CHAPTER 1INTRODUCTION1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDYIn the traditional societies, man depended on natural sources of energy and available local materials for construction purposes according to his physiological needs. Thus, using the locally available materials, they built houses that were more or less satisfactory in providing them with the microclimate they needed. The Industrial Revolution ushered in innovations in structural building practices based primarily on the classical designs of earlier cultures. The new structural forms, the invention of Portland cement and the development of an efficient steel production process shifted the emphasis from stone and bricks to iron, steel and concrete construction. There are lots of building materials that can be sourced locally for construction purpose. Material is a major component of construction cost and a reduction in the cost of material can also result to reduction in over all construction cost. One major way to bring down the cost of materials for affordable housing is a shift toward the usage of local materials. Aribigbola (2011) asserted that affordable housing is that which cost the occupant not more than 30% of their annual income and less than 20% annual income in Nigeria based on the stipulation of the Nigerian housing policy. Inspite of several governmental efforts and policies, construction of affordable and functional buildings in Nigeria have gone beyond the reach of common man (Aribigbola, 2011). Gumel (2000) stated that materials accounts for between 55% to 65% of construction cost and most of the materials used in Nigeria are imported. However, Windapo and Iyagba (2007) postulated that materials are about 35% to 37% of construction cost component, which is far less than the finding (Gumel, 2000). Consequently, the general consensus is that one key reason for high cost of construction in Nigeria is high cost of building materials which are largely imported materials. This is so because several factors affect imported materials prices such as foreign exchange, freight, inflation, import duties and so on. Similarly, Oruwari, Jev and Owei (2002) stated that the rising cost of building due to materials has made it impossible for people to own affordable houses in Nigeria. It can therefore be inferred that local building materials are not well utilized in Nigeria. Ademiluyi (2010) suggests that a shift towards the usage of local building materials will ameliorate the scenario of high construction cost in Nigeria. In Nigeria, local building materials are found in large quantities and varieties, although these materials are dependent upon the geographical location of the area. The objectives of this study are to examine the usage of local building materials in Nigeria, find out the factors that enhance their usage, pin point their benefits and identify ways to improve their qualities.
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENTOlayiwola, Adeleye and Ogunshakin (2005) suggest the use of local building materials to reduce construction cost in Nigeria as it has been done profitably in Tanzania and Sweden. Similarly, Daramola (2006) emphasizes the need to embrace the usage of local building materials to achieve functional and affordable housing scheme in Nigeria. This research therefore, will examine the usage of local building materials in Nigeria and also find out the factors affecting the use of local building materials for building construction.