in Nigeria Universities and Polytechnics/Monotechnics” was held on 3rd March, 2016. Discussions are currently ongoing between the Board and other Government Agencies such as National Universities Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) on the subject.

You may also wish to note that the Institute has a strong and vibrant body called QS Lecturers and Educators drawn from Universities and Polytechnics offering Quantity Surveying across the country. The body is presently chaired by Prof. Ahmed Doko Ibrahim of ABU Zaria. They offer valuable advice towards curricular reviews in tandem with technological development and changing customers’ needs and requirements.

In addition, the Institute benefits so much from outcomes of Research Conferences organized by the body which comes up every two years.

There exist a cordial, supportive and collaborative relationship between the NIQS and QSRBN and both bodies are guarding it jealously. You may recall that during the NIQS NEC and Chapter Chairmen Leadership Retreat held from 16th-17th January, 2020 here in Abuja, the President of the Board QS Murtala M. Aliyu was fully in attendance and presented papers on both days.

Viewpoint: Are you aware of the presence of many quacks working as Quantity Surveyors in Nigeria?

Tor: The institute is aware of quacks parading themselves as Quantity Surveyors. Section 7 of the Quantity Surveyors (Registration, ETC) Act No. 31 of 1986 (Now CAPQ1, LFN 2004) stipulates what it takes for one to get registered and practice as a Quantity Surveyor. While Section 15 of the same Act stipulates the offences and punishments for a person who wrongly parades him or herself as a Quantity Surveyor.

There is a joint effort between the Institute and QSRBN through the Chapters of the Institute to monitor and report any quack to the Board for prosecution. Quacks should note that ignorance is not an excuse in law. Any person desirous of being a Quantity Surveyor should study the Acts and get properly registered.

Members of the public are also enjoined to always demand and sight practice licenses from any person claiming to be a Quantity Surveyor before entrusting him/her with duties and responsibilities reserved for Quantity Surveyors. The danger involved in engaging a quack could be catastrophic.

Viewpoint: What will your administration do to get more quantity surveyors involved in public projects as a way of helping government and other clients get value for their money?

Tor: Quantity Surveyors have “value for money” as their watch word. We are trained to offer comprehensive costing and cost management services on all infrastructural projects throughout the project lifecycle in both public and private sectors of the economy.

Our forefathers and past leaders worked tirelessly and bequeathed an enviable Institute to us.

However, studies have shown that our services are not yet appreciated in some quarters and therefore, so much still needs to be done to reverse the narratives. Structured steps are being embarked upon to raise the viability and have the profession resonate in minds of the public.

The Institute marked 50years of existence late last year and as the second 50years begins, we shall review the Brand Architecture to respond to changing customer needs. We shall rebrand with a view to offering quality value proposition to clients and by extension contributing optimally to national development.

Viewpoint: Can you name few Quantity Surveyors who have distinguished themselves in service and have become role models to young and upcoming professionals?

Tor: Yes! Our profession has produced many role models in different walks of life. These are people who have become torchbearers for me, my other colleagues, the Institute and indeed the entire profession. From Chief Executives, to the military, the academics, we have men and women Quantity Surveyors who have made their marks in national service.

On the Chief Executive side, we had the likes of H.E. QS Mal. Nasiru El-rufai, FNIQS Executive Governor of Kaduna State; H.E. QS Alhaji Mohammed Munir Yakubu, FNIQS, Deputy Governor, Katsina State; and QS Alhaji Ahmad Bashir, FNIQS; Secretary to Adamawa State Government.

We also have H.E. Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim, FNIQS, Former Governor, Yobe State and three-term Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; H.E. Alhaji Ahmad Adamu Muazu, FNIQS, Former Governor of Bauchi State and former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); and Alhaji Rabiu Sulaiman Yusuf Bichi, FNIQS, Former Secretary to Kano State Govt.

In the current dispensation, our members in the National Assembly are doing us proud. Such members include Senator Michael Nnachi, FNIQS; Senator Mohammed Bima, FNIQS; and Members House of Representatives like Hon Fred Obua FNIQS; Hon Abubakar Kusada Yahaya, MNIQS; Hon Muhammed Abdulmumin Ari; Hon Sani Umar Dangaladima among others.

In the military circles, we have senior serving and retired officers like Major General Garba Ali Muhammad; Lt Gen Azubuike Ihejirika, FNIQS; Brig Gen I. F. D. Briggs, FNIQS; Brig. Gen Albara Enoch Muazu, (Rtd) MNIQS; Navy Commodore Shittu Kazeem Dolapo, MNIQS; and Group Captain Taiwo Sunday Adenle (Rtd), MNIQS.

Many traditional rulers across Nigeria are also products of our profession. Let me mention few like HRH Mohammed Ahmed Usman, FNIQS the Emir of Deba, Gombe State;   HRH Oba Dr Samuel Olatunji, MNIQS the Olumojo of Imojo Ekiti, Ekiti State; Chief Peter Nicholas Buba, FNIQS; and the Sarkin Fadan Jaba of Kwoi Kingdom, Kaduna.

In academics, we have Prof Deji Ogunsemi, FNIQS, DVC Academics, Federal University of Technology Akure; Prof Yakubu Ibrahim, FNIQS, Dean Faculty of Environmental Technology, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; and Dr. Amuda-Yusuf Ganiyu, FNIQS, Dean Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Ilorin.

