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

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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.  Managing 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 prevented 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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