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DEVELOPMENT OF A RETRAINING PROGRAMME FOR ARTISANS IN BLOCKLAYING AND CONCRETING

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 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

The building construction industry plays a vital role in economic growth and development of infrastructures globally. Agbo (2008) described the building industry as a construction firm specializing in the construction of all types of buildings: residential, recreational, industrial, churches, mosque, offices, schools, hospital buildings among others with service of professionals, technicians and operatives. Lagos State Gross Domestic Topic (LSGDP) Survey (2010) referred to the construction industry to encompass the establishment engaged in the erection of physical structure, residential and non-residential buildings as well as wide range of construction works involving structural, civil and allied activities. The building construction industry comprises the following trades namely: carpentry and joinery, painting and decoration, plumbing, tiling, blocklaying and concreting among others.

 

 

 

Blocklaying and concreting is a trade, involved with the erection of buildings. Udofia, Ibritam and Owen (2014) described blocklaying and concreting as laying of blocks using mortar as binder in a systematic manner called bonding to form the walls of a building, while concreting requires the use of fresh concrete (mixture of specified proportion of cement, gravel, sand and water)to form the foundation, beam, lintel or arch, pillar and other structural parts of the building that requires the use of concrete. Blocklaying and concreting adopt the use of  skills and techniques in accomplishing given tasks in mixing of mortars by hand, moulding of blocks, laying of blocks, rendering of walls, wall tiling, pointing to walls and laying of curved walls. It also involves workability and slump tests on concrete, placing of concrete, application of admixture to concrete, compaction, curing of concrete and fixing of concrete materials. Odu (2012) stated that blocklaying and concreting operations are based on actual jobs and not pseudo jobs. In the context of this study blocklaying and concreting therefore refers to the use of skills and techniques to lay blocks in mortar to construct walls of different types and shapes; setting out buildings; finishes to walls and floors; concreting works such as mixing, placing, spreading, compacting, finishing and curing of concrete to form the structural part of buildings like columns, foundation, beams among others using hand tools and automated machinery for the erection of buildings.

Erection of a new building demands the composition of a construction team. Denis (1995) explained that the construction team describes the builders who put up the building. This team consists of main contractor, sub contractors, estimator, surveyor, contract supervisor, site agent, general foreman, trades foreman, trades people, apprentices and labor. Ezeji and Onoh (2008) explained that to construct a new building involves the client, the design team headed by the architect and the construction team headed by the registered builder. The construction work is carried out by the contractor; the contractor supervises the contract manager, general foreman, trade site foreman, group leader, time keeper, and other craftsmen. The authors explained further that the man in charge of building operation on site is known by many names.

The use of names like site agent, general foreman, and trades foreman are now obsolete. Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) (2004) now uses the following names as: builders, provisional builders, building technologist, building technician and building craftsman. The builder is a trained B.Sc. or B.Tech graduate in building or a holder of Higher National Diploma in Building plus Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria CORBON accredited Post Graduate Diploma in Building.

For the erection of buildings, the National Building code (2006) stipulated that the builder is responsible for managing the execution of the building works, the supervision of artisans and tradesman and finds solution to technical problems on project sites. The site agent now known and called as the building supervisor, organizes the construction work on one or more sites, controls them and carries out measurement of quantities. The building supervisor is usually a qualified engineer or qualified in building construction or occasionally would have been promoted from the position of general foreman which is now known as the craftsman.

The craftsmen work closely with the artisans on the construction site. Craftsmen according to the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) (1998) are skilled labour men that possess practical skills and scientific knowledge and attitude relating to his trade. The Technical College trains craftsmen, who work with the artisans on the building construction site, during which they manage, train, explain processes, procedures, demonstrate methods of work and how to carry out task to artisans.

An artisan is a skilled manual worker, who uses hands, mind and heart in performing skilled work. According to Mooko and Aina (2007), artisans are those who have acquired skills and knowledge through Vocational training, which can be formally or informally, perform skilled work with their hands, they are involved in all kinds of occupations namely: blocklaying, bricklaying, carpentry and plumbing among others. Some artisans possess low education and some do not, some cannot work without supervision. Artisans in blocklaying and concreting therefore can be regarded as skilled workers with skills, knowledge of  methods of work, processes, procedures and techniques in blocklaying and concreting works. Most artisans in Lagos State are trained through apprenticeship system.

The apprenticeship system of training that produced most of the artisans in blocklaying and concreting is characterized according to Adekola (2013) by no established curriculum, the extent of skill, knowledge and expertise acquired also depended on how much the master himself knows. No standard regulation guides the apprentice system of training process except what the master craftsman sets. The emphasis of the apprenticeship system of training is on learning and not teaching process. During training the apprenticeship training the artisans only learn through observation; imitation, and by the trial and error method which lack use of training facilities and systematic evaluation techniques. Hence, these artisans need retraining in blocklaying and concreting construction skill processes to meet the housing needs in Lagos State.

