Sustainability Strategies In Engineering Infrastructure Maintenance In Developing conutries

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Background of Study

Sustainability issue in recent times has dominated the arena of discussion in built environment. Billions of dollars’ worth of building investment are being initiated world over while little emphasis is placed on the aspect of maintenance of such infrastructure, this however could result into building an unsustainable building. In the tropic, careful consideration is often given to planning while proactive thought is not often according the maintenance aspect, this however is common to the public utilities and infrastructure. Most sectors, unfortunately, are yet to give issue of sustainable design and building, an appropriate emphasis, buildings meant for human habitation are developed without much emphasis on design concept, space ergonomics, construction process, renewable material and post construction post occupancy requirement.

It is however pertinent at this juncture to appreciate the component of a sustainable building and infrastructure. Sustainable building are those that through their design, spatial orientation, choice of building components, construction and operational strategy, are highly efficient, also have low operating costs, environmentally friendly, and do not affect the health of their users and occupants negatively  Solomon (2005)

An infrastructure that contains structure and form that are not sustainable can be describe as high and this has become a phenomenon in the tropic, it is high time however that paradigm should shift from non-sustainable development to sustainable one, through proactive strategy which this study aimed to achieve.


The sustainability strategies chosen to provide an asset was used to effectively solve the erstwhile time, cost and quality paradigm (highest quality, at lowest price, in shortest time) which has now been overtaken by the value for money paradigm (Hackett, Robinson, Statham, & Langdon, 2007). The selection of the most suitable procurement method is critical for both the clients and the projects participants (Ibrahim, 2008).

Watermeyer (2011) emphasised that procurement strategies should be designed around a set of system objectives. The primary objectives require that the process be fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective while the secondary objectives include the engagement of stakeholders throughout the process. Ibrahim (2007) had also indicated that to ensure the success of any procurement strategy, the nature, type and environment of the proposed development must be taken into consideration and that tailored strategies should be designed for each infrastructure type against the use of generic and universal strategies. For example, specific strategies have been developed for procuring various infrastructure types such as Oil and Gas Facilities (Mohamed, 2007), Healthcare facilities (Ibrahim, 2010), Roads (Mudi, Lowe, and Manase, 2015).

There is greater recognition amongst development policy makers that access for the poor to a range of infrastructure services will be necessary to eradicate poverty (United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHSP), 2011; Richardson and Durose, 2013). The use of effective strategy for providing basic infrastructure will go a long way to improve the squalid conditions in low income urban areas (LIAUs). A significant population of the world’s poor live in these areas helping to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The provision of potable water to these areas are essential as it impacts survival. Consequently, a suitable procurement strategy that will ensure the provision of potable water infrastructure to low income urban areas in Nigeria will assist in ensuring the achievement of target 7C of the MDGs. The target aimed to reduce by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Although the target was not met, a positive significant impact was made. Consequently a SDG on the provision of potable water was included in the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda. The Sustainable goals built upon the framework of the MDGs but with an expanded scope and parameters in terms of funding, benchmarks and stakeholder involvement (United Nations (UN), 2015).

1.2 Statement of Problem

Existing literature on the procurement strategies of infrastructure in Nigeria include: for the provision of other infrastructure such as Health and Road (Ibrahim, 2008; Mudi, Lowe, and Manase, 2015); for the criteria for the selection of appropriate strategies for infrastructure (Ademola, Eyi-tope and Gbadebo, 2012); for specific strategies such as Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) (Akinsoye, 2010; Danraka, 2014; Amobi, 2013; Bamidele, Adenusi and Osunsami, 2014) and for the provision of infrastructure to rural areas (Ogungbemi, Bubou and Okorhi, 2014); but there is no existing literature for the provision of potable water infrastructure in Low Income Urban Areas in Nigeria. Water Infrastructure is one of the most important elements of infrastructure (Fitch, Odeh and Ibbs, 2005). Unfortunately, it is the least profitable and hence does not attract the private sector. As a result, there is limited applicability of the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) by government (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2003; Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF), 2009). Networked water systems have extremely high capital costs well in excess of other infrastructure services and are mostly financed with loans, for as long a term as is commercially available.

These high costs coupled with inadequate tariff structures has led to a shortfall in the provision of potable water infrastructure to the communities that can least afford it. The private companies’ motivation is profit and will only supply to the areas where profit can be made. The government on the other hand are incapable of providing it to the areas that are least able to pay for it (OECD, 2003).

Research carried out in Asia and South America, on the provision of infrastructure in low income urban areas have reported that strategies developed with some sort of partnership 4 with the communities in these areas tend to be more successful than those without. This has led to the strong thrust for procurement strategies that entrenched the principles of community partnership procurement (CPP) (Sohail and Baldwin, 2001; UNDP, 2003; Burra, 2005; Das and Takahashi, 2009; Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD), 2010). Studies on these strategies found that there were considerable gains in terms of cost and time but nothing significant in terms of the quality (Sohail, 2003; Cities Alliance (CA), 2005; Mankong, 2005). The main conditions that made CPP effective were identified to include: that the communities had to have some sort of organised structures; the projects were small in size, not complex, required only onsite training and capacity building and finally required long term relationships.

