Experts list must-do things for safe investment in high-rise buildings

Concerned about the frequent construction failures involving even high-rise buildings in Nigeria, experts have advised investors to take key factors into consideration to ensure the safety of their investment.

To invest safely and profitably, especially in luxury high-rise residential properties, the experts also advised that investors must ask critical questions involving what they called “The 5 Ws of Luxury High Rise Residential Real Estate.”

The experts who spoke at a real estate event with the theme, ‘The rules of engagement: High rise and complex structures in Nigeria,’ organised by the Nigerian British Infrastructure Group.

According to them, hiring professionals for supervision is critical, pointing out that failing to hire industry professionals to supervise complex projects compromises the interest of all stakeholders.

To ensure the safety of investment, they canvassed the setting up of a project team, noting that with qualified key staff and suitable expertise, as well as a track record of delivering similar properties, are critical to the success of high-rise construction.

“Health and safety should be a legal necessity in the construction of high-rise buildings,” they advised, pointing out that buildings’ structure is similar to a human skeleton.

Read also: 3 major considerations to make before investing in real estate

“Compromise is not an option for developers. As a result, developers should only hire competent and capable professionals, while direct labour in the construction of high-rise buildings should be prohibited,” they said, stressing that vertical extensions on a building that has previously been approved for a number of levels should never be permitted.

For purposes of safety and verification, clients and developers should look at the licenses of professionals in the development of highrise buildings, they said.

Udo Okonjo, CEO, Fine and Country, West Africa, pointed out factors that purchasers/buyers must look out for as part of risk management and due diligence before investing in any luxury residential or other properties under development.

“Before investing in high-rise luxury residences, investors must ask critical questions; we all share a collective responsibility in real estate as stakeholders. I don’t believe in collective guilt, but I do believe in collective responsibility,” she said, quoting Audrey Hepburn, a social commentator.

According to her, buyers should ask questions bordering on Who is the developer, financier, key contractor, consultants and whether the developers are specialists in high-rise buildings?

Questions should also be asked on What exactly is being built and whether it satisfies building and zoning regulations.

“Where is it being built- Location, Location, Location means different things in different places and should include environmental impact assessment reports to ensure buyers understand how their investment will be impacted long term,” she said.

When the project is to be completed is also a good question to ask. This will be followed by whether the developer has a track record or delivery of similar projects and if there are any guarantees?

Questions could also be asked as to what the ‘Wow’ factor is in the project. “Rising sky high in itself is not enough of a ‘wow’ factor if the foundation is wrong and if other key aspects are ignored. There are numerous ways to make a statement in luxury residential projects if creativity is employed,” he said.

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