Stakeholders, govt laud partnership as firm delivers house in 14 days

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Hope for timely delivery of houses in the country received a boost last Tuesday, as a property development firm, EchoStone Nigeria Limited, delivered the first house from its stable in 14 days.

The firm, which introduced a revolutionary measure that facilitates speedy delivery of houses in the country, used the occasion to prove that its building technology is indeed, the needed solution in tackling housing deficit being experienced in the country.

At a ribbon cutting ceremony at the premises of the Lagos State Vocational Education Centre compound in Agidingbi, Ikeja, where a building is located, the Commissioner for Housing, Gbolahan Lawal, praised the firm describing, it as Echostone represent technology at its best. He said the building, which was built in 14 days, is a proof that when technology is deployed, development is faster.

It is satisfying to know that a 64-square-meter house can be completed from the scratch in just 14 days. Echostone is fired up to do more because of the response they have received from government. They have the funding and technological know-how to help us greatly in tackling the deficit in the state, Lawal said.

The Commissioner, who appealed for trust for the firm from the public, assured Echostone that the capital investment it has brought into the state would yield good return-on-investment for them. He disclosed that Lagos State was already discussing with the developer to work out the modality of deploying the same technology in assisting the state in constructing compact storey buildings, as this is the way to go to accommodate Lagosians.

We want to build compact storey buildings. We are in discussion with echostone and they have assured us that it is doable, Lawal said.

To the Chief Executive Officer and co Founder, Echostone, Anthony Rechhia, the delivery of the building in 14 days and handing over of the keys to LAwal, is a feat that many thought would be impossible. So, we have made the impossible possible in just 14 days, he said.

EchoStone Co-Founder and President, Business Development, Mr. Ander Lindquist, remarked that it was a promise kept for the firm, adding that the firm looked forward to building more houses both in the state and the country.

In similar vein, Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) Managing Director, Mr. Kehinde Ogundimu, said the company was set to remove the barrier to home ownership and provide liquidity for achieving the goal. Besides, he said the NMRC was determined to make affordable accommodation a reality, especially in Lagos State, where the demand acutely falls below supply.

Beyond engaging EchoStone, efforts by the state, the Ibile Holdings, Lagos Homes Developers, through Public Private Participation (PPP), the involvement of the NMRC to ensure that mortgage will be made available for those who needed it to buy houses will be fully supported, Ogundimu said, adding that EchoStone technology is a much needed solution to the housing deficit in Lagos State in particular, and Nigeria as a whole. These problems, he noted, will never be solved if we continue to build in the traditional way of one block at a time.

Families Home Fund Managing Director, Mr. Femi Adewole, declared that the body will engage Messrs EchoStone Nigeria, in the provision of 100,000 housing units in four years for Lagos residents, with the memorandum already in the pipeline.

We have a product known as Home Loans Assistance, put in place by the Federal Governments social intervention to assist Nigerians in getting decent, but affordable accommodation.

Besides the provision of housing, the scheme will create huge employment opportunities for Nigerian youths. This, we will do in conjunction with the Lagos State government, which has shown an enormous goodwill that attracts the attention of foreign firms such as EchoStone America, he stated.

Speaking on the completed prototype, official of EchoStone Nigeria, Mr. Sammy Adigun, assured that his firm will meet the housing needs of Lagos residents, with the support of all the relevant stakeholders, without compromising quality

While congratulating the firm for identifying the need for improvement in the building sector and for taking the bold step, Operations Officer, Green Building Lead, Accra, Ghana, of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr. Dennis Quansah, said Nigerias future depends on how it is built today.

He said the building, which is exactly what Echostone will build in the Peridot Parkland Estate, Idale, Badagry, is built green per the standards of IFCs Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certification.

The Peridot Parkland Estate has been designed to achieve the following impressive EDGE ratings; 29 per cent energy savings; 35 percent water savings; 43 per cent less embodied energy in materials. The savings will ensure that the utility bills for these housing units will be minimised and contribute to a reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions, Quansah said.

He revealed that green buildings are not only a challenge that all must overcome together, because IFC believes there are available solutions it can provide to policy makers. Together, he said, IFC and policy makers can create an investment opportunity for developers, financial institutions, and home buyers or commercial buyers or renters.

Echostone, it will be recalled, announced a fortnight ago that it was deploying an innovative technology which allows for rapid and scalable construction in the construction of a 250 units of two-bedroom detached bungalows in Idale, Badagry. The estate will be fitted with state-of-the-art facilities and comes at N9 million per unit. In all, it plans a construction of 2,000 housing units in three Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state- Ayobo in Alimosho and Imota in Ikorodu.

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