An Oversight Company Targets An End To Corruption And Extortion Practices In Nigeria Self-Build Projects


WRITTEN BY SUN RICHARD SODIYA B.Sc
(Hons), M.Sc., MBEng, MCIOB.
Managing Partner – Richard Sodiya
Associates
Across the
country or abroad, Nigerians are working hard to improve their country’s
reputation and do away with corrupt practices. It is never easy to go against
the grain, but that is exactly what Richard Sodiya Associates does.

It is not a
small task neither is it an easy task but companies like Richard Sodiya
Associates are making a big difference for Nigerians in Diaspora or at home planning
self-build projects.  Sun Richard Sodiya,
managing partner for Richard Sodiya Associates, asserted that it is now
possible for Nigerians engaging in self-build projects to avoid the damaging
and expensive repercussions of project mismanagement.

Efforts to fight
and prevent corruption in the Nigerian construction sector tend to take two
forms: Partnerships of agencies and special interest groups such as relevant
professional bodies and the grass-roots efforts of private citizens.
The top-down
approach is characterised by a partnership of anti-corruption agencies, public
institutions and business citizen groups that are effectively organising to
address corruption in Nigeria. In most recent last, All Africa Global Media
reported on a partnership between the Centre for Public Private Partnership
(CPPP) and the Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC), which was to be assisted by the
Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). The purpose of this
partnership has been to facilitate and coordinate public, private, and civil
society efforts in “corruption prevention, education, monitoring and
prosecution” (“This Day”, 2010).
The
participation of the private business sector is regarded as crucial in the
fight against corruption in Nigeria. In a recent session of the Conference of
the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNODC),
a resolution on the prevention of corruption was adopted. A key element of that
resolution was an emphasis on the pivotal role of the private sector in the
prevention of corruption.
The 10th
principle of the United Nations Global Compact is that “Business should work
against corruption in any form, including bribery and extortion” and Richard
Sodiya Associates is actively engaged in that effort by ensuring transparency,
accountability, and integrity in its transaction with clients –and importantly—in
all transactions the company oversees on behalf of its clients.
The construction
industry is particularly vulnerable to corrupt practices because many different
business enterprises are involved in any project, making proper regulation a
burden and effective monitoring a very difficult challenge.  A majority of Nigerians are not able to
supervise and coordinate their own building projects, no matter how sophisticated
or enlighten they otherwise are. 
Nigerians consistently find it difficult to identify the right channels
for getting their building projects done correctly by qualified professionals.
The successful
coordination and oversight of construction projects requires a deep knowledge
of the industry, precise management of the many stages of construction, and the
ability to head-off problems before they gain traction. These are exactly the
skills and services that Richard Sodiya Associates brings to clients who are
wise enough to seek assistance with their construction projects. 
Clients who hire
qualified professional firm at the beginning of their projects will experience
considerable savings and avoid the heart-breaking experience of having a
home-building project end badly.  Most
Nigerians are of the belief that engaging professionals for their building
projects will increase their building costs, but this is not at all the
case.  Laymen may consider paying for
professional property advice and construction project supervision as luxuries
they can do without.  In fact, by trying
to save money on a self-build project by conducting the coordination and
supervision themselves, Nigerians will invariably waste money and experience
unanticipated difficulties over which they will later agonize.
Understandably,
self-builders are typically not familiar with tools of the construction
industry that are used to manage the cost and quality of projects.  A Bill of Quantities is a tool used to manage
the cost of a project and remain within budget, to ensure that money is not
wasted, and to finish the project according to the specifications.  Starting out with a Bill of Quantities allows clients
to be confident that they understand their actual construction costs and
financial requirements before embarking on the project.  Informed by the Bill of Quantities, clients
can determine if they need to rein in their imagination—and focus on staying within
their budget—before they commit their hard-earned resources to a self-build
project. 
As a
construction and property sourcing consultant, Richard Sodiya Associates
provides full service for every stage of building. With years of experience,
the firm knows which questions to ask to identify clients’ short, medium, and
long-term home construction goals. The consultants are adept at articulating
precisely what clients envision in their home over the project life stages.
With our firm,
clients get straight-talking advice and a road map to achieve their home
construction goals. The consultants conduct a detailed and comprehensive cost
analysis of all phases of the construction process, with an eye to making it
easy for clients to understand financial and construction recommendations.
As highlighted
above, for Nigerians in Diasporas or at home considering self-build projects,
many issues seem insurmountable.  Land
acquisition costs are becoming inflated. 
It is difficult to find trustworthy contractors/subcontractors.  M
anaging a self-build construction project when daily visits
to the building site can be achieved is not without challenges.  Focused attention must be given to constantly
changing details and the ever present threat of irregularities in the quality
of materials or short-cuts in workmanship. 
These challenges are
magnified when a construction project is taking place far away from a client’s current
residence or work location. 
While family members might agree to provide construction oversight,
they are highly unlikely to have the necessary construction expertise and
knowledge to be of any real use.  Convincing
friends or family members to help in ways for which they are not equipped or
prepared will undoubtedly result in regrettable consequences.
  Misunderstandings are all too common and
unfortunately relationships become strained when the successful completion of a
construction project is compromised. 
Whether problems arise out of ignorance or because of deliberately
fraudulent transactions, the loss experienced by the prospective homeowner is
the same.  Often it is not possible to
recover from the problems that have been created.  This is particularly the case for many
non-resident Nigerians who embark on a project to have a home built for them in
their homeland.
Our services can be obtained for
self-build projects either as a single process on a project or as a full
service that spans from appraisal to occupation.  From the first, the consultants of Richard
Sodiya Associates are able to determine how to capitalize on the potential of
each building site. Clients may be helped by the company to secure development
opportunities and acquire land. The collaboration between the consultants and
the clients facilitates final good design and ensures that the right
construction partners are engaged under an appropriate form of contract. The
consultants’ overarching goal is always to provide effective contract
administration to ensure delivery of a quality product on time and within
budget.
The many challenges
associated with a self-build project can be discouraging and have doubtless p
revented some Nigerians in Diaspora from engaging in self-build
projects at home.  But the cost of a
self-build is a lot less than most people might think—when the project is correctly
managed.  As a matter of fact, we believe
that 99% of people who correctly complete a self-build home will go on to make
a profit if they decide to sell the house afterwards.   It is precisely this dynamic that allows land
developers to be profitable.  However, we
recognize that self-build projects are not just about making a profit.  The main reason that people self-build is
because they cannot find a house that meets their needs with regard to design,
space, specifications, location or budget.
The founders of Richard
Sodiya Associates are passionate about helping self-build clients from abroad
and at home take an active part in monitoring their projects.  The technology employed by our firm enables real-time
online monitoring of self-build projects. 
Using a secure, password protected website, clients are able to monitor
their self-build projects anytime and anywhere in the world that they have
access to the Internet. And because the managing directors and the consultants
are members of an independent private business, they look after a client’s
personal interests, contributing to a client’s peace of mind, and forging a
relationship of trust and integrity.  
Above all, we focus on this objective: To help make self-building
easier, cheaper, and more enjoyable.  Prospective self-build clients are encouraged
to consider the many ways that Richard Sodiya Associates can provide real
benefits today and avoid real problems tomorrow.
Richard Sodiya
Associates also seeks to
hire talented individuals across Nigeria.  Candidates for employment who share the
company’s ethics or clients for projects are encouraged to contact us through
our website at www.richardsodiyaassociate.com.

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