Nigeria’s foremost real estate company, UPDC Plc recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with a promise to continue delivering high quality commercial, residential and hospitality buildings.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of UPDC Plc., Mr. Odunayo Ojo, “over the next 25 years, UPDC will continue to deliver value. We’ll continue to keep to our promise of high quality, high integrity and ensuring that everything we do is focused on the end user, and focused on the customer.”
The 25th anniversary was marked with a Real Estate Summit with the theme ‘Housing Development Imperatives for Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges’. The panel discussion, moderated by Mr. Ojo, had personalities that are well-grounded in real estate investment matters. The panelists were: The Managing Director, James Cubitt Nigeria, Mr. Alan Davis; the Regional Head of Property for Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), Anne Rinu; Senior Partner/CEO of Knight Frank Nigeria, Mr. Frank Okosun; and the Surveyor General of Lagos State, Mr. Olutomi Sangowawa.
“UPDC also expanded into the retail and hospitality segments through the development of commercial properties, and a hotel. UPDC successfully issued its first corporate bond for N20 billion in 2010 and floated a UPDC REIT, which was listed on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange Limited in 2013.”
On recently developments, Mr. Oshin said UPDC went through a series of corporate restructuring exercises “aimed at repositioning for better efficiency and back on the path of profitability,” stating that such turnaround exercises take years to materialise. UPDC has already started reaping the benefits of focus management, which will ultimately lead to sustained returns to the company’s investors and other stakeholders.”
The company, he said, recently launched the development of Pinock Prime Estates, which is doing quite well in the market.
Addressing the role of design in the delivery of affordable housing, Managing Director, James Cubitt Nigeria, Mr. Alan Davis said, “Affordability of housing, like most other things, is determined by many macroeconomic issues, beyond architecture, and so we can talk about the idiosyncrasies of Nigeria, such as reduced purchasing power because of the high interest rates and minimum mortgage options available, the import based economy, a lack of local production, building materials and components and the unreliability of stock quantities, or the scarcity of materials, etc, etc.
“But there are nevertheless significant ways in which architectural design can influence the affordability of housing. Obviously, the adopting of the tropical design principles that I mentioned before demands a particular awareness of a design, but it’s not inherently difficult. In addition, architectural design is very much project or site specific, that has some aspects which can be standardised and reproduced. When we consider industries like the automotive industry, and how they manage production costs. We see the parts of the whole, especially for the large scale projects, can be standardised and manufactured by mass production processes. A designer working with these standard pieces that has the liberty to creatively apply them to respond to the idiosyncrasies of any given site. Obviously, the most commonly used aspect of this is in the production of precast concrete elements. The mass housing programme in the UK, intended to respond to the overwhelming housing shortfall immediately after the Second World War, relying mainly on the use of precast reinforced concrete panels, producing factories and bolted together on site. Dolphin estate (in Lagos) as an example of this utilizing prefabricated precast panels, and with the development of more sophisticated materials, and detailing one would hope that the downsides of Dolphin such as damp and condensation can now be avoided. Australia has developed a whole industry for the production of prefabricated housing in response to the to house miners in remote locations out in the bush.”
The Regional Head of Property for Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), Anne Rinu gave her expert opinion on the issue, stressing the importance of prefab in housing development.
She also talked about the evolving next generation that have their own views of what type of housing they desire, particularly housing that suits their needs.
Development companies, she said, should look at these options in addition to the type of contracts/partnerships, energy sources, particularly renewable and the facilities that are included in buildings.
Senior Partner/CEO of Knight Frank Nigeria, Mr. Frank Okosun emphsised the use of technology in housing development, stating that technology is the inthing, an enabler of transformation.
He advised all development companies to use technology in their business and in facility management.
The Surveyor General of Lagos State, Mr. Olutomi Sangowawa acknowledged the fact that Lagos has limited land and advised those buying land to seek the services of a surveyor as a first step.