Abdullahi, Aminu Lawan (2016) Ethnomimicry: the Development of a Conceptual Model of the Nigerian Practice of the End-of-life Management of Buildings. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The threat of the natural resources exhaustion is pronounced by the unsustainable linear depletion by extraction, production, consumption, and disposal as a waste at the end of service. Realisation of the fact that there is indeed a limit to the carrying capacity of the earth makes it imperative for humanity to retrace its path from the unsustainable practices that destroy the natural environment and threaten the world’s stock of natural resources to the more sustainable practices. The built environment is the largest resource consuming human activity and is at the centre of the unsustainable resources depletion trend; which is further demonstrated by the statistics of the enormous amount of construction and demolition wastes produced annually in some economically developed countries of Europe and America. Nonetheless, amongst the preindustrial societies of Nigeria, there is virtually zero demolition wastes. This study is a descriptive investigation that documents the phenomenon of the end-of-life management of buildings in Nigeria and develops a conceptual model that represents the real-life situation of the practices among these native societies.

Furthermore, the paradigm of improving the performance of the construction industry through learning from other sectors, as in the development of the concept of lean construction, was used to explore the feasibility of adopting the best practice models in the end-of-life management of materials from other sectors to improve the Nigerian practices of the end-of-life management of buildings. The best models from the automobile, aviation, ship, cell phone, nuclear industry, and the natural ecological systems were studied and their possible implications on the Nigerian construction industry examined.

A semi-structured interview based on priori themes developed from the best practice models in the different sectors were used for the collection of data; and template analysis technique was used in the analysis of the data that were interpreted to develop the conceptual model. The conceptual model was validated through two workshops. The participants were selected on purpose based on experience in demolition projects and a predetermined stakeholder groupings quota system; a snow ball technique was used to recruit additional participants.

Inconsistent with the assumption that the construction industry is lagging and should learn from other industries, the findings of this research revealed that the Nigerian construction industry is on par with other sectors by producing virtually zero building demolition wastes. The Nigerian practices of the end-of-life management of buildings were discovered to be largely compliant with the sustainability principles, with few concepts that may be transferred from other sectors.

This thesis proposes that rather than transferring lessons from other sectors, the Nigerian construction industry can be a source of inspiration for developing a sustainable system for the end-of-life management of buildings using the paradigm of ethnomimicry. Ethnomimicry is defined as, the systematic study of the models of the native societies for inspiration to develop sustainable solutions.

FINAL THESIS - ABDULLAHI.pdf - Accepted Version
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