RE-INNOVATING FOR SUSTAINABILITY

RE-INNOVATING FOR SUSTAINABILITY

In today’s fast-evolving and hyper-competitive world, innovators must keep innovating or re-innovating. This is also true for players in real estate development, who must keep anticipating and creating future demands. Countries, states, and urban districts worldwide will continue to undergo major structural changes (pun intended) as the economy, for instance, shifts from old-fashioned manufacturing towards the provision of precision products and services.

 

To remain relevant in this fast-changing milieu, all the stakeholders – from policymakers, market operators to consumers – must innovate or adapt to new innovations. Sustainable innovations deliver long-term economic and financial returns, social progress, and environmental protection. This requires new ideas and knowledge. But it also entails adapting existing ideas, concepts, practices, and products to positively contribute to the ecological environment, social cohesion, and economic viability.

 

Without a doubt, sustainability imposes constraints, on the use of resources, how we produce, what we consume, and how we manage waste. In many cases, sustainability can be avant-garde. It entails new ways of doing things and new solutions. It also prescribes how key resources like energy, water and materials are to be produced, consumed, and recycled. While it prescribes a new way of making money, it does not negate profit. Instead, sustainability highlights how innovations can deliver comprehensive benefits in terms of well-being, systems, and inclusion.

ALIYU ALIYU

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY

EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE

Innovations of the past have delivered mass production of goods, leading to stupendous, gross economic output growth. While they have also delivered financial value to shareholders, they have often ignored the broader stakeholders and harmed the environment. But sustainable innovations take the well-being of the entire ecosystem of people and planet into account. Thus, they emphasize inclusive and long-term benefits and environmental preservation. The environmental hazard from carbon emissions from productive activities and wasteful consumption in the advanced and major emerging markets, has put the entire world at risk. Its harshest impacts are felt more in the developing world, where far less environmentally damaging activities occur. This is why sustainable innovation has to contribute to global environmental solutions. But where such contributions are local, they are nevertheless important in fostering environmental sustainability worldwide.

Innovating for Well-being

Sustainable innovations are validated by their positive impacts on individual, organisational, social, and environmental well-being. Such impacts should not be fleeting; they necessarily must be long-term. For organisations, innovations that accentuate the cycle of boom and bust do not qualify as sustainability compliant. For individuals and societies, innovation should also provide a sense of lasting benefits – either in terms of job creation or livable wages. Furthermore, for an innovation to be sustainable, it must not pose a threat to the environment. Countries, regions and cities that promote sustainable innovations have therefore become more competitive for investment and tourism.

The three inseparable elements of sustainable well-being are quality of life (including happiness), sustainable economy, and a balanced and protective relationship with nature. In practice, particularly in real estate, sustainable well-being can be actualized in varying degrees and different spheres. The design of physical living environments can encourage sociability, harness natural energy for lighting, use renewable energy as power source, and conservation of natural resources including water. For a wider impact, such design concepts can be integrated, in planning an estate, a city, or region to provide green and well-connected transportation system that eases commute and promotes net-zero carbon emissions. Many cities are transitioning to this, by re-innovating on sustainable socio-economic models, including green housing and transportation solutions.

Systemic Change

Many of the sustainability challenges are global, whether they relate to the environment or inequitable access to opportunities and wealth. Many of the challenges are systemic, within and across countries. This, therefore, makes it important that solutions must be structural and systemic. The sustainable innovations that can deliver systemic impact require collaboration between and among public and private sector leaders. The areas where sustainable innovations with systemic impacts are needed include energy, logistics, healthcare, housing, finance, agriculture, retailing and waste management. Indeed, housing is at the centre of these needs. Systemic innovations are related to changes in socio-technical systems. They entail not only technological change but also societal and cultural changes and are also driven by changes in user contexts and symbolic meanings. Systemic innovations now form the core of national and supra-national innovation strategies, like the European Green Deal. To be successful, the drive for systemic change should integrate changing societal values. For instance, environmental sustainability derives influence from the desire of people to live in an ecologically cleaner and safer environment.

Inclusion

In the first decade of the 21st century, innovation researchers emphasized networked, open, and diverse forms of innovation. Since the past few years, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and many other development agencies and national governments have been promoting inclusive innovation approaches and actions. Some of the initiatives include skill development, inclusive financial access, and social safety nets. Inclusivity in the innovation process requires individuals to have the opportunity and the support they need to innovate and benefit from innovation. Inclusive innovation is summed up by the principle “innovation for all”, which advocates that not only should all people have some opportunities to innovate, but also that innovation must serve the society at large. The need for innovation cannot be overemphasized. People need to be intuitive, creative, and skilled, both for performance in the workplace and in the larger society. Inclusive innovation supports collective wisdom and the crowdsourcing of solutions. In a deeper sense, sustainable and inclusive innovations promote a new form of ‘democracy’, whereby citizens have the right and the opportunity to be creative and to contribute to improvements in services, products, and the structure of public organizations such as municipalities, schools, and hospitals.

Bilaad Realty and Sustainability

Sustainable real estate development offers an organizing framework based on opportunity and respect for human values. To have healthy communities, a nontoxic physical and social environment is a prerequisite. As society is evolving, awareness of the importance of healthy living has been growing. At Bilaad Realty, our strategy is aligned with achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a comprehensive framework for targeting sustainable development by 2030. This is helping us to grow our impact as a socially- and environmentally responsible business. We are deeply invested in creating solutions that will benefit our organization, serve the ever-evolving society, and foster a better world today and for tomorrow.

