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In its quest to deliver the proposed 10,000 affordable and quality homes for middle-income Nigerians by 2020, Alpha Mead Development Company (AMDC), last week, unveiled the completed show house of its 112 unit Lekki Pearl Estate. The unveiling which had in attendance all stakeholders on the project, including the home subscribers, financial partners and development contractors held at the Estate site on Sunday, January 31, 2016. Speaking before the unveiling, Femi Akintunde, Managing Director/CEO of the company expressed delight that with the completion of the show house, AMDC is now able to show to the Nigerian built environment that technology can play significantly in the affordable and quality mix of housing development. He said: “Usually, one of the issues is the thinking that affordability impacts negatively on quality. But by embracing technology, housing development can be at cheaper rates while quality and precision can still be achieved to give homeowners comfort, making the situation a win-win for both customers and the environment. For example, embracing technology like we have done on this project reduced material wastages to near zero level, saved the environment from deforestation as our technology does not use wood in construction, and ultimately will save our customers time because moving forward; our goal is to efficiently maximize the technology to deliver the houses in an average of 10 days, post foundation”. According to him, this technology guarantee consistency in design and quality delivery to customers by offering them straight and parallel lines which is uncommon due to bad craftsmanship known to the construction industry. Akintunde further said that AMDC has focused its development strategies on the middle income class because they are the drivers of the economy, and currently in their productive stages. He said out of the reported 17 million housing deficit, an estimated four million gap exists in the middle income class. He noted that these are bankable individuals who should be able to have decent and quality homes, but the current high entry level of the market has made this dream impossible. “With an entry-level of ₦6 Million equity requirement in today’s housing market, only a few of this class of Nigerians will be able to exit the rent market in their productive years. Self-building is also not an option because of the level of stress, wastage and time required to build a home for oneself in Nigeria today. So what we have done is to structure a payment plan that suits the lifestyle and income level of these Nigerians; such that in addition to a world-class building technology, we are currently building homes for middle-income Nigerians for as low as ₦250,000 monthly”, he explained. Akintunde also lamented the current housing situation in the country. He noted that with technologies like these form works, government at various levels is expected to start putting serious thoughts into social housing delivery because a substantial part of the housing deficit falls within the social housing space. He stressed that government will be able to build houses faster, and the cost of building will be minimal compared with the conventional building methods if it embraces technology. Addressing visitors at the event, Executive Director, Real Estate, AMDC, Damola Akindolire said execution has been the bane of delivering affordable and quality homes for the middle-income market, saying, “everyone talks about developing affordable homes for this market but the execution is a big issue. The truth is that it is a pretty tough call to build quality and functional houses like we are doing and still sell them at affordable rates with low entry barriers such as ₦250,000 monthly. But like I have said at different fora, AMDC is not just a development company; we are a home solution provider who understand the end-to-end process of the housing supply chain and able to identify these bottlenecks to the advantage of our customers. And I think with this project coming on stream, we have been able to prove to the market that those words are not just fine marketing slogans, we mean them”. “We have not just used technology to solve the problems of affordability and quality; we are also responding to the challenge of delivery time. This show house was erected in an average of 10 days, post foundation. You can go round and look at houses that were termed affordable 12 months ago, how many of them are still at that pristine state? Some of them are already being renovated, and regrettably, at a huge cost to the buyers”. He furthered: “But in contrast, our project come is not just about quality, it’s also about functionality. For example, all our apartments come with large patio French windows for good ventilation, 100mm walls to deliver bigger spaces, outdoor terrace for all rooms and walk-in closet for the Master bedroom. It will also interest you to know that the estate is currently off grid but we are generating power through solar, which, besides ensuring that our occupants are saved the stress of epileptic power supply, helps them save up to 20% on power”. Akindolire further explained that the service excellence, which its parent company, Alpha Mead Facilities, is known for strong influence how it was able to leverage local capacity to deliver global standards. “A big item of news for us on this project is that after the Wall Ties and Forms (WTF) team trained our people in about two weeks; and since then, Nigerians have been the ones driving the technology to deliver this project. The WTF team built one, and all other structures you see here today are built by Nigerians. In fact, the WTF President and Director of Training were amazed by the level of understanding our indigenous contractors and artisans displayed. For us, it is another way we are leveraging global standards to develop local capacity. It is a new experience for the Nigerian building environment and the artisan market, and we are glad to be in the vanguard of this”. “Also, before we arrived at working with Wall Ties and Forms (WTF) to construct the form works used in these buildings, three technology companies were pre-qualified and the Alpha Mead had to send a team of experts to the United States to have a firsthand view of what the quality assurance process of WTF is. It is after this that we settled to use the WTF form works. This tells you that like we entered the Facilities Management market in Nigeria and raised the standards to international level, we are coming to the real estate space to push the boundaries”. Meanwhile, subscribers to the estate are also commending AMDC for this novel project. One of them, Uzorinma Omehe, who spoke at the event expressed satisfaction with the quality of structure the company is erecting and for earning the trust of the market. “Like every other person looking at this type of real estate investment, I had my doubts initially, but while engaging with the staff of AMDC, they were able to allay my fears and today; with the quality of structure we have seen, I think AMDC has matched words with action”, he noted.

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This article was first published on 9th March 2016

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