Facilities management in Nigeria has been evolving over the years into what can now be called a profession, writes Tunde Obileye
18 August 2015
It used to be seen as an add-on service offered by real estate agents or property managers whose primary responsibility has always been to rent out clients' properties and ensure smooth handover of property to the tenant.
But a gradual transition from this traditional approach became necessary as people started to demand better service. This created a platform for those who genuinely understand the architecture of maintenance.
Nigeria, as a developing country, has experienced unprecedented growth, but struggles with defects in its infrastructure and laws that have made the environment challenging. Nigerians are used to grandiose projects that suffer from a maintenance culture of neglect due to the lack of skilled workers and corruption. The National Arts Theatre, Lagos, was built in 1977 as an architectural masterpiece. It had first-class facilities but today it is a shadow of itself - leaking rooms, dropping ceilings, malfunctioning air-conditioning systems, broken furniture and overgrown weeds.
But our exposure to international businesses has brought awareness of global standards and best practice.
FM professionals who are members of BIFM are helping to foster a healthy marketplace by forming BIFM Nigeria. There are opportunities in the market as firms begin to outsource non-core services and some state governments, notably Lagos, change the maintenance of public institutions. This group of FM professionals intends to promote the need for training using the wide range of resources available through BIFM and partner with educational institutions to provide courses to get more people into FM.
The recent UK Facilities Show gave me an insight into the future of FM and the great opportunity to diversify outside of the real estate and construction sectors.
Tunde Obileye is MD/CEO at Great Heights Property & Facilities Management, Nigeria