It is equally important to stress that Nigerian women have cut their mark in this noble profession. Prof Olubola Babalola, FNIQS is Dean Faculty of Environmental Studies and Chairman of Committee of Deans, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. She is the first female professor of Quantity Surveying in Africa. Of course NIQS 23rdpresident Mrs. Mercy Iyortyer is the first female to occupy that position.

Viewpoint: What is the main focus of your administration?

Tor: The main focuses of our administration include the following:

Membership Drive:

We touched this issue earlier in this interview. Due to the importance attached to membership, the constitution of the Institute places it under a Committee chaired by the Deputy President. We shall drive the effort further by leveraging on the rebranding programme of the Institute. I hosted the leadership of our Young Quantity Surveyors Forum about an hour ago. They are formidable and complementing the effort of the Institute in membership harnessing. The various chapters of the Institute – 33 as at today are equally helping by visitation to schools and colleges with a view to catching them young. Not forgetting graduates that are not yet bothered to apply. We shall reach out and encourage them as well.

Capacity Building:

We are continuously retraining our members to guarantee total customer satisfaction in service delivery. For we are conscious of the fact that what we know and the value we add are really the significant factors that drive the demand for our services. Earlier on, I mentioned that technology is evolving and customers’ needs are equally changing. Both are making continuous capacity building inevitable.

Reciprocity with Sister International professional Bodies:

We have a lot to benchmark from the capacities and experiences of sister International organizations, just as much as they equally learn from us. We will collaborate with international sister organizations in areas of capacity building, knowledge sharing, technological transfer and other areas of synergy; with the sole aim of forging our profession forward. NIQS is an international brand and must guard that status.

We attach so much importance to international collaborations. You may note that one of our past presidents QS Joseph O. Ajanlekoko is currently the president of UK-based Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy. Another past president QS Murtala A. Oladapo is a former chairman of International Cost Engineering Council.

Digitization of the Institute Operation:

We shall immediately put in motion the machinery to upgrade all our operations, encompassing membership management, examinations, finances and capacity building. This wholesome approach will enable us redefine our service delivery to members in particular and the general public.

Collaboration with other bodies:

We shall engage other professional bodies in the built environment in mutual discussions with the aim of developing the construction industry for sustainable National growth. We shall leverage upon the various common platforms to accomplish this worthy goal. The Industry is critical to national development and collaboration is the way to go.

Rebranding Project:

Having faired averagely well in the last 50 years as a corporate entity and in order to reposition the Institute for sustainable growth and development, it is necessary to revisit the entire brand architecture of the Institute. The whole gamut of the Institute’s brand will be reviewed and made a brand of choice when it comes to costing and cost management of construction projects. The rebranding and change management project will enable the National Executive Council to deliver on its mandate and elevate the profession in Nigeria. Rebranding is at the heart of the Institute’s activities for the next two years and is aimed at bequeathing a re-invigorated value proposition capable of earning an enviable place within the construction industry. The rebranding roadmap will hopefully be launched in April, 2020 in Kaduna.

El-Rufai Urges FG to Outlaw Bills of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME)

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai has said that his administration has outlawed the use of Bills of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) for all construction projects in the state, describing the document as alien to international procurement standards.

The Governor who made the remark in Abuja Saturday night while serving as Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) President’s Business Dinner urged the Federal and State Governments to denounce the use of BEME and ensure that national procurements for infrastructure are at par with global standards with the use of “Bills of Quantities” as the exclusive document for costing of projects.

El-Rufai who is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors noted that the current practice in the Construction Industry where Designers are also the Cost Advisers was wrong, insisting that such a practice was not transparent and should be stopped in Nigeria, if the nation truly wishes to move forward.

“In Kaduna State, we have since outlawed Bills of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) for all our construction projects. I don’t know where that document came from and we are not going to use it. The best book on Measurements all over the world was written by a Quantity Surveyor and the document used for the costing of all civil and building engineering projects is called the Bills of Quantities (BOQ), so I don’t know where BEME came from,” El-Rufai said.

He said he was happy that more Quantity Surveyors are now joining politics and urged members of the Institute to seek elective positions so they can be relevant in the scheme of things in the country.

Speaking at the event, the President of the Institute, QS Mohammed Abba Tor said the NIQS President’s Dinner was put together to give the leaders of the Institute the opportunity to brainstorm and map out strategies through which Quantity Surveyors can engage with critical stakeholder in the public sector, organized private sector and the general public.

He said the last 50 years of NIQS have been eventful, replete with achievements that are difficult to ignore. He said the membership strength of the Institute is now about 10,000 made up of fellows, corporate members, probationers, technicians and students.

According to him, the NIQS has signed reciprocity agreement the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS) as part of the current strategic reforms that the Institute is undergoing towards the growth of the Nigerian Construction Industry.

Tor said with the endorsement by international QS institutions across the globe, NIQS was now at par with global standards and its members are now acceptable for employment anywhere in the world.

He listed the completion of the new NIQS Head Office Complex in Abuja, the establishment of the QS Academy and the Digitization of the Institute operations as some of the achievements of the NIQS.

However, he said the Quantity Surveying profession still faced some challenges which include the Non adoption of Bills of Quantities as the exclusively recognized costing document by Bureau of Public Procurement and MDAs; Establishment of Quantity Surveying Department in the Public Service; Lack of involvement of Quantity Surveyors in Government sponsored projects at initiation and budgeting stages amongst others.

High point of the event was the guest presentation of a paper entitled, “Stakeholders Engagement and Brand Management for the NIQS” by an Abuja based Branding Specialist