Living in a container home may not be a very fantastic idea for many Nigerians who place more value on conventional construction, but it is something that should be considered as a creative and innovative approach to solving the country’s housing deficit.
As it were, Nigeria has a housing deficit of 17 million, and to bridge the gap, experts say Nigeria must build at least 1 million housing units annually for 10 consecutive years, even as President Goodluck Jonathan has disclosed that the country needs a minimum of N56 trillion for the project.
But with high cost of building materials, difficulty in accessing land for housing and a badly structured mortgage sector, achieving sustainable housing in Nigeria may not be feasible in 10 years.
Unfortunately the worst hit in this whole housing challenge are the low and middle income earners, as many property developers would rather build for the high end markets, because of harsh business conditions, such as; huge cost of funds, short term credit facility, expensive land and high cost of construction.
And so to break even and remain in business, the developers believe it only makes economic sense to serve those who have capacity to rent, lease or buy the properties and pay immediately.
While government at both federal and state level in the past have introduced initiatives geared towards encouraging and supporting citizens to own their homes, somehow, these initiatives haven’t yielded as much result as expected as the housing crunch bites even harder especially among the low income earners.
It is to this end, that adopting the shipping container houses becomes imperative as an alternate solution to build quickly, en mass and at a very affordable price.
Although they seem plain and bland, shipping container houses are innovative housing alternative that comes out very impressive after a touch of creativity and architecture work.
Aside the fact that they are durable and eco-friendly to a large extent, shipping container houses are 30-40 per cent cheaper than the conventional houses and are three times faster to put together.
Also, the pre-fab modules can easily be transported from one point to another by a truck. Talk of a moving home, now isn’t that interesting!
You could actually detach your home and move it to whatever location of your choice, whenever you want. This is something you can’t do with your brick house.
Speaking on the durability of container homes, Dele Ijaiya-Oladipo, the Managing Partner of Tempohousing Nigeria, a cargo-tecture solutions company, boasted that there have never been reports of a collapsed container home as opposed to cement buildings that do collapse from time to time.
In his words: “Containers are based on International Shipping Organisation (ISO) standards. They are built to withstand high weather conditions. The law is that shipping companies are supposed to renew their fleet after a shipping container has been used for 25 years.”
“When you are using it for a building requirement and it is stationary and within accommodation area, it can last forever. And it’s like any other building, you have to maintain it. In our own fabrications, we don’t usually expose the metal container.”
“As to the suitability of container houses to Nigeria’s tropical weather condition, he assured that each unit is carefully modified using a well tested system to ensure hotter climates are adequately catered for. Internally, we have wood loggings, plywood, insulations, and depending on your choice, we have plasterboards or PVC,” he said.
On cost and delivery time, Oladipo illustrated with a 2 bedroom container home, which he said, will cost about N2.5 million, depending on the size of the house. “On a cost per square metre basis, we rate between N45,000 and N65,000 per square metre, so it really depends on individual personal preferences for certain things; the finishing, external cladding, etc, and we can deliver in 6 to 7 days.”