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Posted at: Nov 2, 2019, 9:23 AM; last updated: Nov 2, 2019, 9:23 AM (IST)GROUND REALTY

Solid foundation for your home

There are some basic principles that each building contractor or apartment builder must follow to earn a favourable reputation as well as make profits

Jagvir Goyal

The collapse of a three-storey under-construction building at Peer Muchalla, near Zirakpur, recently resulted in causing injuries to the workers who were engaged there. The contractor of the building suffered heavy losses due to the collapse of the building, and his reputation got lost forever. Whosoever the contractor is, just imagine how difficult it will be for him to sell a building or apartment built by him or to get a contract from some party. There are some basic principles that each building contractor or apartment builder must follow if he has to earn good profits and reputation.

Since safety comes first

The prime principle that an apartment builder must practice is to strictly adhere to safety standards. One must bear in mind that he may have built a reputation over many years but just one failure may ruin it completely. In the long run, safety saves — both profits wise as well as reputation. 

  • Stick to the right mix of concrete. 
  • Never try to reduce cement content than designed quantity as modern mix designs already optimise cement content. Never increase water cement ratio.
  • Use quality sand and stone aggregate. 
  • Provide designed steel reinforcement. 
  • Ensure that the shuttering provided for RCC items is well supported, keep the shuttering in position till concrete gains its strength and cure concrete well.
  • Never leave unsupported brick walls alone. Make scaffolding arrangements very stable and strong. 
  • Provide helmets to workers and safety belts to those working at heights. 
  • Keep the shuttering below first floor slab intact if you are erecting second floor scaffolding and shuttering on first floor slab. 
  • Never leave bare electrical wires around, provide proper earthing arrangements.
  • Keep first-aid box at site and a vehicle stationed at site for use in emergency.
  • Look for or ask for more precautions as per nature of work being handled.

Secure required permissions

In order to avoid any dispute or stoppage after the taking of construction of a project, a builder should seek and secure required permissions from all government departments concerned. In other words, there should be acceptability or compliance of the laws of the land. The title of the land being used for the project should be clear and undisputedly in favour of the builder.

Besides, RERA compliance should be secured, environmental clearance should be received, lawful use of electricity and water supply should be ensured, local building byelaws should be known and all planning should be done without violating the byelaws for easy sanction of plans. 

Other aspects such as minimum distance from highway, maximum building height norms, disposal scheme for debris and waste items, effluent treatment or disposal, fair wages law for labour employed should be known and followed.

The project should, therefore, be conforming to the rule of the land to avoid any hindrance during its execution.

Reliability is the key

Those who book apartments with the builder by investing their hard-earned money in his project by reposing faith in him always feel cheated on three accounts: 

  • When the apartment is not delivered in time or the project is abandoned midway. 
  • When the quality of final product and services is not the same as promised.
  • When the promised area of the apartment is compromised by reducing room sizes or by sacrificing any other provision. 
A builder should know that the plan of the apartment shown by him in the brochures or in sample flat gets ingrained in the minds of allottees and they often think of how they’ll make use of the apartment space. 

The term ‘Super Area’ is deceptive for a layman. A builder should always talk of the carpet area of the apartment and should deliver the same. Specifications of items like wood work, flooring, painting, modular kitchen, bathroom fittings, etc. should never be downgraded.

Minimise wastage

It is in the interest of the builder as well as future generations that economy is adopted during the execution of the project without compromising on quality and specifications. Many ways and means are available to achieve economy such as proper planning of resources, minimising wastage of material, making bulk purchases of non-perishable items and their proper storage, use of efficient machinery for better progress, planning activities for the monsoon season to avoid wastage of those two to three months and so on. In the end, none will be a happier person than the builder himself.

Good quality, good profits

Research has proved that with quality brings profits. So drive the thought out of your mind that by using substandard material or employing not-so-skilled workers and masons, who demand lesser wages, you can have more profits. Reputation travels faster than you. There are examples where people buy apartments with their eyes shut when they hear the name of a particular builder with the reputation of providing quality work. Government departments rely not only on the certificates issued to a contractor for the previous jobs handled by him but actually check his reputation by making calls to the departments or by visiting the works executed. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure use of controlled concrete only and of right mix design.
  • Use fresh cement always produced by a reputed manufacturer, use tested and IS marked steel.
  • Use efflorescence-free, high strength bricks.
  • Check IS mark on most of the products used, get materials tested where felt necessary.
  • Adopt safe structural design evolved by a qualified engineer.
  • Never compromise on depth and width of foundations.
  • Believe in engineering practices instead of thumb rules.
  • Get the wood seasoned and treated.
  • Make all pipe-joints well sealed and secured.
A simple method is to get prepared checklists for major items of work from an experienced engineer, who will cover all major points in the checklist which should be followed during execution of work.

Monitor the completion schedule

A builder must bear in mind that once a project has been taken in hand, its continuity must be maintained without failure till its completion. It is a time-tested belief that a project abandoned in between due to any reason — maybe due to shortage of funds, dispute with a landowner, non-availability of material or labour, an accident at the site, etc — never achieves the same speed and rhythm with which it was started. The excitement with which the builder starts the project soon evaporates. Whenever some allottee visits the site, the desolate look of the abandoned structure nibbles at his heart and he feels cheated. Above all, it takes a lot of time and effort to bring the project back on track. A builder should always draw the completion schedule for his project with time allotted to each activity and further by checking the inter-dependence of various activities. It should be followed by resource planning and requirement of all resources should be worked out month wise. The completion schedule and resource planning should be monitored and updated every month as per actual progress achieved during the month.

  — The writer is former HoD and engineer-in-chief, Civil Engineering Department in a Punjab PSU


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