IMPROVING MAINTENANCE CULTURE AND QUALITY OF PUBLIC PROPERTIES IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Advanced Learners Dictionary defines maintenance as the process of protecting or preserving someone or something, or the process of keeping something in good condition. Culture, on the other hand, is a way of life, a lifestyle, customs, traditions, habits that portray the attributes of a person/people.
Maintenance culture is an attitude which is sadly lacking in Nigeria, whether in the home, office, school or factory. Mbamali (2003) added that poor maintenance culture has become a widely recognized problem in Nigeria which has poorly affected the quality of public properties.
Public property is property that is dedicated to public use and is a subset of state property. The term may be used either to describe the use to which the property is put, or to describe the character of its ownership (owned collectively by the population of a state). This is in contrast to private property, owned by an individual person or artificial entities that represent the financial interests of persons, such as corporations. State ownership, also called public ownership, government ownership or state property, are property interests that are vested in the state, rather than an individual or communities (Wikipedia, 2015).
Maintenance culture in Nigeria is one of the lowest around the world, especially, in our principal towns and cities where the majority of public properties are located. In the rural areas, the story is different and pleasant to hear. The traditional practice of communal clearing of community owned places such as market playground is in almost every village and in private homes. Also, it is customary to refurbish building interiors with mixtures of cow dung or natural red clay. The end result is attractive and totally indigenous. According to Wahab (1995) the nation accords low priority to property management leading to neglect of public properties. Mbamali (2003) asserted that we have no maintenance policy and therefore no such culture exists. Neglect of maintenance has accumulated consequences in rapid increase in the deterioration of the fabric and finishes of a building, accompanied by a harmful effect on the contents occupants Seeley, (1987). Inadequate maintenance culture is a peculiar feature of almost every public building in Nigeria. According to Rotimi and Mtallib (1995) is partly due to poor maintenance culture on one hand and partly due to the absence of an appropriate benchmark. Gurjit (1990) asserted that lack of proper maintenance culture bring the life of these public building last before reaching the total obsolescence state. The declining maintenance culture in Nigeria and its effect on public buildings and all other properties has become a major problem to the government at various levels. This study examines ways of improving maintenance culture and its effect on quality of public properties