Real Estate and Construction in Africa

To hear about real estate and construction in Africa, Finance Monthly reached out to the Executive Director of Tanzania-based Epitome Architects Ltd. – Nuru Susan Nyerere – Inyangete. Established in 1998, the company provides architectural, interior design, planning, contract administration and project management consultancy services. At Epitome, Nuru is in charge of design, procurement (especially international), […]

To hear about real estate and construction in Africa, Finance Monthly reached out to the Executive Director of Tanzania-based Epitome Architects Ltd. – Nuru Susan Nyerere – Inyangete. Established in 1998, the company provides architectural, interior design, planning, contract administration and project management consultancy services. At Epitome, Nuru is in charge of design, procurement (especially international), quality assurance, whilst she also heads the company’s Real Estate Development wing in Nigeria.

 

What would you say are the most common types of projects that you work on?

We are not geared for a specific building type as in Tanzania, like many African countries, the economy is not big enough to sustain architects who are specialised in a specific building type. Thus, we have built a team with the capacity to successfully undertake a variety of projects.

We are very fortunate to work on a wide variety of building types i.e. corporate buildings (for both private and public clients); commercial and mixed use. We’ve also worked on petrol stations, banks, schools and universities, residential buildings – and the list goes on. We are one of the few Architectural firms in Tanzania that have worked on a number of health related projects.

Additionally, our portfolio also includes international projects such as Utako Bus Terminal in Abuja, Nigeria and Rwanda People’s Bank in Kigali.

Our work ethic and drive to satisfy our clients have enabled us to get numerous word-of-mouth referrals.

 

What specific tactics do you implement when assisting clients with development strategies?

  • The desire and interest of our clients is our priority and we guide them by understanding their ambitions in order to deliver solutions that satisfy their expectations.
  • We undertake extensive research based on client expectations and spend a good deal of time with them. This forms the basis of our execution plan.
  • We have a passionate, highly skilled, multi-disciplinary team of professionals with international experience whose quality of work epitomises our services.
  • The hallmark of our service is built on uncompromising adherence to contracts, development controls, regulations, best practice guidelines and documentation.
  • We set out to educate our clients on the actual role of an architect in a development project.

 

What are the challenges that your clients typically face prior to embarking on a new project, in relation to laws and regulations?

A key challenge for our clients is matching their expectations and needs to the resources available, the regulatory requirements and the cost of compliance.

Processing of Statutory approvals like building permits, change of use (where change of developments use is required) is long drawn out and bureaucratic. In addition, every project needs to register with various regulatory bodies like AQRB, ERB, CRB and also undertake studies such as Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), all of which are costly. Additionally, if the project involves acquisition of funds, the process may take longer than the client’s timeframe.

In regards to building laws and regulations, a potential challenge can relate to gaps in legislation, such as the absence of building codes for example. Change in policies can also cause numerous issues for our clients.

 

Do you have a mantra or motto you live by when it comes to helping your clients with the development of a project?

Our Motto is: ‘Strive for excellence regardless of project size’. Our business ethos is built on being loyal to our clients and the profession in our advice from the outset and our clients appreciates this.

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