1.1   Background to the Study 

The high demand for office buildings and commercial facilities has attracted investment and witnessed the development of high rise commercial properties/facilities in all the capital cities in Nigeria of which Awka is not an exception. Notwithstanding, these however are associated with effective maintenance management challenges after buildings are completed and occupied by users. Buildings are an integral part of a nation’s heritage, skyline and distinct character. They are designed and built to sustain their initial functions and beauty for both the present and future users.  The condition and quality of buildings in which we live, work and learn reflects a nation’s well-being (Wordsworth, 2001).


Olagunju (2012) stated that buildings cannot remain new throughout their entire life and maintenance problems start to creep in once building projects are completed and  maintenance are carried out on them in order to sustain the performance of the buildings and keep them in good condition. Adenuga and Iyagba (2008) opined that it is impossible to produce buildings which are maintenance free, but maintenance work can be minimized by good design and proper workmanship carried out by skilled experts or competent craftsmen using suitable codes of installation, requisite building materials and methods.  However, to achieve excellent performance and yield maximum value on investment of commercial buildings, it requires proper maintenance management (Emma and Syahrul, 2009).


British Standard Institute BS (2006), defines maintenance to be “the combination of all technical, administrative and managerial actions intended to retain an item or restore it to a state in which it can perform its required function”. Yahya and Ibrahim (2011) opined that maintenance management refers to how well a building is maintained. Building maintenance management is an action which involves interacting or blends of technical, social, legal and economic elements that governs and manages the use of buildings (Francis and Lee 2001). Building maintenance is an important programme for the sustainability of infrastructural development. It plays an important role among other activities in the building operations (Zulkarnain, Zawani, Rahman and Mustafa, 2011). Maintenance of building received little attention from the users, designers and contractors  (Ogunmakinde, Siyanbola,  and Akinola, 2013). It is a well-known fact that the primary objective of building maintenance is to preserve buildings in their initial functional, structural and aesthetic states. This is to ensure that they continue to remain in such state and retain their investment value over a long period of existence (Adejimi, 2005; Ipingbemi, 2010).


The users do not always make use of the property and the services in good condition, often users do not obey the information contained in the maintenance manual of the building if it exists at all (Ogunmakinde et al., 2013). Most property owners sometimes endeavour to keep maintenance expenditure to the least, eliminating the consequences of the long term effect of such action. On the part of the designers, they may forget the durability of the materials and its serviceability before including them in their designs (Adejimi, 2005).Building  maintenance becomes more difficult according to age of the structure and this depends on the quality of the original building coupled with the rate of maintenance of the structure (Adenuga, 1999).


Odediran, Opatunji and Eghnure (2012) opined that the ability of a building to provide the required environment for a particular activity is a measure of its functionality. Therefore as the components of a building begins to deteriorate, it becomes necessary to take measures to ensure that the desired characteristics of that facility which provides safety and convenience are retained.  Commercial buildings are relatively complicated   in maintenance management and carrying out maintenance on these facilities comes with serious problems and challenges such as high cost of maintenance, adequate maintenance policy framework, lack of finance, minimal or lack of input of facilities managers during the design stages (Timilli 2014; Ometehinshe, Dabara, & Guymu, 2015).


Shabha (2013) opined that lack of proper building maintenance policies and strategies, budget, skills, and technology leads to potential risks challenges during the maintenance stages of the building. Building maintenance policy and strategy is one of the main aspects in management of building maintenance operation processes (Lee and Scott, 2009).The three essential elements for formulating the maintenance policy are the choice of maintenance strategy, defining maintenance standard and allocation of maintenance resources. Maintenance activities could not be planned and implemented successfully, without the understanding of these elements. Maintenance strategy in general includes Corrective, Preventive or Condition based maintenance. Work carried out in expectation of failure is referred to as preventive maintenance, and those carried out for restoring after failure is referred to as corrective maintenance (Waziri and Vanduhe, 2013). However there are different views on choosing appropriate maintenance strategy. Among various maintenance strategies, the effectiveness of planned preventive maintenance (PPM) is more challenged by the top management (Loosemore and Hsin, 2011).


Banful, (2004) opined that the financial consequences of neglecting maintenance is often not only seen in terms of reduced asset life and premature replacement but also in increased operating cost and waste of related natural and financial resources. This is why property managers should give maintenance a high priority in their day to day activities (Lai, Yik, Jones, 2009). Bennel-Yinteman (2008) stated that Building maintenance is generally considered an unproductive operation by majority of individuals, organizations, institutions and governments.  However, it remains one of the most neglected areas in terms of technology in both developed and developing countries. It must be said that deterioration in buildings and other fixed equipment is inescapable; for this reason periodic attention is required to keep them in good state so that they can continue to perform their required functions and also sustain the level of utility and value derived from them (Issahaku, 2013).