EFFICIENT LIVING

EFFICIENT LIVING

An indicator for societal advancement has for long been the planning and engineering of cities. A bird’s-eye view of well-planned cities, even by strangers, would tell of the level of social wellbeing of the dwellers. In the modern time, advances in science and technology have brought greater comfort and convenience to homes. And more recently, living spaces have become cinemas of a sort, thanks to satellite television, broadband internet, direct streaming services and other value-added telecommunication services.

 

While we recognize these achievements and others, we must also acknowledge the fact that our modern living can contribute to lifestyle and health challenges. Sedentary lifestyles, lack of physical activity, poor diet, stress, and social isolation – to name a few – are part of the down sides to 21st century living.

 

When the topic of living efficiently is raised, attention is typically directed to energy efficiency and cost savings. Health issues are often taken as secondary or disregarded. But whereas saving costs may be beneficial, more so by reducing the use of finite natural resources, our health deserves better attention.

ALIYU ALIYU

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY

Emphasis

Housing is integral to healthy living. Although cost should not be the determinant, the poor housing conditions in low-income communities have been known to cause physical and mental ill-health among residents. As such, improvements in their housing conditions can have multiple benefits for poor and vulnerable groups. Also, changing to a sustainable built environments by the middle class and the affluent can improve their quality of life.

 

The elements of our lifestyles influence how we feel and our overall wellbeing. Unhealthy living environments can cause a myriad of issues for residents including respiratory illnesses due to poor ventilation and dramatic swings in indoor temperatures. Children are more at risk in such environments, and growing up in an unhealthy home can cause a lifetime of medical struggles.

 

Ideal Lifestyle

 

The “ideal lifestyle” is personal and specific to everyone. It even varies for each member of a household. Determining the ideal lifestyle may be quick for some, and a little longer for others. For some it may mean living in an energy efficient home or waking up to perfectly manicured greens; for others it may be the convenience of having a grocery store, school, and recreational facilities nearby.

 

An efficient lifestyle, however, is one that caters to the body, mind, and soul of the individual. While the concept transcends the physical, it is nonetheless significantly impacted by it. None of the three elements is more important to exclude the need for the others; they all must harmonise.

 

 

 

 

 

Live Work Play

 

The ideal lifestyle must incorporate the concept of Live Work Play (LWP). Although the practical reality of LWP is since the ancient time, its importance to efficient living in our modern world is quite real, but fraught with challenges. Tighter schedules, increased work commitments, and oft unavoidable traffic gridlocks lead to an unhealthy work-life balance. Whilst we may even relish the challenges of ever-increasing responsibilities, and it is for the metropolitan authorities to improve commuters’ experience, people need an escape to a place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the beauty of nature when not working or commuting to and from work.

 

Master-planned Communities

 

To enable workers and busy executives to achieve work-life balance, we need more properties to be developed in master-planned communities. And homebuyers need to become more accustomed to considering community amenities as part of their residential package. In lieu of traditional yard requirements, buyers should require and insist on extra space or spaces within their communities to make life easier and more pleasant.

 

Many Nigerian residential estates in the cities were not master planned. Till date, individuals are responsible for building their homes in locations where common spaces are not provided for and where basic public infrastructures are absent. This needs to change. The good news is that new developments today are more in planned estates than in the past.

 

Some important community amenities in an estate are parks and green spaces, trail systems for walking and biking, resort-style pools and clubs, first class gyms and courts, and commercial centres.

 

Bilaad’s Guiding Principles

 

The built environment favours fewer physical activities, such as texting over face-to-face conversations and screen time over outdoor recreation. These preferences limit social interaction and invariably societal wellbeing. The community in which one’s home is located can be a contributing factor to one’s quality of life. Our residential complex should offer us numerous ways to stay healthy and maintain an efficient and productive daily routine. For instance, life in a tranquil and serene environment helps to lower stress and increase mindfulness.

 

At Bilaad Realty, we recognise today’s immense lifestyle challenges. As part of our guiding principles to be the leading customer-centric firm, Bilaad represents a shift that explicitly puts wellness at the centre of the conception, design, and creation of homes. As we continue in our efforts to actualize this goal, we understand that not all feet move at the same pace. Therefore, whether you prefer an active or laid-back lifestyle, we have designed our communities to respond to unique lifestyle preferences.

 

Whatever your pace, you will find your place with us. Make the smart move for efficient living.

Bilaad Realty Unveils: Investment Opportunity Goldmines

Bilaad Realty Unveils: Investment Opportunity Goldmines

Abraham Maslow included shelter in his famed hierarchy of the basic physiological needs of human beings. But homeownership transcends meeting the need for shelter. It is a gateway to other life achievements and provides the psychological boost sometimes needed to explore opportunities as well as security.

Nigeria is a country of over 200 million people. With housing both a necessity and a human right, investing in such a huge market with trusted developers can only yield great results. Although inflation in Nigeria has been above the benchmark of the single-digit set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for several years now, the pandemic affected global supply chains and drove up inflation globally.

 

We are beginning to see the war in Ukraine driving up the prices of crude oil in the international market and the landing cost of petrol in Nigeria, resulting in serious pressure on consumers and prospective home buyers and investors. It is important, therefore, for Nigeria to reverse the investment outflow, by improving the domestic investment climate, and addressing macro-economic challenges in Nigeria today, especially high inflation.

 

The investment landscape can be extremely dynamic and ever-evolving. But those who take the time to see the opportunities, and understand the basic principles and the different asset classes, stand to gain significantly over the long haul.