Lagos State remains under the burden of shortage of housing even though it has the largest allocation of 2,195, 842 of the Nigeria’s total 28, 187, 085 housing units (Aladekomo, 2012). Housing is one of the challenges facing the Lagos Mega City Project that the government is presently transforming to provide adequate housing need for its ever increasing population. The state land mass is 0.4% of the total land mass of Nigeria, a littoral state, in which its topography invariably takes that of a typical coastal community and has many swampy places. In spite of the challenges of inadequate housing, the state is faced with the challenges of poor quality work finish and building collapse, growth of slums, inadequate infrastructures in terms of the need to upgrade and construct new drainage channels, roads and bridges, waste management issues (Jeje, 2013).

To execute construction works, the services of artisans in blocklaying and concreting artisans become inevitable. In the course of these artisans providing services they exhibit low skills and poor knowledge of blocklaying and concreting methods of work and techniques which have resulted and contributed in the menace of building collapse during and after construction (Ayedun, Durodola and Akinjare, 2012; Windapo and Rotimi, 2012); delay in the construction of buildings and the need for extensive work supervision (Alwi and Keith, 2004; Alaghbari, 2005); poor workmanship as skills acquired by the workmen during training are not properly utilized at work (Ezeji and Onoh, 2008); rework: that is, walls have to be demolished and reconstructed because of poor quality and error of specification implementation (Oyewobu, Ibironke, Ganiyu and Ola – Awo, 2011); poor application of tools and equipment on site (Ghoddousi and Hosseini, 2003);tasks are not properly planned and sequenced, time wasting, waste of materials (Kasimu and Abubakar, 2013, Enshassi, Mohamed and Abushaban, 2009); inability to recognize and carryout visual tests of building materials for quality, poor knowledge of sources of information on technical skills, qualitative and quantitative deficiencies in workmanship.

These attributes of low skills exhibited by artisans have effects as it undermines the reputation of builders and contractors due to poor quality of job, threatens profitability, decreases the satisfaction of property owners and further erode the building in terms of quality of work done in Lagos State. All these attributes of low skills suggested according to Ezeji and Onoh (2008) that workers are supposed to be trained and retrained on the modern trend of technology, and equipped with the skills in modern technology in the blocklaying and concreting trade, through in – service training programme, seminars, workshops and conferences. In the opinion of Tai (2006) there is need to retrain artisans to cope with the upcoming challenges more easily and in time has become necessary. To raise the output of the building industry site personnel such as masons, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, welders, bricklayers and other artisans in the building industry, the Federal Government of Nigeria (2012) in the National Housing Policy makes provision for developing effective manpower and retraining programmes.

Retraining involves getting additional knowledge, skill and attitude to equip artisans to enable them achieve higher productivity and performance. Retraining according to Imhabekahai (2009) involves the renewal of worker’s skills, knowledge, attitudes and habits which have become obsolete and irrelevant to the needs of their employment as a result of changing social, economic, administrative and technological advancements. Retraining in the view of Mimi, Muhammad and Adnan (2009) is the upgrading of existing skill or acquiring a new one. Therefore, retraining for artisans in blocklaying and concreting refers to the process to refresh, provide new additional knowledge, to sharpen the skills and attitude of artisans who are already trained to reinforce their work proficiency, familiarize them with new or revised methods of work and procedures to prevent skills obsolescence to be able to cope with the immediate market needs through a programme.

A retraining programme becomes necessary to retrain artisans for blocklaying and concreting. Olaitan, Nwachukwu, Igbo, Onyemachi and Ekong (1999) depicts a programme as real plans or what is to be done. In the views of Beywl and Spear (2004) a programme is a package of measures, comprising a succession of activities based on a set of resources, aimed at specific outcomes with defined target groups. The blocklaying and concreting retraining programme therefore refers to a series of activities which are designed to improve and update specific skills, knowledge and methods of work that will lead to increased motivation, morale, productivity and ability to cope with emerging complexity in the construction of modern buildings. Retraining programme consists of components which are used to organize and structure the retraining activities. A retraining programme involves the totality of what need to be presented to the artisans, in other words a curriculum material. According to Tyler in Olaitan (2003) curriculum training model should include objectives, content, organization and evaluation.

Objectives are the behavioural changes expected in the artisan as a result of the retraining programme. Olaitan (2003) stated that an objective is a statement of the expected or desired learning outcomes from a particularly learned activity. In the view of Akubuilo (2007) objectives refer to descriptions of observable student behaviour or performance that are used to make judgments about learning. In this study, objectives refer to the specific learning outcomes of what the artisans will be able to practice after the retraining programme.

