He noted that government has over the years embarked on series of housing initiatives which proved not to be sustainable, adding that there was an urgent need for a change of strategy based on a sustainable and well thought out initiative.
“The Federal Government would continue to prosecute overall housing policy stand which recognises the government as active facilitator of private sector-driven housing sector,” he added. The minister cited the housing initiatives in other climes, noting that they were targeted majorly at housing the working class people.
According to him, the public housing initiative of the United Kingdom was started by government in 1918 and that as of 2014, 64.8 percent of UK’s 53 million people were home owners. He added that the Singaporean initiative was started by government in 1960 and that it has provided housing for 80 percent of its 3 million people. “What is common to both model, is that there was a uniformity of design, a common target to house working class people, and not the elite, standardisation of fittings like doors, windows, space, electrical and mechanical, and also a common concept of neighborhood,” he asserted.
Fashola noted that many of the PPP housing initiatives entered into have either stalled as a result of funding, lack of capacity, land disputes or court cases, adding that “this is not the road to sustainability.” He said after the federal government announced plans to build houses, many people have come up with proposals to build 10,000 units of housing.
However, our interrogation of these proposals shows that none of the people who want to build 10,000 houses can show us where they have previously built 500 houses to show their capacity. One of them who had signed a contract to deliver a 1,000 housing unit estate since around 2013 has run into difficulty after building 84 units,” he stated. The minister said the first key to the roadmap in housing was proper planning, adding that it was crucial to successful execution, project completion, to cost control and reduction in variation requests and financial calculations.
“Our plan requires first a clear understanding of who we want to provide housing for.” He said those being targeted by government in its plan are not people who want land to build for themselves, who want town houses and duplexes but those in the majority and those who are most vulnerable.
Our plan requires us to conduct a survey of these people to determine what they expect and what they can pay. Our plan requires us to evolve agreeable housing types, between 2 to 4 designs that have a broad, national cultural acceptance.
Our plan requires us to standardize these designs so that we can then design moulds to accelerate the number that can be built. Our plan requires us to standardize the size of our doors, windows, our toilet and bath fittings, our lighting fittings and other accessories so that our small and medium enterprises can respond to supply all the building materials, create diversification and jobs; and ensure that projects are completed with a steady supply of materials. Our plan requires us to ensure that the designs reflect our behavioural patterns, such as adequate storage, and other lifestyle needs.”