 

ABDULLAHI UMAR

CHIEF BUSINESS AND STRATEGY OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY

Emphasis from our perspective

In an interview conducted by Financial Nigeria, Africa’s Premier Development and Finance Journal, with our Chief Business and Strategy Officer, Abdullahi Umar, the opportunities and issues in Nigeria’s housing development sector, were discussed.

 

Financial Nigeria (FN): What are the opportunities in the Nigerian real estate market today?

 

Abdullahi Umar (AU): The Nigerian real estate market presents quite expansive opportunities across the value chain of the sector. From industrial and artisanal production of building materials to product distribution, development of homes, housing finance and revenue generation, opportunities abound for individual and institutional investors, government, and the regulators. A recent estimate is that there is a deficit of 20 million housing units in the country. This is an increase from the 17 million units of housing deficit that have been cited for years. Indeed, the provision of real estate market data is another area of investment opportunity.

 

FN: What is the vision that is driving Bilaad?

 

AU: Bilaad Realty has a vision to be a global market leader, engendering partnerships and standards in the provision of sustainable real estate solutions. This statement highlights the key components of our vision as a business entity. We are not just looking at Nigeria or the African region; we are looking at the global market. In our quest to be a global market leader in real estate development, we have set standards – promoting sustainable lifestyles – which constitute the foundation of everything we do and consider to be valuable.

 

FN: Bilaad has admirably driven the agenda for sustainability in the real estate sector for years now. Why is real estate a frontier for adopting sustainability principles?

 

AU: For us, housing is the bedrock of life activities. So, the first point I would like to make with regard to Bilaad and sustainability is that we are in the business of lifestyle. We want to positively influence how people live. Bilaad aims to help interpret the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into practical everyday living for our clients. We want to connect homes to clean water. We want to provide access to clean energy, leveraging solar and gas, while promoting efficient use of energy. From our analysis, a lot of the SDGs connect to real estate, from Ending Poverty (SDG 1) to Building Partnerships (SDG 17).

 

FN: What are the major sustainability features of Bilaad’s real estate developments?

 

AU: The main sustainability feature that Bilaad offers is value for money. We bring together such important features as internet connectivity (fibre-to-home), greenery, wellness facilities, sidewalks, jogging and cycling tracks, recreational parks for children to go and play, clean energy, etc. The shared facilities in our housing estates significantly reduce the cost of their acquisition by individual homeowners.

 

All the features we provide, taking cognizance of social and environmental responsibility, together deliver cost-efficiency to homebuyers. I would also like to add that all our sustainability features are major, because they are carefully selected solutions, and they together form our value offering.

 

FN: With regard to improving liquidity in the real estate market, what role do you see that Nigerians in diaspora can play?

 

AU: Nigerians at home have a role to play in fostering investment flows from the diaspora. The role is largely concerned with improving our business practices. The government and the regulators also need to foster an enabling environment for investments – local and foreign.

 

Nigerians in diaspora are missing out on investment opportunities in Nigeria. Part of the reason for this is because the risk of investing in the country is often over-magnified – or exaggerated – by those looking at Nigeria from outside. One of the ways to overcome the high-risk perception is for Nigerians abroad to partner with credible businesses at home to invest.

 

FN: What is your outlook for Bilaad in the coming years?

 

Several factors will influence our outlook. The first is our commitment to health and wellness through the provision of sustainable housing. Second, we will be keenly observing the political landscape. Political risk is understandably on the radar as the country is entering the next electoral cycle. It is important that stakeholders should avoid escalation of the risk, so that it can very quickly dissipate after the general election which comes up early next year. Third is our active engagement with the opportunities.

 

Over the last four years, our project portfolio has grown substantially. This astonishing growth is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Nigerian market. Looking forward, we see that the efforts of the government to diversify its revenue from oil and gas can help unlock more opportunities within the real estate value chain

Explore Opportunities in Real Estate

AWAKEN YOUR PORTFOLIO

Africa’s future never looked brighter than it did from 2012 through 2018. The continent was home to the world’s fastest-growing economies—a growth fuelled by high commodity prices. Free trade was becoming a reality with the rapid approach and realization of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Political instability was largely under control, and even during an Ebola outbreak, the continent largely succeeded in containing the worst health and economic impacts of that virus.

 

Today, I still see Africa’s potential clearly—a global economic driver, digital innovation hub, and model for green, resilient infrastructure. But I am also concerned about the future; conflict is on the rise, and the number of countries falling into instability is constantly increasing. The impacts of climate change are worsening each year, and while COVID-19 has affected everyone, it has not affected everyone equally: This truth is especially salient for Nigeria, which saw decades worth of economic and social progress erased almost overnight.

 

While the pattern is familiar to a standard recession, the combination of these factors has many wondering where to place their capital and whether to focus primarily on growing their wealth or simply preserving it. We live in a once-in-a-generation moment of possibility, and whilst pausing to reflect on these issues is important, it is critical to remain forward-looking as there are opportunities even within tough economic times.

 

ALIYU ALIYU

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY

Emphasis from our perspective

The investment landscape can be extremely dynamic and ever-evolving. But those who take the time to see the opportunities, understand the basic principles and the different asset classes stand to gain significantly over the long haul.

 

The Real Estate Industry is a major catalyst for Economic growth and remains one of the safest and easiest forms of wealth generation. Other budding sectors like ICT, Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, etc. have provided a veritable platform for this viable industry to thrive as it provides homes and spaces for individuals and organizations, giving rise to various developments from both professionals and amateurs.