The subject matter through which the objective would be achieved is referred to as content. Olaitan (2003) stated that content is a description of expected capabilities of the students in specified domain of human activities. The domains are cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills and processes) and affective (affects and values). To Morrison, Rose and Kemp (2004) content is what the learner is expected to learn and tasks that the learner will need to perform during the duration of the instructional interaction. Content is therefore viewed as a sequential list of topics on knowledge, skills, and methods of work to retrain the artisans. The purpose of content is to determine what the artisans will need to know and the tasks to perform during the retraining. The content of the retraining programme will be derived from the retraining objectives, job analysis, task analysis and function analysis approach of which Ogbuanya (2013) suggested that the content of a programme must be adapted to needs of the people and be environmentally relevant. To achieve meaningful and effective learning of the content, effective retraining strategies are very necessary.

Retraining strategies are needed to deliver the content of a programme. According to Sahu (2010) retraining strategies is a means of communicating with a particular group of participants or reaching out to them in the context of a retraining programme with the expressed purpose of delivering retraining contents for facilitating the learning process, in pursuance of predetermined objectives. Teaching Tools (2014) explained that retraining strategies is the procedure of how the content is elaborated during the teaching process. Retraining strategy therefore involves procedures to be adopted by the trainer to deliver the message to the artisans through an organized and structured learning activity for the purpose of accomplishing the objectives of the retraining programme. There are however, a variety of retraining strategies that can be used for conveying information to the artisans during retraining. Isiaka and Dacosta (2001) and Shau (2010) enumerated retraining strategies as lecture, discussion, demonstration, project, field trips among others. In addition to retraining strategy for effective content delivery in blocklaying and concreting retraining facilities are very necessary.

Retraining facilities help the trainers to translate abstract ideas to concrete ideas. Mbaba, Akpan and Udofia (2011) described retraining facilities  as workshop facilities (hand tools, machines, consumable materials, safety equipment), overhead projector, computer, internet facilities classified as infrastructural and physical facilities in the workshops, laboratories, studio, which include the tools, equipment, machines and the consumable materials that are being used from time to time for teaching/learning. Bello and Shuaibu (2013) described retraining facilities to involve all the infrastructural and physical facilities in the workshops, laboratories, and studios to include tools, equipment, machines and the consumable materials for teaching/learning a trade. Retraining facilities therefore refers to the tools, equipment, and all other instructional materials that should be employed for retraining of artisans in blocklaying and concreting in order to achieve the stated objectives.

Extent of achievement of the stated objectives can only be measured through effective evaluation techniques. In the view of Nworgu (2003) evaluation is a process of seeking, obtaining and quantifying data with a view of making value judgment about objects, events or their characteristics. Learning outcomes are evaluated using different evaluation techniques. Evaluation techniques according to Kolawole (2009) are the tools and devices employed by the teacher to determine the success or failure of learning. Evaluation techniques therefore, refer to tools, devices and activities employed by the trainer to measure learning outcome of the artisans in blocklaying and concreting. Effective evaluation includes the use of instruments like checklists, rating scale, observation schedule among others to ensure the achievement of the retraining goal.

Most blocklaying and concreting artisans in Lagos State seem to exhibit low skills and poor knowledge of blocklaying and concreting methods of work, procedures and techniques. The poor skill performances of the artisans affect the quality of finished buildings which sometimes results in building collapse during and after construction. In other to improve this situation, retraining is the only way skill, knowledge and attitudes of artisans in blocklaying and concreting can be updated and improved for better skill performance. This will go a long way to reduce building failures and defects, build right, retrain and let the artisans know that they play critical role in the erection of buildings, hence this study.

Statement of the Problem

Housing is one of the challenges facing the Lagos mega city project that the government is presently transforming to provide adequate housing for its ever increasing population. This is moreso, because the state is a littoral state in which its topography invariably takes after that of a typical coastal community which has many swampy places, and water logged areas with poor soil bearing capacity. To construct safe habitable buildings, the services of skilled artisans in blocklaying and concreting become necessary.

The researcher on visit to many construction sites in Lagos State observed that some artisans in blocklaying and concreting during the erection of buildings exhibit low skills, poor knowledge of blocklaying and concreting methods of work, techniques, workmanship, poor application of tools, equipment and storage of materials on site; tasks not properly planned and sequenced; walls have to be reconstructed because of poor quality and errors of specification implementation; inability to recognize or carryout visual test of building materials for quality. The artisans shortcomings in skill performance also undermines the reputation of builders and contractors due to poor quality of jobs; threatens profitability; decreases the satisfaction of property owners and further erode the confidence of financiers of building projects, buyers and end users of the building in terms of quality of work done.

