On a Social Media not too long ago, a “forumite,” who is perhaps, a first-time property owner, had posted this question seeking enlightenment from “fellow-forumites.” The question generated a heated discussion to the admiration of 29,625 “audience” who participated. Although opinions raised during the discussion differ, the responses and other issues raised on the “forum,” which claims to be the best in the country, forms the basis of this piece.
Let me start with the question, what is the size of a plot of land? One cannot give a categorical answer since the size of a plot varies and depends on the state where one is buying a land. However, there is a measurement that is considered the standard in all the states. In Lagos, for instance, the standard measurement of a plot of land is 36 metres by 18 metres (120 feet by 60 feet), which amounts to 648 square metres. In some other States like Rivers, Edo and Oyo, the size of a plot is 30 metres by15 metres (100 feet by 50 feet), that is 450 square metres.
In nearby Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), plots of land are also cut into 30 metres by 15 metres. In places like Enugun, Imo, Anambra and other Eastern States, a plot of land could be as big as 75 metres by 50 metres. In the northern parts of the country, like Kano and Sokoto, plots of land are also divided into 30 metre by 15 metres. However, irrespective of the size of the plot, it is expected that they are big enough to accommodate any residential development being proposed on them.
To answer the question: How much of area of a plot of land can I develop?” I will use the standard measurement of a plot in Lagos to explain. Where you have a plot measuring 36 metres by 18 metres, the State’s building regulation provides that you leave airspaces or setbacks of 3 metres from all sides of the building except in the front where the setback is 6 metres, from the back of the road. If you add all these setbacks together, you will get 324 square metres, which is exactly half of the whole plot. This means that the remaining developable area is also 324 square metres. Even though, your building may or may not cover the entire remaining 324 square metres, you are mandated to comply with the setback requirements.
One other feature of plots of land is what is termed “Corner Piece.” This is a plot of land located at road intersection and bordered by, at least two access roads; and because of the 6 metre-setback for roads, 3 metres is normally added to the sides close to the roads, hence, instead of the regular 36 metres by 18 metres, the size can increase to 39 metres by 21 metres or 36 metres by 21 metres. Corner piece plots are relatively more than ordinary plots, not only because of being larger in size, but they are considered very valuable for commercial developments; and where they are used for residential developments, the premises are much more extensive than regular plots.
A plot of land is large enough to build any house of your choice, even when you are left with a developable area of 324 square metres. Although, property owners with very young family would prefer a Bungalow or Chalet of not more than three or four bedrooms, others may prefer a self-contained terraced-house or a Duplex. In locations where it is permitted, a plot of land can effectively contain 4-numbers of 3-bedroom block of flats or two-wing duplex. Any architect with a good sense for space-use should be able to design bigger buildings on a plot of land without contravening Town Planning requirements. So, if your preference is a Mansion, you can still have it built on a plot of land.
Similarly, in areas where mixed developments are allowed, you can have a combination of shops, office accommodations, supermarket, as well as residential apartments put together on a plot of land, put you will have to provide ample parking spaces. Let me quickly add that storey-buildings with limited number of floors are also permissible developments on a plot of land; so you can have a block of six flats in a two-storey building. However, you have to check if the Town Planning requirements permit such development in the area where the land is located.
Those who want to maximally utilize a plot of land may consider constructing a Swimming Pool on the same plot of land with their building. In this instance, the developable area, which is 324 square metres; and not the entire plot of land, has to be divided into two to accommodate both the house and the Pool. Better still, the architect has to decide which of the two developments he would allocate the bigger proportion and still come-up with a tasteful design to the satisfaction of the property owner.
It is very interesting for first-time property owners to be curious about the number of blocks required to fence a plot of land. Let me quickly add that apart from expenses on blocks, you will also need to buy other building materials like sand, cement, planks, gravel or granite for the fencing work. You also need to pay workers as well as buy water, in case you have not dug a deep well or a borehole. Besides, not all fences have block foundations, some in swampy areas require another type of foundation with iron rods embedded in concrete, at least, to certain height; while some also have reinforced columns instead blocks. The bottom-line is that, what determines the quantity of blocks you need is the soil condition and the level of designs especially, in front of the house.