On one hand, investors could argue that the sector appears primed to benefit from market opportunities, however, the sector also faces several challenges; those caused by industry players and those faced by the industry in general. Some of these challenges include poor build quality, difficulty in accessing finance, volatility of the Naira value, inflation, high cost of building materials, amongst others.

 

One type of asset that has historically come in and out of favor, depending on the economic climate, is real estate. Whilst no formal education is required to leverage the opportunities in this industry, requisite knowledge is key.

 

 

 

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

REITs have consistently outperformed many more widely known investments. They are indirect real estate investments that allow both beginners and experienced traders to gain exposure to the market without having to buy their own property. Like ETFs and mutual funds, REITs contain a basket of different assets, are traded on the stock market, and pay regular dividends. They can be a good option if you don’t have a lot of money to invest and want to get started in real estate.

By purchasing shares of a REIT, you earn a proportionate share of the income they produce. Different types of REITs invest in different assets — for example, equity REITs own buildings, while mortgage REITs own mortgages and mortgage-backed securities (MBS).

 

Homeownership

One of the most significant benefits of home ownership is what it can mean for the future. Purchasing a property and leasing it, or a portion of it, is a traditional approach to investing in real estate and is frequently considered as the first step before investing in other types of real estate, as it comes with the extra bonus of increasing your net worth because you now own a significant asset.

Buying a home can help you build wealth by:

  • Providing you with a stable investment that also doubles as a place to live
  • Creating an automatic savings account as your home appreciates in value
  • Giving you a stable housing payment so you never have to worry about rising rent costs again
  • Providing you with an asset that you can pass down for generations

Industrial Real estate

Industrial real estate has been one of the top-performing sectors of commercial real estate for the past several years based on returns and demand. In many ways, the global pandemic accelerated the demand for industrial space, putting pressure on cold storage, warehouses and distribution centers, and data centers in particular. While this recent demand is likely just a temporary surge, it's very likely this sector will continue to have a strong year and opportunity for continued growth in 2022.

In addition to giving you ownership of a tangible asset (whose value almost always appreciates), real estate can effectively hedge against inflation and other market sectors. Overall, investing in real estate is one of the best ways to generate cash flow, build wealth, and increase your net worth.

 

At Bilaad Realty, we are invested in effecting a revolutionary change to ensure access to several untapped opportunities in the sector. The benefits of investing in real estate outweigh the cost, and buyers could be earning a steady flow of income to secure financial freedom in the long haul.

AWAKEN YOUR PORTFOLIO

AWAKEN YOUR PORTFOLIO

Most people have a general idea how they want to spend their later years, but not many ever stop and figure out how they will financially achieve their desired lifestyle. Setting yourself up for investment success involves developing a realistic and informed perspective on how to put your financial resources to their best use.  

 

Famed investor Benjamin Graham once said, “Successful investing is about managing risk, not avoiding it.” Given that in the past 18 months the entire world has teetered on a knife edge of risk, it’s understandable that until now, many investors decided to sit tight and not look too far beyond their existing portfolios. 

 

With the global economy poised for a quick recovery, it is imperative for us as individuals and or organizations to build portfolios that are tailored to withstand future uncertainties and curve balls. Investors who hung on through spring downturns were rewarded for their patience while the rapid economic recovery has inspired many new investors to start buying equity shares for the first time. 

 

Whether you’re a long-time investor or just getting started, it is important now more than ever to prepare your investment portfolio for the new normal. 

ALIYU ALIYU

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY

Like many things in life, the idea of a perfect portfolio is personal. It depends on your goals, your personal and financial situation, and how much risk you can handle. This means that what works well for others may not be the right strategy for you. For example, some people may have made a fortune by buying older properties that they have renovated and flipped. Others may have made money by buying new houses and holding over the long term. 

There are dozens of ways to grow an investment portfolio, but there’s one strategy that trumps them all: balance. Regardless of your situation, age or experience, balance is the one thing that can help you maximise your profit and minimise your risk. It’s the one thing you need to factor into your portfolio if you want to succeed as an investor. 

Set a target 

As discussed in our January edition of our newsletter publications, target setting plays a vital role in all our endeavors. In building a successful portfolio, setting an end goal should be the first step. This will ensure that your investment strategy is focused and structured, and will give you something to refer back to when you need to make a difficult decision.  

Writing down your financial goals makes them realistic and concrete, rather than vague ideas that only exist in your mind. This target could be a passive income of $2,000 a week, or $100,000 a year, by the time you retire. Or something more directly related to your overall wealth. 

Diversify your portfolio 

Your next aim should be to build a diversified portfolio offering you optimal returns while also safeguarding corpus from undesirable eventualities.  

As the past year has shown us clearly, we can never be certain of what the future holds. Thus, it is imperative that your investment portfolio is tailored to withstand the uncertainties and curve balls thrown your way. In real estate, for example, you can achieve diversification by: 

 

  • Diversify your asset class: If your focus is on acquiring rental property, consider branching out into apartment buildings or commercial spaces. Meanwhile, if you want to stay within commercial real estate, consider buying and renting out a retail space.
 
  • Diversify your investment strategy: If you've been mainly buying investment properties, you could consider investing in a REIT, a real estate mutual fund, or a real estate exchange-traded fund (ETF).

