Built Environment

OVERVIEW OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

The term Built Environment refers to the structures, surroundings and infrastructure that are made by man to cater for his basic activities, ranging from simple housing, large scale civic buildings to entire cities and their supporting infrastructure. The Built Environment (BE) industry or sector refers to the operations of the practitioners that help shape the Built Environment. It is typically used to describe the multidisciplinary field which addresses the planning, design, construction, management, maintenance, monitoring  and use of these man-made surroundings as an interrelated whole.

There are many components that shape the Sector - the Subsectors and their associated practitioners, training institutions, regulatory and professional bodies, associated Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s), partners, clients and suppliers. The BE sector can be said to comprise 5 sub-sectors, namely, Construction; Environment; Facilities management; Planning; Real Estate/ Infrastructural Services, distinguished by the players that help shape its practice. The range of careers in the sector is broad given the various subsectors. Practitioners include professionals like Architects, Environmental Consultants, Civil Engineers, Facilities Managers, Project Developers, to mention but a few, and various artisans and craftsmen. The latter include bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers, iron-benders, painters, scaffolders, roofers, glazers, plant operatives etc. Some of the job roles like Facility Manager, Project Developer, Project Manager, Environmental Consultant, Builder are multidisciplinary however so they allow for various underlying disciplines from other subsectors. Typically the professionals work under the platform of registered companies/firms. 

Elements that help shape the industry include the training institutions which feed the industry with practitioners, and provide training and development. The feeders comprise essentially universities for the professional level, and technical colleges, vocational schools and apprenticeship providers for the skilled trades.   Training and development is acquired in the main through the respective professional bodies in the various subsectors leading to the award of professional certifications.

Each profession in the BE sector has its own regulatory body which regulates the practice of the profession in Nigeria. The term regulatory body, regulatory agency or authority is used to refer to a statutory organ of Government established to enforce standards and oversee the affairs of the professional practice in its jurisdiction. Registration with the appropriate regulatory body is often mandatory, as authorisation to practice the profession.

The market served by the industry comprises private individuals, Government, corporate organisations and industries. The sector is also served by other industries. The Financial Services (Banks and Insurance Companies), Professional and Advisory Services (Legal and Accounting), Manufacturing and Commerce sectors are major partners. Underlying the operations of the industry are the steel, cement, building materials, quarry, electrical and plumbing materials trade among others.  Legal, financing, insurance, supply chain management aspects also feature significantly. The sector therefore also attracts support professionals such as lawyers, accountants, HR, IT and other specialist and general administrative staff.

Opportunities & Trends

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