Ogunmakinde, O., Akinola, A. & Siyanbola, A.(2013) posited that it is practically impossible to produce buildings which are maintenance free. Adenuga, Odusami and Faremi (2007) opined that although much can be done at the design stage to reduce the amount of maintenance work to be executed at the operation and maintenance phase of buildings, building elements however generally deteriorate relative to the nature and characteristics of construction materials, method of construction, age, environmental conditions, usage, method of design and maintenance management system in place for the building. Olagunju (2012) opined that there is lack of maintenance  set up in Nigeria  that  can  sustain  the  current  inadequate housing  provision  in  the  country.  Olagunju  (2012)  further  stated  that  lack  of  appropriate  tool  for  predictive maintenance  of  the  existing  buildings  can  have  a  detrimental  effect  on  future  housing  development.  Zubairu (2001) stated that the country does not have a maintenance policy which resulted in the persistent problems of building maintenance. In this study, evaluation of challenges of maintenance management of commercial building in Awka is carried out to proffer strategies for improving maintenance.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Maintenance management of commercial building is faced with many challenges such as high cost of maintenance, adequate maintenance policy framework, lack of finance, minimal or lack of input of facilities managers during the design stages, etc (Timilli 2014; Ometehinshe, Dabara,  & Guymu, 2015).


One of the major challenges that confronts commercial building maintenance is the lack of consideration and poor integration of maintenance policy framework in the widest possible context and deviation from proper procedural system (Timilli 2014; Forster 2009). Most of the recent maintenance policy procedures do not clearly link maintenance needs with building performance with respect to the building users who measure the performance of a building with various criteria which include the condition of the building (Yahya & Ibrahim, 2011). According to Ali, Kamaruzzaman, Sulaiman, Peng, (2010), for an effective maintenance management, it requires an appropriate maintenance policy framework.


Building maintenance is also challenged with high cost of maintenance. According to El-Haram and Horner (2012), there are numerous factors that are responsible for the high housing maintenance cost such as building characteristics, human aspects, ways of implementing maintenance and government policies. Al-khatam (2003) identified and grouped some of the factors into seven (7) categories which include engineering services, labour, building materials, environments, management and administration, budget and finance and building users. This was confirmed by Ali et al. (2010) who found out that factors such as building materials, building services, building age, expectation of tenants, failure to execute maintenance at the right time, maintenance factors, political, outstanding maintenance charges, over budgeting and other factors contribute immensely to high cost of maintenance. Other risk factors contributing to high cost of maintenance as a result of financial losses include poor design and construction practices, poor accessibility for maintenance, poor selection of materials, incompatibility poor specifications, non-availability of spare parts, lack of standard tools and instruments for regular maintenance and environmental conditions (DeSilva & Ranasinghe, 2012).


Maintenance strategy is adopted in order to extend the life cycle of buildings and its fitting services. The basic maintenance strategies include Preventive, Corrective and Condition Based Maintenance. Among various maintenance strategies, the effectiveness of planned preventive maintenance (PPM) is more challenged by the top management (Loosemore & Hsin, 2011). According to Chan, Lee, and Burnett (2001), the time based, performance based, breakdown based, renovation – based and integration-based are also developed from the three basic maintenance strategies.  The main purpose of  maintenance of property is essentially to retain its values for investment, aesthetic, safety, durability, with a view to ensuring that the property is continually in good condition for habitation and to the satisfaction of the owner(s)/users and communal prestige (Brennan, 2000). Effective maintenance management of commercial building increases its value but when they are not properly maintained it reduces the value. This study ascertained the challenges of maintenance management of commercial building in Awka.


1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The study aims at evaluating challenges associated with maintenance management of commercial buildings in Awka with a view to proposing strategies for improving maintenance. This is with the view to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To identify and evaluate the maintenance strategies adopted in maintenance management of commercial buildings.
  2. To determine the state of maintenance of commercial buildings in Awka.
  • To examine the impact of maintenance strategies on occupancy rate and rate of rent payment.
  1. To identify challenges associated with maintenance management of commercial buildings in Awka.


    1.4    Statement

  1. The maintenance strategies adopted in maintenance management of commercial buildings in Awka
  2. The state of maintenance of commercial buildings in Awka
  • Maintenance strategies affects the occupancy rate and rate of rent payment.
  1. The peculiar maintenance management challenges associated with commercial buildings in Awka.


1.5   Research Hypothesis

Hypothesis 1

Maintenance strategies adopted have no significant effect on maintenance management of commercial buildings.

