April 18, 2024

Economic Challenges Drive Surge in Container Houses Amid Skyrocketing Cement Prices

 

Nigeria is witnessing a significant shift in construction trends as the economic downturn, coupled with soaring cement prices, compels individuals to explore alternative building methods.

Traditionally reliant on cement for construction, many Nigerians are now turning to container houses as a cost-effective and pragmatic solution.

The escalating cost of cement has rippled through various facets of life, particularly impacting housing and rental markets. Previously, even individuals with modest monthly incomes could undertake small construction projects. However, the current economic climate has necessitated a reevaluation of building methods.

Container houses, a concept that has been present but not widely adopted due to the nation’s cement-centric construction practices, are gaining popularity. The high cost of cement has prompted a surge in container-based construction, offering a more affordable alternative.

Folawe Adeniran, an auto dealer in Benin, shared his experience of opting for container construction due to the exorbitant costs associated with traditional building materials. He highlighted that the expenses involved in using bricks, cement, and sand had doubled, leading him to choose container construction at a significantly lower cost.

Mr. Adeniran’s decision reflects a broader trend among business owners who, facing rising costs, are turning to container-based structures for both leased and personal lands. Despite initial concerns about heat accumulation in container houses, technological advancements have addressed these issues, making them a viable and cost-efficient option.

Friday Badmus, a trader, recounted his decision to build a container apartment on his quarter plot of land as an alternative to dealing with an impending rent increase. Faced with the prospect of a significant hike in rental fees, Badmus and his wife pooled their resources and, with support from family and friends, successfully built a container apartment, offering a seamless and aesthetically pleasing housing solution.

Container houses are becoming increasingly prevalent in Nigeria, thanks to advancements in technology and production processes. According to Blessing George, a construction engineer, the construction costs for container houses range from N100,000 to N150,000 per square meter, depending on specifications and finishing details. Containers, originally designed for transportation, are now being repurposed into comfortable living spaces with standard interior finishes and designs.

George emphasized that the primary area where cement is still required is in the construction of the concrete foundation to support the containers. Container houses are versatile and find applications in both commercial and residential settings. The soaring cost of cement, which has driven people to seek alternative construction methods, has led to a growing preference for container houses.

A market survey revealed that the price of a bag of cement currently ranges between N8,000 and N11,300, varying by state. The recent spike in prices, with cement selling as high as N5,500 in January 2024, has accelerated the adoption of container houses as a practical response to economic challenges and exorbitant construction costs.

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