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Architects Allege Breach in National Assembly's N52 Billion Building Contract

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Monday, 05 October 2015 00:00

The National Assembly building project, which under normal circumstances, is set for delivery around November this year, already generating some controversies, as Nigerian architects are already alleging some sorts of breach in its handling.

Following allegation of non-compliance with due process, Nigerian architects have indicated their readiness to call for the probe of the on-going National Assembly world-class permanent site for legislative studies, located in the heart of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The architects are querying the non-involvement of local architects in the construction of the edifice, which they say is against the law governing tendering process within the construction industry in Nigeria.

According to a source, which prefers anonymity, the bodies of Nigerian architects - Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) and the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), may have begun compiling areas of irregularity in the handling of the project.

Though, the project will boost sustenance of dynamic and effective legislature in Nigeria and the sub-region, the architects who are alleging breach of relevant laws of the land, have hinted that they may have to petition the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).

A chieftain of the industry, who spoke with The Guardian last week, said it was obvious that Nigerian architects were excluded questioning how such project could be done with local architects.

"Did you see any Nigerian architect on the team of the contractors as displayed on the board displayed at the project site? And if a Nigerian architect is involved underground, that may be another case of fraud, which we have been complaining about and we would not hesitate to investigate and sanction any architect found to have done this" he assured.

The source added while it is mandatory for all building projects must have architects on its team; it was rather unfortunate that a public project of such is being done without recourse to the law. He, however, insisted that, the body would follow the matter to its logical conclusion.

The project, which under normal circumstances, is set for delivery around November this year, will gulp about N52, 031 billion. When completed, the edifice will be named the National Institute for Legislative Studies. At the moment, construction works have reached advanced stages in a project having its contract conditions as design and build re-measurement, with a completion period of 24 months.

Coming with the complex are convention centres, libraries, administrative buildings, main reception/entrance lobby, hostel with recreational centres, external infrastructure, power house to mention a few.

Going by the project brief, the main gate, power reception, library, lecture theatres, and administrative building were said to have been completed already; as testing and commissioning of Phase 1, convention centre, infrastructure and works would be completed between October and November 2015.

While the lead contractor is the Julius Berger, Lambert, Energo, Frerk, and Biogest are handling electrical, mechanical, generators and sewage treatment plant respectively. Also, Berkefeld, Strhmann, Stim, Abumet and AFP are providing water treatment plant, natural stone, steel works, aluminum works and doors with furniture in that order.

At an occasion, while speaking on the project, the Director General of the National Institute for Legislative Studies, Dr. Ladi Hamalai, had said the institute was poised to transit from a research and knowledge management center of the National Assembly to a capacity development hub in the West Africa sub region.

According Hamalai, "The rational was to ensure that the institute of such world class also has a befitting world class headquarters, which will have the necessary office space, training space and research facilities. All these are very necessary in any institute of such caliber.

Basically, the headquarters has what is called the core building. Within the core building is the library, which is unique. It is a three-floor building that has 20 offices for researchers.

These offices will also be extended to international institutions that are interested in collaborating with the institute. Hamalai added that the headquarters also has the administrative block and the 1000-seater facility auditorium, as well as the lecture complex. "There are four lecture rooms of 50, 100, 150 and 200 sitting capacity, respectively.

These are the core buildings. There is also the reception hall. Apart from this, there is also the 100-room hostel, which would be more or less a three star hotel that will support participants with their various training programmes."

Futuristically, she observed that some of the benefits of having such a world-class structure in Abuja for the use of the legislature, Nigeria and Nigerians would be quite monumental, considering the fact that bringing the best international training institutes like the John Hopkins and one or two others with the view of collaborating with them in the areas of training and research cannot be quantified.

The Project Manager and Development Consultant, Mr. Zingak Gomwalk, says that the project is situated on a plot size of 8.12 hectares at Piwoyi along Airport Road, Abuja. He added that the land gently slopes in a Northwestern direction with a rocky outcrop towards the Northeastern portion.

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Online Editor at Interarchtiv Media Company

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