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21 Things You Experience When You Build Your House In Nigeria – Part 1

1. Everybody Claims To Be An Engineer And Have An Opinion

Engineer is the keyword on site and everyone is one. From the bricklayer, labourer, and supervisor everyone is an engineer. You will even hear some call themselves ‘engineering’. You wonder if that is a higher version of engineers. It doesn’t end there; everyone has an opinion on what the other person should be doing; even the bread seller on site will tell you how you should do your foundation based on how some sites close to you have done theirs. If you don’t have a construction professional to put you through, you may end up confused.

2. You Are Tempted To Go For The Lowest Cost

Your friend learns you are building and refers you to a friend of his who is an experienced structural engineer. Engineer says the project will cost 5,000,000 and Baba Mulika says it would cost just 1.8 million. The price don’t even sound like distant cousins. You go ahead with Baba Mulika because he is cheaper and soon after the project starts, he keeps telling you how the prices of products and work activities are changing every week. At the end of the day, if you are reflective enough to compute your budget, you would have arrived at the 5million the engineer quoted. If you don’t want to have a high BP, Never go for the lowest budget.

 

3. Scammers Everywhere

Have you seen the comments or ‘Ads’ on some websites recently and saw a post where someone claimed Dangote cement is now 1000 naira? My friend, you better pick race! The last time Dangote cement was N1000, Obasanjo was still president. People have paid as much as N300,000 downpayment to these phoney cement sellers with the promise to deliver “tomorrow”. Well, maybe the earth is experiencing some difficulty in rotating sha, because tomorrow never came. There are also those who promise to deliver 20tonnes of sand and deliver 15 tonnes or a less quality altogether.
Don’t forget the man you went to his shop to buy Spanish tiles; he gave you at a ridiculously good price and the product looked so good. You felt you got a bargain so you ordered the boys to pack the materials into the delivery truck – and YOU PAID. You smiled about your bargain until you opened the carton when you got home and it was shining like China. It was so ‘chinko’ that you didn’t bother to check the country it was made FROM. You still don’t know when the parade changed. You returned to the shop to complain but where you wan start the story from sef?

4. Nothing Hardly Goes According To Plan

Remember Baba Basira (BB for short) who promised to deliver the 300 bags of cement on the day of casting and even swore in the name of Ogun, even though you know he worships Sango. So on casting day 10 labourers were waiting for your imported cement out of the 16 engineer put in the budget, but you can’t find BB, his number doesn’t go through and you eventually have to buy cement at a higher price. If you ever find yourself in an interview where you are asked if you can handle uncertainty, simply tell them you have managed the construction of a house in Naija.

 

5. Some Expenses No Longer Come Natural To You

In the early days of your home construction, you are quite alarmed at how you just sit down jeje and some unplanned bills start following you around like ‘goodness and mercy’. It is either Omo-onile, engineer, or Dangote has decided to increase the price of cement. Overtime you are so much in construction mode that when you see a promo for family get together of 40,000 naira, it registers in your mind as 30 bags of cement.

6. You Get To ‘Meet Aliko Dangote’

In the past you only knew Dangote as the richest Blackman. Now the relationship is about to get closer and deeper. When you heard Dangote cement is just 2000 naira per bag you are like, “Hey that is cheap”, but when you realised you need 1000 bags you are like “KILODE! For this kain small house”. Hold on dear, Dangote holds the aces in the cement industry in naija and he could be generous with the price too. Imagine how you now feel when you hear cement price has been reduced from 2000 to 1500. One week ago you needed 2million, now thanks to ‘Angel Aliko’; you only need to cough out N1.5million pere!…and 500k has been saved just like that, God bless Dangote.

7. Your House Design Trims Down Fast

In the beginning, you wanted a cream colored Jacuzzi in your master bedroom. You also wanted the bathroom to have a gate view, so you can see when the boys come to check your girls while you are bathing – you can’t take chances on Nigerian boys. Well, everything looked good in the Architects 3D until the Quantity Surveyor brought you the bill. You be like “Oga Architect, kindly remove the gate view, an ordinary bathroom would do.
9 months into the construction, you realise you are 6 months behind schedule and have overspent the original budget by the double. You can no longer even afford Jacuzzi, you just settled for a white bath tub. How are the wishes fallen!

8. ‘Omo-Onile’ is Your Friend

When it all started, they were friendly. While paying for your land they said you had to pay community dues. You fixed a meeting with them and noticed at the meeting that it is a mix of old and young persons. They said you could pay at once or at every stage of the construction. You bargained, they counter-offered. Soon, you both agreed. You paid all and was issued a receipt. It was all on a lighter mood that you wondered why people dreaded these omo-oniles when even you handled them smartly – maybe you are just so good. Soon you start your project and there is another group of youths jumping up-and-down on your site. They insisted on being paid for every stage of work and they tell you they are a separate group. After threatening your workers who fled immediately they saw knives, you agreed to pay their own money. Wait, another episode of the drama is around the corner. Soon, another group pops up when your materials arrive, you either pay them or your goods wouldn’t be delivered. Be warned dear friend; Omo-onile is for real!

9. Rain Is Coming

If you have watched game of thrones, you know what winter means. It is dreaded. Imagine you are casting your German floor and you have rented concrete mixers, generator, and hired labourers. You are already excited at the pace of work and hopeful casting would end by 6pm until the rain started by 11am. To make it worse it is one of those rainfalls that pour like a water dam was opened. Your workers can no longer work, materials are wasted, equipments hired still have to be paid for and labourers are already grinning – and they are the last people you want to offend. You suddenly wish you had gotten the contact of that ‘Jazzed up’ guy who can ‘catch the rain’. Eventually rain activities lengthen your timeline, and drives up cost. You now learn the hard way why most construction projects are carried out in the dry season.

10. Foundation Is Not Even The ‘Tip of The Iceberg’

So you finished your foundation and you called friends and family together for a get together. It took you 6 weeks instead of the 3 weeks you planned but at least you are happy. Everyone said well done except your site engineer who is just smiling around sheepishly while you were jumping up-and-down. In his mind he’s like “Fasten your seat belt oga, expenses are about to go to next gear”.

 

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