Unfortunately, in Africa in general and particularly in Nigeria none of the conditions have been met. Nigeria cannot achieve the SDGs without providing clean potable water to its populations that are dwelling in these areas. The Federal Ministry of Water Resources of Nigeria (2010) had estimated that it will need to spend over N900 billion (Nine Hundred Billion Naira) to provide water infrastructure, which government clearly cannot afford from its coffers. The alternative, therefore, is to adopt partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders to provide these services. Earlier researches (Sohail and Baldwin, 2001; UNDP, 2003; Burra, 2005; Das and Takahashi, 2009; APMCHUD, 2010; FGN, 2010; FMWR 2010) from other countries have shown that in order for projects of this nature to work the communities needs to play a role whether active or passive, in the procurement process.

Yet, the barriers and challenges hindering the attainment of the investment objectives under the subsisting arrangement have not well documented. Neither has the feasibility of involving communities in the procurement process explored. For efficiency, a strategy that integrates 5 the communities into the process of procuring potable water to the target segment of the society with clear delineation of roles and responsibilities whilst ensuring the attainment of value for money will also be critical.

1.3 Aim & Objectives

1.3.1 Aim

The aim of this research is to develop a public procurement strategy for the provision of water infrastructure in low income urban communities (LIUAs) with the view to ensuring effective delivery of potable water.

1.3.2 Objectives

The objectives of the study are to:

  1. articulates existing strategies for engineering infrastructure;
  2. identify sustainability strategies available for the provision of potable water infrastructure in low income urban areas;

iii. evaluate the effectiveness of current sustainability strategies as vehicles for the provision of potable water infrastructure to LIUAs;

  1. assess stakeholder involvement in the process and its relationship with the effectiveness of existing strategies; and v. develop an effective public procurement strategy for the provision of potable water infrastructure in LIUAs.

1.4 Scope

The scope of the research is the public procurement of water infrastructure to low income urban areas as defined by the United Nations Millennium Goals. The only water infrastructure type used by the government for Low Income Urban Areas (LIUAs) were boreholes. The projects under review were commissioned from 2006 and 2017. The mandate of the MDGs included the provision of water to both rural and urban areas. The water projects were not uniformly dispersed in terms of geographical spread. Therefore within the period of 2006-2017 which was under the purview of this research it was not possible to get a case study for each geopolitical zone. The research opted to select three cosmopolitan communities from the three main ethnic blocs; Kaduna (North West), Ozubulu (South East) and Oredegbe (South West) when they were assessing the communities for the research but the other two (2) stakeholders namely Contractors and the Client Organisation not so limited.


1.3 Ju for the study The role of water in the achievement of sustainable development has just been recently identified as essential in the sustainable development research (UNDESA, 2013). The earlier lack of reliable and credible data on water had impeded the planning and provision of sustainable water management. The novelty of this knowledge has been reflected in the relative invisibility of water linkages to the other SDGs until recently (UN, 2015). Subsequently, investments in water has been identified as an enabler and entry point for equitable and sustainable socio-economic development (UN, 2016). The Water Crisis was rated the number one (1) global risk based on its impact (as a measure of devastation) as announced by the World Economic Forum in January 2015. Without clean drinking water, the population would be susceptible to disease, stunt growth in children and also result in the attendant complications. Global trends predict that all population after 2050 would occur in urban areas (UN, 2015). The World Bank (2008) predicts that over 90 percent of population growth occurs in the developing world, with 70 million people joining the urban poor every year. The current population of the world’s urban poor is over 600 million people (Joint Monitoring Programme, 2015). With over 70 million people, Nigeria has the fourth largest population of low income urban communities after China, India and Brazil (UN, 2011). The outcomes of the huge investments incurred in the provision of potable water infrastructure to this segment of the 6 society has remained abysmal. The identification of the barriers and challenges hindering the attainment of the investment objectives from the subsisting arrangements for procuring potable water infrastructure to the target segment of the society will facilitate the development of an effective strategy for reversing the poor delivery performance. The mechanisms for involving communities, whole life costing considerations and appropriate allocation of risks should also facilitate the attachment of value for money form the investments. All these conditions ultimately yield themselves to become an immediate significant problem to the Country. How does the government use its limited resources to provide an essential service which is directly tied to the country’s ability to provide sustainable development to its citizens? This research provided a framework of a strategy that answers the question above. The strategy provided will seek to achieve all the identified stakeholders’ goals. Clearly providing the roles and responsibilities of each identified stakeholder


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