Impact of COVID-19 on Architectural practice in Nigeria
Impact of COVID-19: A Survey Report
The Architects’ Resourcery conducted an online survey between April 6 and 20, 2020 determine the impact of COVID-19 on architectural practice in Nigeria. As a result of COVID-19, many states were under total or partial lock down during this period, with physical movement difficult. Findings revealed a large disparity between those who viewed the survey and those that actually filled valid responses. Challenges notwithstanding, the researcher duly analysed 176 actual valid responses over the two week period.
Impact of COVID-19: Key Results
The survey revealed the adverse effects of novel corona virus on architecture, the entire construction industry and indeed the nation. About 90% of respondents said corona virus interrupted the internal running of their organisations. Over 70% said that COVID-19 led to a complete shutdown of their practices. Architects in academia were also greatly affected. Public universities did not pay lecturers salaries from January 2020 to June 1, 2020 due to the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU strike.
The economy is reeling from the global effects of COVID-19. Therefore the forecast does not forebode well for the profession which is experiencing identity challenges. The average Nigerian cannot differentiate between an architect and an engineer. This non recognition of the profession has far reaching implications. As a result our professional bodies are increasingly losing their relevance. The Nigerian Institute Architects, NIA is not an exception to this. After 60 years of existence, the Institute has been relegated to a mere club. This is because it now requires legal backing through registration from the Corporate Affairs Commission. Even worse it expects no financial support from the Federal Government.
Unfortunately, most architecture firms have experience a decline in productivity. This is as a result of restrictions in movement resulting in closed sites and offices. Even more distressing is that almost 100% said they are anticipating revenue downturn. The decline in income is due to wary clients not honouring certificates. Furthermore, this uncertainty has led to a decline in new projects. In addition, there is an adverse effect from delays in procurement of construction materials. Non-availability of construction materials and subsequent increased cost in materials has caused a decline in profitability margin.
That COVID-19 is having a severe impact globally is evident. That is why Architecture as a profession is no exception. Recent studies reveal a shift from the physical spaces with the world on lock down to the world of virtual spaces. This spatial paradigm shift is adjusting wealth from traditional big earners to new areas. The world is moving from construction, transportation and energy to telecommunications and biotechnological ventures. Consequently, architects are reeling from these immediate effects of corona virus. The pandemic effects therefore, if not mitigated may threaten the future of architecture practice.
Architects, through their professional bodies will need to retrain to gain new skills. They must continually think out of the box; even get rid of the box to remain relevant in the new post COVID-19 world order…
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