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Opinions of Thursday, 10 May 2007

Columnist: Adumua, Sam

A Word Of Advise To Ghanaians Abroad

For the past year I have been trying to unearth some of the social and cultural malignancy eating deep in the minds of most Ghanaians. I have spoke about a number of issues on this platform, and I am very please to get the support of most Ghanaians both home and abroad. There were some criticisms as well, but there are some people who will just resort to insults instead of making constructive criticism. I think this will not help anyone on here and those people must bow their heads in shame for such behaviours.

Today, I am writing in my capacity as a quantity surveyor to give a free counsel especially to most Ghanaians abroad who are already in the process of putting up a building or planning to build back home. Over the years so many people have had a very bad experience when it come to using either their families or friends as agent to help them acquire or build their dream home. Some started building since creation but their buildings have still not seen the light of day. Other buy plot of land and have to pay two to three different people for one piece of land due to land litigations. There have been instances where others pay for a plot of land but never get them because that same plot of land have been sold to many people. Some people have also been duped by some local self-made contractors who have very little technical knowledge about buildings. Some people have also suffered in the hands of contractors who after squandering their money, decide to take pictures of other people houses and send it to them giving them false hope that they have a property back home.

I personally think this is very wrong and we need to put stop to this. Many people work very hard in this country with a hope of acquiring a property back home but this never materialised. It is very sad to see many repeating the mistakes of other victims day in and day out. I have heard so many stories about people with good intensions to put up buildings back home but never materialised because of one fundamental mistake.

Many Ghanaian normally start building because their families tell the to do so, other are influence by friends and other just follow the crowd. In most of these case there was no initial budget, no planning, no technical advice etc, the only tool most home builders have is a piece of drawings from a draughtsman and this have cost so many people huge sums of money. People have put up house which does not commensurate with the amount of money invested in the property, simply because they have no budget, all that they do is to send moneys till the building is complete. In the end the amount of money the caretakers consumes turns out to be almost half of the total project cost. This has been the problem of most Ghanaians. We give the people the chance to cheat us and when it happens we turn to blame them. We can only blame ourselves at the end of the day.

My advise to most Ghanaians abroad is that, they should try as much as possible to get a professional person like a quantity surveyor to give them a budget for their project. This person can actually tell you the amount of cement bags you will need from start to finish, the amount of sand and stones (coarse aggregate) you need to order, the amount of iron rod you will need, number of slate or tiles you will need etc. With this information in your hand, you can manage your project wherever you are, because you know the amount of money you will spend on your building right from the scratch. It is better you hire the services of a qualified professional person and pay a little fees for a better project than to build in the dark. I am not using this platform to advertise myself or my profession, I am only trying to advise those who doe not have this information. There is nothing like short cut in putting up a dream home, building is for life so be wise and seek counsel from the right professionals. I welcome people who would volunteer to share their nightmares with us. It’s high time we put stop to this social canker and put some sanity in the building trade whiles trying to give our brothers and sisters abroad value for their money.

ADUMUA SAM (PROJECT SURVEYOR- MIDLANDS UK)

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