 

Implementation 

Implementation is key to investment outcomes whether transitioning an existing portfolio from one strategy to another or investing fresh capital. Having decided on an amount to invest, the next tough decision is when and how to start investing. Your entry level will be directly impacted by the immediate direction from the day you invest. You could think the market is too high and wait but it could climb higher. Timing the markets is impossible, hence the best approach is to make a plan and stick to it. This enables better acceptance of the outcome. 

Rebalance Your Portfolio 

A periodic review also helps you assess whether you are being true to your asset allocation strategy. Without regular tune-ups, your portfolio might become too aggressive or conservative for your risk profile, which can decrease the likelihood of reaching your goals.  

When you’re set up for investment success — and know that your portfolio is built according to your objectives and investing style — you’re well-positioned to weather the ups and downs of the markets, avoid emotional decisions and make thoughtful, informed adjustments as needed. 

 

While there are diverse investment options to grow your portfolio, real estate investment remains one of the safest and most effective ways to build wealth. The real estate market may go up or down, but people will always need homes. Perhaps you’re just now getting your feet wet in real estate investment, or maybe you’ve already begun developing your portfolio. Either way, acquiring real estate is key to a successful financial future. 

THE TARGET: A BOLD AND RELENTLESS 2022

THE TARGET: A BOLD AND RELENTLESS 2022

We already have broad insights into the future of housing. That future, although already here and unnoticed by some, will become more apparent in the coming years and decades. New technologies, novel designs, innovative materials, and advanced tools are going to feature prominently in the housing of the future. But one word that will connect all these new attributes is “liveability.” It was presumed that homes were developed to be liveable, but contemporary events have shown that this is not always the case. Some of the challenges of the 21st century include rapid urbanization, over-crowded spaces, pollution, energy deficiency, and inadequate supply of liveable and affordable housing. While these are offshoots of the last century, new solutions are required to address them. The possibilities for this include new architectural designs and housing production processes that can significantly reduce overall financial cost, time and resource utilisation. The homes of the future would have to be resilient, capable of adapting to exigent natural and man-made events, such as climate, financial and public health crises, while also protecting the cultural identity of communities. Assets should be able to withstand a variety of unpredictable stress and be supple enough to adapt to the changing patterns of working and living throughout their full lifecycle. Our view of the housing of the future is not just about predicting trends, forecasting that architecture will become more flexible, integrate technology, and incorporate efficient and sustainable living into lifestyles. It is also an acknowledgment of the fact that these changes are inevitable, and so must be delivered.

ALIYU ALIYU

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY

EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted global consumption, forcing (and permitting) people to unlearn old habits and adopt new ones. A study on habit formation suggests that the average time for a new habit to form is 66 days, with a minimum of 21 days. As of writing this article, the COVID-19 preventive measures have begun a new way of life and have already lasted long enough in many countries to significantly change habits and goals that had been the foundation of individual lifestyles.

Organizations and individuals seeking to emerge from the crisis in a stronger position must develop a systematic understanding of changing habits. For many people, that will require a new process for detecting and assessing shifts. The first step is to map the potential ramifications of what a better normal might look like, and setting goals to achieving them.

Our recommendations for worthwhile goals are briefly discussed below.

AWAKEN PURPOSE

Business experts make the case that purpose is a key to exceptional performance. Some psychologists describe it as the pathway to greater well-being, while medical practitioners have even found that people with purpose in their lives are less prone to disease.

Purpose is increasingly being promoted as the route to navigating the complex, volatile, world we face today, where strategy is ever changing and certain decisions that were seen to be impeccable turning out bad results.

2021 carried an immense opportunity to delve within and align with what really matters – caring for both our personal wellbeing and the world around us, as this has become non-negotiable. 2022 is the year we embrace our ability to make the most noteworthy purpose for our lives, as individuals or corporate entities.

 

LIVE SIMPLER

In a world that continually suggests us to stay online, get wealthier, and faster in all our endeavors, we are unhappier than ever. Statistics show that the world is getting better in terms of poverty, literacy, safety, health, and freedom, and modern technology continues to provide us with an unparalleled standard of comfort.

However, the biggest issue lies in the effect of our growth-driven society on our psychology. Though life’s comfort has reached unparalleled heights, many feel empty and demotivated. The key lessons we most likely have learned over the past 24 months boils down to the basics: live healthy for yourself and your loved ones.

The power of simplicity comes with tremendous benefits that can no longer be overlooked. It is inspiring new mindsets, habits, and lifestyles that are gaining ground and respect even in today’s modern world. Living simple teaches us to be resourceful, live greener, make thoughtful decisions, contribute to our community, and take care of our planet because our collective future depends on it.

 

DEVELOP PARTNERSHIPS

It is a clinical and logical truth that life without key relationships is not only unhealthy but also potentially dangerous. Strong relationships are the backbone of a good life and business. Although the future is unpredictable, one thing is certain: The future of businesses will be defined by collaborations and partnerships.

We must stay laser-focused on building concrete partnerships in a time when having solidarity and support have become something of existential importance for community and for sustainable economic progress. Progress and breakthroughs cannot be achieved in isolation, as such, working collaboratively to create opportunities will serve as the needed energy to fuel creativity, growth and innovation in the new year.

PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT

In 2021, the word ‘sustainability’ was searched at record highs on popular search engines.

Sustainability is undoubtedly influencing the progression of our civilisation. It is the next frontier for brands as it now serves as a vital component of clients’ motivation on what to invest in, where to invest, what is consumed and how we use products. No brand that wishes to remain in business can ignore this new paradigm.

