Growing up in a typical Nigerian city (Aba) back in the days..I was privileged to listen to discussions or conversations about how someone based abroad (Ala-bekee) used to send in money for a building project in the village/city as the case may be; then after some years or over the duration of some months, would return to meet a practically empty plot of land. in some cases, the so-called land would even be nonexistent.
The type of wahala issues like this cause eh, to those who can bear it, they can simply let go since the culprits in most cases are always blood relatives/siblings/uncle’s/in-laws etc.
In my line of work I’ve equally bumped into a couple of such projects..the most recent one being the reason for this thread.
So, some days ago, I was contacted to evaluate a building project; a supposed one storey building comprising of 4×3-bedroom flats. However, only the front flat had been done up to “their” supposed deck beam level.
The owner of this project is based in Philadelphia, U.S.A and is a woman well over the late 60’s.
The project supervisor/executioner is an in-law (I think he married one of the woman’s daughters based on the information I received)..
Now, the instruction was simple: “Build this house while I send in the funds, at completion you and your family would take one flat and stay as caretakers of the property”.
In all honesty, what I saw at the site left me bewildered and I was just wondering the “version” of wickedness at work in the so-called in-law.. seriously!!
By the building regulation standards, a standard building height ought to be at least 3metres. To achieve this during construction (block work stage), we do what I called “4-5-1-3” for bungalow buildings and “4-5-1-2” for lower levels of multi-storey buildings above the D.P.C.
Above the DPC.
4: the first 4-courses of block work leading up to the window sill.
5: the next 5courses of block works above the window sill leading up to the lintel.
1: the lintel, always having a depth of 225mm (9inches) which is the depth of all block sizes.
3: the final 3-course of block work above the lintel use to level up in readiness for roof work. In multi-storey buildings, this last 3-courses is replaced by 2-courses with the final block removed and a deck beam introduced in its stead.
For the structure under review, what I met was more like a “3-4-1-3” (as shown in the picture) kind of formation following the same format as explained above. Now me sef wey dey think say I short, I still dey bend to enter one of the rooms because the door opening will always hit my forehead, yes, that’s how bad it was!
And this is supposed to be a storey building!!
Next, I equally noticed that the plinth beams (mostly referred to as “chaining” at the DPC level), were without stirrups; yes, more like the 3-12mm used were just laid round the areas they thought necessary with over-site concrete (German floor) laid directly on them. Wow! we too Sabi for this country!!!
Well, luckily for this woman in question, she happened to have returned during one of the ceremonies the Igbere people of Abia State is known for, The Igbotonma ceremony, as she was a participant in the 2017 edition, thereafter she was taken to see her project; rooms were too small, kitchen was too small, etc..the house just looked so unplanned. She was heartbroken thus ordered the job to be stopped.
Please our brothers/sisters in the obodo oyibo (abroad) try as much as possible to engage professionals to do these things for you and while at it, endeavour to come in at least once to see the project by yourself and note any peculiar landmarks or something you can use to identify your site from a photograph, before them go begin send photos of Mr Okonkwo’s site go give Mr Clinton. Insist on photo updates every 2-days, if not daily or at worst every 3-days..these stories are painful and they don’t just touch the heart, the touch the spinal cord too.
Well, for this particular project, discussions are ongoing and a redesign is on the way..by God’s grace a follow up thread will be available to show the updates and progress made when the job starts.