Innovate UK identifies trends, gaps and opportunities in sustainable construction within Nigeria

Innovate UK Global Alliance Africa, a pioneer in fostering innovation and growth, convened the Sustainable Construction Global Innovation Network in Lagos, Nigeria, on February 1, 2024. This event marked a significant milestone in strengthening the construction industry in Nigeria, bringing together key stakeholders, and comprising industry leaders for insightful discussions.

Posted on: 06/03/2024
Delegates discussion at the Nigeria Sustainable Construction event, February 2024.

Bridging the innovation gap

The workshop provided a platform for individuals from diverse fields, including the Global Alliance Africa network, urban designers, sustainability and climate change experts, and professionals from material testing, the green building council and the environmental protection agency, to engage in meaningful discussions within the dynamic landscape of sustainability in the construction industry. Joshua Adedeji, Nigeria’s Country Lead for the Global Alliance Africa project, set the tone for the event by emphasising Innovate UK’s mission in bridging the innovation gap between the UK and Nigeria.

Unveiling the topic of the day, keynote speaker and construction professional, Dr Sanmi Olowosile, in defining sustainable construction expressed that:

The whole idea of secularity is the reusability of things, whether in whole or in bits.

He also identified the trends, gaps, and opportunities in construction, demolition, and waste integration, emphasising the need for increased awareness, education, and collaboration, aligning with the goals of Innovate UK’s Global Innovation Network. He continued by suggesting that:

While NGOs offer solutions already, everyone needs to be more intentional about sustainability, another gap is insufficient collaboration which is what the [Innovate UK] innovation network set out to solve.

When making further recommendations for the construction sector, he stated that:

It is important that we continue to renovate the existing rather than demolish. Building materials must be recycled as well, and Nigeria must be developed, such that other nations can come and learn what innovation looks like. We are hoping to form innovation labs, where ideologies can be developed in the space, and there is also a need for us to adopt a holistic evaluation approach such that secular building assessment is integrated into whatever it is we do in the construction space. It is a passport to certify the materials used in a building.

Setting the stage

The Sustainable Construction Global Innovation Network event amplified how Innovate UK remains resolutely committed to fostering enhanced UK-Nigeria collaborations. The organisation’s key objectives are increasing accessibility to more sustainable and affordable buildings, and advancing sustainable construction practices in Nigeria, setting the stage for collaborative efforts and innovation in the industry.

The event also captured insights from the experts during the knowledge exchange session moderated by Sharon Rehoboth (Knowledge Transfer Manager and Lead of the Innovation Network) as there were shared learnings on how factors such as mobilising financing to scale, data churning, extensive R&D, government regulations and policies, product endorsement as well as standardisation and local content development will play a huge role in driving the adoption of circularity in the construction sector.

A key take home from the session was the need for the incorporation of circularity from the concept/design stage to the end-of-life as taking a cradle to grave approach would foster the sustainability of the built environment.

About Innovate UK Global Alliance Africa

Global Alliance Africa is a six-year project funded by UK International Development through Innovate UK (GCRF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

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