I had problems with the construction professionals I engaged for my project.

When I got my plot of land in one of the estates in Lekki, I immediately contacted my cousin, who is an architect. He drew up plans for a simple four-bedroom house with two room servants quarters attached to the main building.

My architect cousin insisted on doing things professionally, so we had a Bill of Quantities drawn up by a Quantity Surveyor, Mechanical and Engineering drawings and signed a contract with a contractor.

Things were great at first. The contractor mobilised to site and started working and meeting the deadlines. However by the time, the german floor had been cast, I noticed that the level was sloping. I tried to get in touch with the contractor but it was as if he had disappeared off the face of the earth. Later, I learnt that he had gotten the American Lottery Visa and just dropped everything and left for the United States.

Because of this experience, I started monitoring the project more closely. I agreed with the new contractor that I will supply the materials and so it will be a labour only contract. When it got to the decking, which was a hollow clay pot structure, I asked the Quantity Surveyor for the number of hollow clay pots to buy. He gave me a figure which was a full 25% over what was required. He did not get why I was so upset and eventually I asked him to leave the job.

The next interesting aspect of the construction was when I looked at the Mechanical Engineering drawings in detail. I found that the engineers had provided for  air conditioners in the servants quarters, the kitchen store and at least four more places that it was totally unwarranted. When I took them up, they replied that it was only a provision but this meant that we had to pipe for all these unnecessary points. These professionals were costing me money!

I had to get on a steep learning curve to project manage the construction but at the end of the day my family got a beautiful property at a price that was within my budget.

If I had left it to the professionals, I might have paid up to 30% more of the final bill.

Building Blocks tells the stories of Laymen and their experience in building their homes. Do you have a similar story? Send to enquiries@castlesweekly.com

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