 

All brands have an urgent mission to propose, introduce and deepen approaches that  deliver a sustainable future. We must take bold initiatives and the next big steps in 2022 is to evolve towards a circular economy and make net-zero achievable as early as necessary.

 

HOUSING THE FUTURE

HOUSING THE FUTURE

We already have broad insights into the future of housing. That future, although already here and unnoticed by some, will become more apparent in the coming years and decades. New technologies, novel designs, innovative materials, and advanced tools are going to feature prominently in the housing of the future. But one word that will connect all these new attributes is “liveability.” It was presumed that homes were developed to be liveable, but contemporary events have shown that this is not always the case. Some of the challenges of the 21st century include rapid urbanization, over-crowded spaces, pollution, energy deficiency, and inadequate supply of liveable and affordable housing. While these are offshoots of the last century, new solutions are required to address them. The possibilities for this include new architectural designs and housing production processes that can significantly reduce overall financial cost, time and resource utilisation. The homes of the future would have to be resilient, capable of adapting to exigent natural and man-made events, such as climate, financial and public health crises, while also protecting the cultural identity of communities. Assets should be able to withstand a variety of unpredictable stress and be supple enough to adapt to the changing patterns of working and living throughout their full lifecycle. Our view of the housing of the future is not just about predicting trends, forecasting that architecture will become more flexible, integrate technology, and incorporate efficient and sustainable living into lifestyles. It is also an acknowledgment of the fact that these changes are inevitable, and so must be delivered.

ALIYU ALIYU

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY

HOUSING THE FUTURE EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE

Around the world, we are seeing new real estate developments that are not only affordable, but are also shared, eco-friendly, flexible, stylish, and healthy. These sustainable alternatives to the traditional homes now make up 4 to 6 percent of all new residential units built per year, according to research from Boston Consulting Group.

 

A lifestyle of ease and comfort is one of the expectations of the future homeowner. For instance, the construction industry is expected to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into future homes in response to the new demand. Pop culture and movie industries have started to use AI as assistants to ease labour and drive efficiency in a consistent manner. Providers in the housing value-chain as developers, constructors, and manufacturers now need to accelerate on innovation and technology to modernise delivering of housing.

 

The changes in the demand for housing is spurred not only by desires for lifestyle improvement. The two existential threats the world currently faces – climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic – are reinforcing the need for adapting building conventions. The liveable future home is required to be resilient to extreme weather events, utilise natural light, support broader environmental sustainability, offer protection from the spread of infectious diseases and promote safe social interactions. Promoting wellness and community is also a core target of sustainability in real estate development.

 

The environmental impact of real estate assets is highlighted by the fact that buildings account for 40 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 50 percent of the world’s energy consumption, and 40 percent of raw material utilisation. To reach net zero carbon goal in real estate, we must take some crucial actions, including large-scale energy retrofit of older buildings and renovation or repurposing of buildings rather than demolishing them.

 

The scale of the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has fostered in the housing sector is yet to be fully absorbed, or understood, especially in terms of its durability. Since the advent of the lockdowns in the first quarter of 2020, major cities around the world have recorded about 90 percent of their population spending their days indoors. As it turns out, pre-existing homes were not built for people to stay indoors for such an amount of time per day. Tensions in homes escalated, leading to sharp increases in cases of domestic violence around the world. Yet, the legacy of COVID-19 appears to be anything but temporary as working from home and virtual conferences and other learning events that are attended from home may become permanent in the way we work.

 

Indeed, this calls for changes in design and provision of shared facilities. Creating suitable habitats for a rich, culturally vibrant existence, the homes of the future should be inclusive in designs. In lieu of traditional yard requirements, buyers will begin to choose extra space within their communities to make life easier and more pleasant. Some of the community amenities being sought after now include parks and green space, trail systems for walking and biking, resort style pools and clubs, first class gyms and courts, and commercial Centres.

 

In 2021, we extensively engaged the future at Bilaad. Throughout the year, we also substantially engaged our internal and external stakeholders, including through this forum. As the year winds up, we are grateful for the vision we shared for a sustainable housing sector and the opportunities we both point to and harnessed.

 

We remain committed to our stakeholders, not least our employees. Henry Ford once said, “The only thing worse than investing in your employees and having them leave is not investing in them and having them stay.” We are learning together to continue to deliver cutting-edge, sustainable housing solutions. We are building for the growing demand for future housing.

 

Happy Holidays

SUSTAINIBLE CONSTRUCTION III

SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION III

Construction has been held responsible for causing environmental problems ranging from excessive consumption of global resources both in terms of construction and building operation to the pollution of the surrounding environment. A quieter part of this theory, however, is the obliviousness of the evolution in construction techniques and materials acquisition that contributes to waste/energy reduction, and various inefficiencies at construction sites.

In Nigeria today, the real estate industry is based on a “build today, fix tomorrow” philosophy rather than on one that anticipates future trends and how they affect the performance of buildings. Several articles have been published on the “poor maintenance culture” as the bane of national development in our nation. However, by increasing attention to quality tools and techniques utilized in the construction and longevity of buildings, maintenance routines will become easier, less costly, and more manageable.

As developers, we must interpret sustainability as our value proposition to clients in respect to the products and services we offer. Our philosophy at Bilaad Realty aligns with a greater cause akin to the United Nations Assembly of “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” We have chosen to breakdown this concept from the real estate angle by understanding customer needs, potential technological integrations, and improvements in building practice, as they align with long term benefits for ourselves and clients in our drive toward lifestyle solutions.