All these deficiencies exhibited by artisans seem to be stemmed mainly from the narrow and static range of skills possessed and offered as a result of the apprenticeship system of training which is characterized by no established curriculum, no standard regulation guiding the training process. Pedagogy is limited to learning by doing (trial and error) and based on tacit knowledge with little use of instructional materials/training facilities. Adhoc curriculum that is, no prescription of syllabus, content, structured learning experiences and systematic evaluation techniques are largely ignored. This system of training erodes the necessary foundation for new skills thus making it difficult to learn; acquire  blocklaying and concreting techniques and methods of work, access to and knowledge of modern tools; ability to cope with skills and knowledge needed to build houses free of defects and failures. Therefore, the problem of this study is to develop a retraining programme for artisans in blocklaying and concreting in Lagos State in order to improve the skills, knowledge and attitudes of artisans.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to develop a programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting in Lagos State. Specifically the study sought to:

  1. determine the objectives of the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting.
  2. determine the contents of the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting.
  3. determine the retraining strategies for the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting.
  4. determine the retraining facilities needed for the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting.
  5. determine the evaluation techniques for the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting.
  6. develop a retraining programme for artisans in blocklaying and concreting.
  7. determine the efficacy of the developed programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting.

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be of benefit to artisans, apprentices, teachers that teach blocklaying and concreting in Technical Colleges, Colleges of Education and master artisans in blocklaying and concreting, clients and employers, the society at large and Ministry of Education, Lagos State and parents.

The findings of this study if implemented will be of benefit to artisans in blocklaying and concreting by providing them with information to improve their knowledge, skills and attitudes. The retraining programme will provide artisans with opportunities to learn and understand methods of work, processes and procedures in blocklaying and concreting and ascertain the reasons why things happen the way they do. The retraining programme will further enhance the artisan’s service delivery; value delivery; delivery of quality construction jobs and thereby enhance their earnings. The programme will enable the artisans to have firm grasp on their responsibilities or duties, develop self – efficacy which will result in acceptable performance on the job by replacing traditional weak practices with efficient and effective work related practices. The artisans will also experience decreased anxiety or frustration originated from lack of needed skills, knowledge and attitudes to execute tasks which the retraining programme will provide the artisans when implemented. When the artisans go through the retraining programme, they will also benefit high morale, recognition, enhanced responsibility, increased confidence and motivation.

Apprentices in blocklaying and concreting will also benefit from this study, as the programme can be used to train and update their knowledge and understanding on new and additional skills, to make them more effective in skill performance and discharge of their duties, sharpen their skills, thinking ability and creativity in order to execute tasks in time and in a more productive manner and gainful command of skills to perform at a particular job and to avoid common errors and mistakes. The master artisans and teachers that teach blocklaying and concreting in Technical Colleges and Colleges of Education can use the findings of this study to: update their knowledge and skills on new emerging blocklaying and concreting processes, methods of work and techniques to train their apprentices and students to gain acquaintances on skills and increase their understanding as master artisans on needed new and additional skills to adjust to new situations.

The study will benefit the clients/employers and society at large. If supposedly skilled artisans are retrained with the developed programme they will be more informed, knowledgeable and skilled employees that will execute quality jobs using right ratios of mixes, better application and maintenance of equipment and tools; and decreased need for supervision. Furthermore, as a result of the retraining programme information; the client will also gain optimum use of time and materials. Reduced artisans turnover, employees image will be enhanced, and the use of human resources in favour of gaining competitive advantage and client’s satisfaction. The programme can bring a sense of security at the workplace which in turn reduces labour turnover and absenteeism of artisans is avoided.

The findings of the study will be beneficial to the Ministry of Education, Lagos State as the developed retraining programme will provide ideas, training information in terms of training strategies, evaluation techniques and needed facilities which could serve as guide to vocational training centers to help improve competencies of the present day needs of artisans and trainees of the vocational centre. The developed programme can be used for training and retraining at vocational training centres during such as workshops, seminars and in – service training in blocklaying and concreting. The Lagos State Government will benefit in the area of safe and habitable buildings and gainful employment for artisans in blocklaying and concreting as they will be well trained which will in turn boost the economy of the state.

Parents will benefit from the study as their children trained through the apprenticeship system of training can still be exposed to further retraining programme to improve their skills and knowledge which could enhance better wages and employment. The findings of this study can be used by other researchers as a basis for further research work and as sources of literature in other geographical areas and other sectors of building construction like carpentry, plumbing among others.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided this study.

  1. What are the objectives of the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting?
  2. What are the contents of the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting?
  3. What are the retraining strategies of the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting?
  4. What are the retraining facilities of the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting?
  5. What are the evaluation techniques of the programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting?
  6. What is the efficacy of the developed programme for retraining artisans in blocklaying and concreting?

Hypothesis

The following one null hypothesis was formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance.

There is no significant difference in the skill performance of artisans in blocklaying and concreting before and after retraining with the developed

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