Hypothesis 2

State of maintenance have no significant effect on the occupancy rate and rate of rent payment.


1.6    Significance of the Study

 This study was carried out to examine challenges associated with maintenance management of commercial buildings in Awka. The importance of this research work will not only contribute to the body of academic knowledge, but will also recommend ways for most efficient maintenance management of commercial buildings in Awka. More so this research will help property managers to be more knowledgeable and more informed of maintenance of commercial buildings. Owners, tenants and users of buildings will also be well informed of the functions of buildings and guide their approach to issues that concerns building maintenance.


 1.7   Scope of the Study

There are a number of commercial buildings in Awka but for the purpose of this study, the study will cover 37 selected plazas in Awka (See Appendix V). The study focuses on challenges facing maintenance management of commercial building in Awka. The study also set to identify challenges associated with maintenance management of commercial buildings, identify the maintenance strategies adopted in maintenance management of commercial buildings and to determine the state of maintenance of commercial buildings in Awka.



1.8 Limitations of the Study

This study which focused on evaluating challenges associated with maintenance management of commercial buildings in Awka with a view to proposing strategies for improving maintenance faced several challenges which include the challenges of sourcing for material during the research work. The researcher also undergoes the challenges of data collection as some of the Landlord, property Manager and occupants find it difficult to release such relevant information.



1.9 Study Area

The study area is in Awka, Anambra state and it is discussed under the sub sections namely locations, climate and physical characteristics.



Awka is the capital of Anambra state, Nigeria. It has an estimated population of 301,657 (Nigeria census, 2006). The area lie at the coordinates 6° 12’ 23” N 7° 04’ 04”E. Awka capital territory is one of the centers with a high population density in Igbo land, southeastern Nigeria. Strategically, Awka is located midway between two major cities in Northern Igboland, Onitsha and Enugu which has informed its choice as an administrative centre of the colonial authorities and today as a base for the Anambra state government


Awka is in the tropical rainforest zone of southeastern Nigeria and experiences two distinct climatic seasons, brought about by the two predominant winds that rule the area: the south western maritime trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean and the north eastern dry trade winds from across the Sahara desert. The trade winds that blow over Atlantic ocean creates seven months of heavy tropical rains which occur between April and October which are then followed by five months of dryness (November – March). The harmattan is a particularly dry and dusty wind which enters Nigeria in late December or in the early part of January and is characterized by a grey haze limiting visibility and blocking the sun’s rays. The temperature in Awka is generally comfortable, 27°c- 30°c between June and December but rises to 32°c -34°c between January and April. The annual rainfall averages is 1,856mm with the peak experienced from May to July and again September tapering into October, thus experiencing double rainfall maxima(Wikipedia, 2015).



The study area lies below 300m above sea in a valley on the plains of the Mamu River. Two ridges or cuestas both lying in a north – south direction, from the major topographical features of the area. The ridges reach the highest point at Agulu just outside the capital territory. About 6km east of this, the minor cuesta peaks about 150m above sea level of Ifite – Awka (Wikipedia, 2015).




Awka is sited in a fertile tropical valley but most of the original rainforest has been lost due to clearing for urbanization, farming and human settlement. A few examples of the original rainforest remains at places like the ime-oka shrine. Wooded savannah grassland predominates primarily to the north and east of the town(Wikipedia, 2015).


Drainage System

Awka lack drainages. Even the drainages available are covered with waste, blocking the easy flow of water, which results to flooding and erosion. The width of the drainage systems are small and as such when they are blocked with refuse the water cannot flow easily(Wikipedia, 2015).


Soil Characteristics

The study area consist of mainly ferralitic soil group (deep porous red soils) derived from the red sands resulting from chemical weathering and feruginisaiton of the false – bedded sandstones which usually occur under savanna conditions (Ofomata, 1995) The soil is generally infertile. It is rich in free iron with sand content and with fewer elements of clay and silt.



The study areas falls within two region; Bende – Ameki formation and Nanka sands of the Eocene era (Egboka and Okpoko, 1984) the former part of the deposits of the marine regression is southern Nigeria, consist essentially of course sands with intercalation of calcareous and thin Shelly limestone. The upper beds consist of coarse sandstone and the lower bed contains massive dark grey to brown sandy mudstone. The Paleocene – Eocene boundary lies between 585.3m and 516m. The Nanka sands are lateral equivalent of the Ameki formation. The water table generally reaches its highest and lowest levels in September / October and May / June respectively the Nnaka sands generally yields large quantities of water as springs. It is a sufficiently water bearing unit with a high porosity and permeability (Wikipedia, 2015).















Fig 1.1  Digitized map of Awka, Anambra state