ALIYU ALIYU

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY

EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE

Also known as green building, sustainable construction has been attracting a lot of attention around the world lately, but an understanding of its meaning is critical. The concept refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are resource-efficient throughout a building's life cycle. As such, from planning to design, the construction, operation, and maintenance of a building are effectively thought through and implemented appropriately.

Accordingly, sustainable construction allows us to incorporate elements of economic efficiency, environmental performance, social responsibility, technological innovation and design flexibility. More sustainable construction is the desire of every stakeholder, from the government to procurement bodies to the society at large. But how often is this an aspiration rather than reality? To be useful and manageable, surely sustainability improvements have to be measurable.

Material Selection

As buildings become greener, so do construction sites. Off-site fabrication, on-site maintenance, lean practices, and green materials acquisition have begun to fundamentally transform the way buildings are constructed today. According to the program of California Sustainable Design Program, there are numerous benefits to selecting sustainable materials/ products:

  • Reduced maintenance costs by specifying easy-to-maintain materials
  • Reduced operational costs by selecting products that result in energy savings
  • Reduced replacement of materials by selecting durable materials
  • Reduced environmental impact by reducing unnecessary resource extraction and by minimizing waste generation
  • Reduced impacts on air quality by selecting low-emitting materials

Workplace Safety

Another integral component to sustainable construction is workplace safety and health matters, as the protection of human resource must be factored into measurements of sustainable construction. In order to achieve this, we must adopt best practice approach in Prevention through Design (PtD), which influences the layout of project sites during construction and helps in overall personnel management. The aim of Prevention through Design is to avoid work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by eliminating hazards and minimizing risks to workers in the design and re-design of facilities, work methods, processes, tools, and products.

Sustainable Partnerships

Homebuyers are increasingly becoming aware of the cost associated with purchasing poorly built structures. Apart from the consequence of potential collapse, rework is always more expensive than implementing it the right way the first time. Therefore, through sustainable partnerships, we must hold ourselves accountable in providing optimum value across installations. This reduces the overall project costs and maintenance requirements in comparison to projects or buildings which are not accorded similar benchmarks.

Sustainability has been defined in the context of sustainable development as “meeting the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and aspirations” (WCED, 1987). At Bilaad Realty, we interpret sustainability as our value proposition to clients in respect to the products and services we offer in real estate.

Our adoption of sustainable construction methods is deliberate; we are conscious of advancements made in developed countries where alternative building materials are utilized in construction; however, we understand the current state of awareness and cultural acceptability of our market. The concept remains the same, but its integration across different locations will be specific to our needs in a progressive manner.

We are optimistic that an understanding of this fundamental question: “if every company or service provider offers the same surface level service, who then offers value, who offers quality?” will help guide our continuous improvement drive.

For us at Bilaad Realty, Sustainable Construction is here to stay.

NIGERIA AT 61: THE JOURNEY TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY

NIGERIA AT 61: THE JOURNEY TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY

Although, Nigeria moved up 15 spots on the Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index from position 83, the challenges in housing and sustainable development in Nigeria are enormous. The extremely limited access to mortgage continues to prey on Nigerian lives, while housing struggles to match up with population growth. The limited quantity of long-term housing development loans has impeded on the nation realising the full materialisation of the real estate sector.

 

This has yet to break the spirit of a people who have endured more than just limited sustainable housing. Nigerians are as sustainable as they are resilient. Just as sustainable development has been defined in the Brundtland report as development which meets our current needs without hindering the ability of future generations to meet theirs, resilience is basically all decisions made to tackle the challenges that hinder such developments. However, it is no longer news that sustainable housing has been one of the crucial needs that Nigerians have found difficult to access.

 

It takes a peculiar kind of people to experience irregularities and still emerge optimistic and resourceful especially when these irregularities touch on one of their most basic needs. 

Although, our architecture today has aligned itself with global standards, it can only remain so unfortunately, as long as sustainable policies are formed. Therefore, celebrating 61 years of independence should not be draped in Nigerians weakly clawing for makeshift options of shelter but for the cream they deserve: sustainable housing –– which is still very within our reach and quite possible to realise.

 

Happy 61st Independence, Nigeria!

ALIYU ALIYU

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY LTD.

EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE

More than just 61 years but for hundreds of years, Nigerians have creatively made decisions in the most challenging of times to deal with the elusive essential of sustainable real estate. This was notably present in the Hausa Pre-Colonial architecture of mud, stones and grasses which helped shield the Northern people from the scorching winds from the Sahara. Also evident in Igbo architecture in the same period were cave-inspired tight encasements of pitched roofing with priority given to warmth and wind aversion. The Yorubas prioritized termite-resistance which they found in bamboo rafters in the same era.

 

Although the modern history of housing provisions in Nigeria has been a dramatic one, Nigerians endured the journey and are now presently looking forward to the possibilities of housing solutions with closer proximity to their need for sustainability.

 

Formulation of good policies and seeing to their implementation; development of new building materials as well as improvement in the efficiency of local building materials have been proposed by Obianyo et al. (2001), as solutions to actualizing mainstay sustainable housing. These could be the modern version of Nigerians yet again manifesting resilience or at least a variety of it in protecting sustainable living. The solutions prescribed are centered on the practice of research which is only necessary for viable outcomes.

Research and Housing Policies

Agbola and Alabi (2000) defined policy as a plan of action, a statement of aim and ideas. Housing policy is thus a guideline provided by government which is aimed at meeting the housing need and demand of the people through research and a set of appropriate strategies including fiscal, institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks (Agbola, 1998).

