Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
Most third world countries face acute endemic housing problem that over the years has raised both national and international concerns. Habitat and World Bank for example, fund many housing schemes worldwide in addressing the housing issue. Likewise, governmental and non-governmental institutions foster and orchestrate self help campaigns directed at reducing inherent housing deficiency in these poor nations. However, growing number of unfinished buildings in such countries seem to overshadow the efforts and thus pose many questions as to what is behind the failure in providing such a highly needed commodity. One may wonder whether such a failure has anything to do with architecture, attitudes and practices of the people or is it just a thing to be pegged on socio-economic platform of the society! Findings from a case study conducted for over a hundred unfinished building projects in Dar es Salaam point to existence of acute planning and implementation gaps in the entire process of running building projects. Such gaps encompass not only the marginalised roles played by architects, engineers and building managers but also to the legal arena on managerial processes. In most cases, malignancy of Clients to assume roles of their Consultants through making decisions and changes that affect the design and the project cost has undermined the efforts to attain the intended goals. On the other hand, failure of Architects to involve their Clients, right from the beginning, leaves Owners at stake to accepting designs which they never had a complete knowledge about and more often than not, they had been led to sanction changes without knowing the associated financial implications. Apart from abrogation of roles of key players, improper planning and poor implementation strategies have groomed serious problems of abscondment due to frustration emanating from lack of financial transparency and unwarranted design variations during implementation. These attributes have a strong bearing on escalation of project cost and have significantly contributed to growing number of unfinished buildings that appear as architectural pollution to urban settings. This paper, founded on facts from various interviewed actors in the building industry, addresses the cause of unfinished projects in developing nations and also provides alternative approaches for minimising the problem.
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