Five stages of building a house in Nigeria?

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Five stages of building a house in Nigeria

Building a house in Nigeria can be one hell of a job; it involves a lot of rigorous processes that are both times- and money-consuming. Most people who want to build a house in Nigeria will want to know the stages involved.

While researching this article, I talked to some site engineers, who told me about some of the steps. I also went through various construction blogs and forums to ensure we had enough information for you.

In this post, we will talk about the five stages of building in Nigeria: planning, building budget, purchase of land, architectural design, excavation, foundation, and building processes. Pay close attention because we’ll be talking a lot about this.

1. Planning

Planning and design are the first steps in building in Nigeria; this is typically where you start thinking about what type of house you need, the location, the potential cost, etc. There are several steps to take about planning and design; we’ll discuss them one after the other.

House Type

Before you start building, you must have planned the structure you want to erect. Planning is the most critical aspect of the building; as they say, if you fail to plan, you have planned to fail. So you must ask yourself, 

  1. “What type of building do I want to erect?” 
  1. Do you have the financial capacity to build that property? 

You wouldn’t want to suspend your project halfway because of failed planning and calculation. Some of the questions related to your building you should ask yourself include the following:

  1. Are you going for a bungalow or a duplex?
  2. What will be the source of water when the building process eventually kicks off?
  3. How many bedrooms will the building contain?
  4. What’s the proximity of your building site to a good road? Will it affect the movement of building materials?
  5. How many toilets will be in the building? 
  6. Any boys’ quarters?
  7. Besides electricity, what other source of power should you depend on? Generator or solar?
  8. What kind of finishing do you go for—budget or luxury finishing?

All of these and other building-related questions can help you make informed decisions. Once you are sure of what you want in your building, you can communicate these ideas to your architect and builders so they know how to work together to make your vision a reality. 

2. Building Budget

By now, you already know the type of building or house you want for yourself; now you need to budget yourself because there are lots of things involved in building, from purchasing land to buying different building materials and the cost of transportation; the list is just endless. 

Your builder may give you an estimate, but be aware that things may quickly escalate. We’re all in Nigeria, and we know the high level of inflation; the prices of goods and services differ. 

Let’s say; for instance, you want to buy a piece of land if you don’t already have one; the prices of land in Abuja are different from those in Owerri; you see, different factors can affect your budget.

 The truth is, no matter the estimate given to you, there are certain things you may likely overlook. You may overlook things like water tanks, wiring, tiling, etc., but you’ll discover a sudden hike from your initial budget when you start adding these things during the building process. 

To get a more accurate estimate of your building expenses, try to obtain the costs of the following:

  1. The cost of land, if you don’t already have any
  2. The cost of excavation in your chosen area
  3. The cost of hiring an architect
  4. The cost of every government and community tax to be paid
  5. Cost of various building materials
  6. Cost of transportation
  7. If you hire a contractor, the total cost of their services is Hiring a contractor means the contractor will likely see through all building processes; it is more expensive than hiring a builder.

 This is because the contractor will source most materials, including masons; on the other hand, if you hire builders, you’ll have to walk through every process with them.

It would be best if you considered these things when budgeting; the list is endless. If you delay after budgeting, keep in the back of your mind that these prices can change due to inflation or deflation. In Nigeria, inflation is always a problem.

3. Purchase land and architectural design

This is the first step you will take that you can see and touch before you start building. If you don’t already have land, you need to purchase one suitable for your project (you can sell the one you already have if it’s not suitable).

 By now, you already know your plans and budget, so you have to look for land that fits these plans and budgets. You can use land or professional estate agents; you have to tell them the type of land you want, the price, location, etc. 

Before buying land, you should consider the different amenities that could help or hurt you. Some of the things I advise you to consider include

  1. The security situation of the location where you’re buying the land
  2. How good of a location is the land you’re buying?
  3. What’s the electricity situation in the area?
  4. How accessible is the location to malls, markets, schools, places of worship, etc.?

After considering the above, you can now think about purchasing. But before you complete the purchase, you must verify you aren’t getting scammed. I would advise you to

  1. Make sure the land you are buying is legitimate and not in dispute.
  2. Ensure the land has every necessary document.
  3. Hire a lawyer to help check all the documents of the land so you will avoid buying from the wrong person.
  4. Make sure you talk to the local authority in charge of capital development to ensure the land fits in with town planning. This step is essential, as most people sell land under government acquisitions. Going through your local capital development authority will help you find such land.

Now that you have bought the land, employ an architect who’ll help design your dream house.

Make sure you’re working with a competent architect; he is the architect of a successful or failed building project. Communicate to him Step Number One (planning), that is, what type of house you want and its features. For the desired result, 

  1. Write down all your ideas on paper so that all information will be included.
  2. Communicate your ideas in a language they’ll understand.
  3. Make sure your ideas are ideal and balanced.
  4. Ensure your ideas follow the laid-down building norms and standards.

After effectively communicating with the architect, he’ll draw the building plans, and if they’re up to standard, you have to get all the required building permits from the government.

Relevant authorities give these plans; in Imo State, for example, you have the Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) and Abuja’s Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA). You’ll be required to pay some application fees, after which you present the following documents:

  1. Environmental impact report
  2. Your survey plans
  3. Floor Plans
  4. Structural drawings
  5. Right of Occupancy/Certificate of Occupancy
  6. Mechanical drawings
  7. Design plans
  8. Electrical drawings 
  9. Site Analysis Report

Once you complete the above steps, the building process starts with excavation and the foundation.

4. Excavation, foundation, and building processes

At this juncture, you’ve completed the first three steps: planning, budgeting, purchasing land, and hiring an architect. 

Excavation is the process of preparing your plot for construction. Depending on the level of the bush on your plot, you can take the following steps to clear it:

  1. The hiring of laborers if there are no big trees to dig
  2. Renting tractors for plots that have deep roots

If you finalize excavation, you may have to put the following in place to increase productivity:

  1. A storage room built with zinc or wood. These storage rooms will help store some of the building materials.
  2. Water is a necessity. You can dig a borehole and buy a water tank; this will help speed up the building process.
  3. If you need to figure out the security situation of your building site, fencing your plot may be the best way to keep your building materials safe.

After getting most of those in place, your contractor or engineer can start the building process by digging the foundation. 

You must hire a quality contractor with a track record of service excellence. Standard foundations and building processes can lead to collapse. I’m sure you want your building to stand the test of time.

5. Framing, rough-ins, and finishing

By this stage, the skeleton of the house is constructed, which includes

  1. the flooring of the house
  2. Roofing of the building

Immediately after framing your house is completed, it’s time to rough it in. Here you’ll require the services of

  1. A plumber is needed for all plumbing activities.
  2. An electrician. An electrician should be hired immediately after the framing stage for all electrical wiring.
  3. Install the HVAC system. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The systems in a building control temperature, humidity, and air quality.
  4. After the HVAC, you can install doors, windows, and a skylight.

 In Nigeria, the finishing stage is the last step in building a house. This is where you put in things like flooring, cabinets, drywall, painting, etc. After all of this, you can request an inspection and move in.


We’ve largely discussed the five stages of building a house in Nigeria. We discussed planning, where you decide the type of house you want. We also discussed budgeting, where you calculate and estimate the cost of building a house in Nigeria. 

We encourage you to hire an architect for design and a contractor for construction. We concluded by discussing framing, rough-ins, and finishing. You should now know the five stages of building a house in Nigeria.

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