 

Therefore, results of research in the real estate sector can be used in policy making to aid the advancement of the Nigerian housing and urban development sector, and creating a repository for storing research findings will make it easy for policy makers to access information to be used for formulating well informed policies for sustainable housing and urban development.

 

Development of Functional Designs

 

The efforts of the government in its approach to achieving the goal of the National Housing Policy and its institutional framework has continuously proven futile. Therefore, it has become very necessary to carry out incisive research to develop new functional designs for housing and urban infrastructure for providing adequate housing and urban infrastructure in Nigeria.

 

Reinforcing the Efficiency of Local Materials

Research is also beneficial to optimizing already existing local materials. Applying research findings aimed at improving the strength, durability and efficiency of local materials will enable them to compete favorably with foreign ones.

 

Although these solutions are yet to be effective, the real estate sector in Nigeria is ever expanding as was evident in demand rising by double digit figures in 2019. According to Nigeria Property Centre, enquiries of listings increased by 72% that year.

 

Bilaad Realty, like the nation continue to brave the storm in the mission to building sustainable cities. 61 years, and more before then, have been ample time for all our memorable challenges to heat this land into solid rock and like in the words of Gordon Hinckley, “You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation”.

COLLABORATION: CHALLENGING THE NORM

COLLABORATION: CHALLENGING THE NORM

According to Richard Watkins in an article published by the HR magazine in 2017 “We are born into groups; we live in groups and everything of value is always in groups. No one has ever really achieved anything on their own.” (Richard Watkins, 2017). While collaboration might be as old as humanity itself, it has never been more important in the world of work. The power that is collaboration has with time, gained momentum and has been recognized as an effective tool towards a nation’s growth.

Across Nigeria and African real estate industries, associated sectors, and regulators, there is a crucial need to understand that cross sector collaboration is important to achieving large scale sustainable development as each sector has a vital role to play. As a means of coordinating different ideas to generate a wide variety of knowledge, collaboration has shown to positively impact performance and outcomes of innovation.

The concept of sustainability is focused on developing society to a state where it can exist in the long term. This means taking into account the partnerships between government, private sector and civil society. Over the years, countless efforts by the government and other stakeholders have been made to tackle several complex changes but many have failed because of competitive self-interest, conflicting priorities and a lack of a fully shared purpose.

Every sector faces the challenge of moving from an industrial past to a sustainable future, and the real estate industry is no exception. While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to respond to the changes the industry is experiencing, it is evident that individuals and organizations need to develop, implement and integrate a clear strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

ALIYU ALIYU

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

BILAAD REALTY LTD.

EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE

Because collaboration in business is generally intended to confer benefits to the parties involved as it revolves around the exchange of knowledge, monetary resources and other forms of value, such collaborations go through good and bad phases leaving both parties asking questions like: Who stands to profit the most in this sustainable collaboration development?

From Self Interest to Shared Interest

The automotive industry, for example, has shaped a sounding statement of success through collaborations and partnerships within its industry. Toyota is the largest car company according to the world atlas with a production of over 20 million cars in the year 2017, and over the years managed to reduce production costs and increase vehicle quality by adopting Just-in-time (JIT) and Lean production systems. This model simply extracts from the values of collaborations and partnerships.

Another example of an organization that strives for strategic collaborations is the Institute of Real Estate Management which is a collaboration of 29 real estate-related organizations focused on raising awareness and attracting diverse talent to the many careers available across the built environment.

The initiative to highlight the diverse career paths within the real estate sector, was both ground-breaking and exemplary.

More than ever, businesses are being challenged to help tackle social and environmental issues. As a result, an increasing number of top firms are taking the sustainability challenge seriously, not only to decrease their environmental impact and improve their reputations, but also to improve their operations and financial performance.

Collaborating for Sustainability

 (Rangaswami, M et al., 2021). Long term value from a customer or consumer perspective can imply so many things. In context of our complex, and service-driven global world, trade relationships between countries (like Nigeria and the rest of the world) influences industry outcomes particularly in real estate where supplementary input materials need to be sourced. Accordingly, what we find is cross border collaboration to achieve mutual benefit and sustainable success that satisfies customer and consumer expectations.

It is important to understand collaboration requires the right blend of values that are shared across participating stakeholders to create the sustainable outcome as planned. While it is easy to think that the brightest minds would yield most favourable results in activity, their size, composition, competence, and dispositions can make or break a vision. Interestingly, “the qualities necessary for success are the same as the qualities that destroy success” (Harvard Business Review, 2021) in complex projects. 

Whether public or private, local and international organizations are faced with this paradox and the solution could not be any simpler; the more complex a team is, the more you require a uniting purpose. It could be in a product they love, or a shared, passionate vision for the future.

To Collaborate or not to Collaborate?

Sustainable Collaborations raises a number of questions. What are the pros and cons of partnering with other entities from multiple sectors? Does this approach live up to expectations?  Who stands to profit the most? The reality is that successful collaboration is no easy feat. For some, opening up their companies to partner with other stakeholders may be perceived to be too high a risk –– issues such as trust, mutually shared benefits and imbalance of power often come into play.

Progress and breakthroughs cannot be achieved in isolation, as such, working collaboratively with partners to create opportunities will serve as the needed energy to fuel creativity, growth and innovation. At Bilaad Realty, we recognize the importance of collaborating for sustainability and the need to develop approaches that go beyond philanthropy, towards generating shared value. Although the future is unpredictable, one thing is certain – the future of businesses will be defined by collaborations.