Our correspondent, Esther Adeniyi, interviewed Town Planner and Barrister Makinde Ogunleye. He gave us insights into the importance of town planning and physical planning in real estate. Read excerpts of the interview below:
NREH: can you kindly introduce yourself sir?
Barr Ogunleye : I am Town planner and Barrister Makinde Ogunleye. I retired from Lagos state government as a director. Presently, I have a consultancy firm, Corporate Castles Limited. We deal with issues of physical planning and urban development.
NREH: thank you very much sir. How important is a Town Planner to a real estate investor?
Barr Ogunleye: the professions in the built environment are seven. All of them are interwoven in relation to real estate development. The first person to get to the site is the real estate surveyor, the town planner will get there, an architect will get there, engineer and then the estate surveyor, quantity surveyor . They are all involved in real estate development. Immediately the surveyor finishes his work, the planner will come in to parcel the plots for various uses. For example if you have a one-hectare land, you have to have subdivision approval from the state government and this will involve how many people are going to live there, how many housing units, whether there will be a security post, the utility and services they will need, you take all of these into consideration.
When we talk about transportation network, this will involve drainage and other things. So that is the job of a town planner in real estate development. We also monitor the construction of the facilities globally so that it can meet with the minimum standards set up in the approved layout.
NREH: what are the town planning due diligence a real estate investor needs to do?
Barr Ogunleye: they are many, depending on the location. For example, we are in Lagos; there is what we call regulations or layout regulations. A real estate person must first of all approach a town planner before they buy the land at all to ask for the zoning of the area. So that if you are looking for residential development, you go to a residential area to buy land. If you need commercial, you go to commercial; industrial, you go to industrial area, for recreational, you go to recreational area. This is so that you don’t go and develop in an area contradicting to the land use plan of the state.
The first approach is to seek for clearance for the planning information on your proposal so that you will not be running up and down. That is the first one. The second one is to ask for the minimum standard of the proposed use, there is what we call the density, there is a minimum density that is allowed within an area, there is an optimum height of building that is allowed. So these come into play when you are planning a real estate development.
Then you get the layout approved and move to architecture to design the buildings in line with the approved layout and regulation in the state.
NREH: Do you think that the government is doing enough in terms of urban and regional planning, especially in Lagos state?
Barr Ogunleye: I will say yes in Lagos state. 8 years or 10 years ago, the Lagos state government prepared plans for Lagos state. There is no other state that is doing as much as Lagos state is doing in terms of physical planning. Lagos state has invested a lot.
NREH: what more do you think the Lagos state government can do?
Barr Ogunleye: many of the plans I have mentioned, especially the master plans, they need to prepare low level detailed plans. What you see on the master plan are dots but for a very detailed plan, you see buildings, structures and all of that so that it can become more meaningful to people who are not professionals in that field.
They also need to do more on excised villages. They need to make the place be lifted up from the clutches of slums.
They also need to implement plans that have been in place.