•Property Player, OLADIPO EMMANUEL (ARC)
He is one of the best brains in the construction sector. He has carved a niche for himself as one of the young but outstanding builders. He is one of the most sought-after builders in the country. His company, CALEBELLA-INTEGRITAS PROJECTS LTD, was incorporated in Abeokuta, Nigeria, a few years ago. It was registered on 31 Jan 2014.
A few days ago, he spoke with City People’s ISAAC ABIMBADE, about his experience in the built sector.
For the benefit of our readers reading your story for the first time, can you please tell us more about yourself?
First, my name is Oladipo Emmanuel Odunola. I’m an architect. I can also say that I am a businessman in the sense that on this field of construction, there’s a need for more knowledge of business that is required for you to succeed.
Why didn’t you go fully into architecture?
In history, an architect is a master builder. It was later the job description were divided. An architect designs buildings and will also see to the construction because the design of the building is a dream in the mind of the client that has been shared with you as a brief and you now have to interpret that dream into a drawing, that people in the field can read.
The architect is a person I will call the head of the construction team. For you to head the team, you have to know all that should be done. An architect has a broader knowledge of designing a house, so for you to function well, you must know everything that has to do with the building.
Coming back to your question; I’m not far away from my main profession. How we operate is that, we do design and build and sometimes we build what other people design. We have people who are also specialists in other aspects of construction.
Can you tell us how it all started for you, sir?
Let me start with my secondary school days. I finished secondary school 1997/1998, AFROGRAMS, Abeokuta. I never thought of studying architecture. I wanted to study electrical engineering because the richest person in my family then was an engineer… So, I had this thought that for you to be successful, you need to be an engineer. I kept writing JAMB but JAMB kept denying me. So, I went to Lagos to work, but I have a brother, who was an electrical engineer. He brought me to Lagos and he taught me auto card. That was when the professionals in the field didn’t even know about autocards. What I used to do for him then was to translate drawings from paper to the computer. As time went on, instead of me developing interests in electrical design I was doing for him, manually, I was developing an interest in architecture. I was fascinated by designs, how the lines come together and I said to myself that I want to be an architect too. I obtained a Polytechnic form and I was given an admission to Mapoly to study architecture. When I finished my HND in 2006 and around 2016, I put in for my BSc at Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State where I bagged a BSc in architecture and recently, I just finished my MSc and I will also be doing professional exams. I have spent a lot time on the field. I have had to work for many people before I could stand on my own.
In 2008, I started my first company, Integrity home consult. It was a construction company but it wasn’t a limited liability firm and in 2014 we became limited, as Calebella Integritas Project Limited.
Tell us some of the projects you have carried out and the clients you have worked for?
Currently, we are working with Landwey. We are doing 20 units in one of their estates on Ogombo road. We have worked with Richfield in Ogun State. We are also working on a popular hotel in VGC. It’s about 8 floors. We have built for some individuals, hospitals, schools such as Babcock University, Peace Hospital etc.
What do you think is the cause of building collapse?
You can’t attribute one factor to building collapse. There are two major things that can cause building collapse. We have human errors and acts of God, like natural disasters. If you have a faulty design, you will have a faulty building or structure, as the case may be.
What we do as a company is that, when we are done with our design, we call for a design review where we bring in people who are more experienced on the field. We ask certain questions. We subject ourselves to review. Just like the project in VGC, we are doing the same thing. Once you can get a good design, the next thing to be considered is the materials to be used. The quantity and quality of what you are going to use will be determined by the contractor.
Corruption is one of the things that causes building collapse. Trying to cut corners. Not using the right materials and poor workmanship.
Why are some developers importing artisans from Cotonou and Togo?
That’s one thing the government should look into. You will always go for those who could give you the best. We have challenges with some of our people here in Nigeria. I think I have discussed this matter with some of my friends at The Nigeria Society of Engineers. Now, architects design buildings. Engineers design for the strength of the building, but we need artisans to carry out their works. I will not go to the site to be laying blocks or laying tiles or plastering. But it seems we have run out of good artisans. It’s either they are now old and the ones who are good among them, once they have some money, the next thing for them is to buy motorbike. They believe that, that will give them instant revenue and they begin to lose touch with the work when they are called to work.
Many people you find on the road today riding motor bike or motorcycle, many of them are brick layers, tilers, painters etc.
These guys from Cotonuo or Togo, when they lay tiles for you, you will realize they have always been in touch with their works. Prior before now, we used to have technical colleges where people are trained in all these. Now, if we have new products in the market, we will have challenges with installations. We need artisans who can help us perfect our work but Nigeria has lost quite a number of them to bike riding. We are pleading with the government to look into it and organize trainings for people and find a way to bring back technical colleges that will train people on how to do and fix some of these things.
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