Checking Construction Quality of Residential and Commercial Space

  • @kw
  • 16 Apr 2021

Evaluating the construction quality of a housing or commercial project is very essential before investing one’s money for a life time possession. There is no point in repenting about the quality of construction after taking the possession. There is some critical area which needs to be checked thoroughly with large number of properties available in the market. Most of the home buyers are not knowledgeable to access construction quality. Most buyers and their family members get attracted by the outer appearance of the project. It is something like selecting a book by its cover. There are many projects that look good and available at affordable price but you should not make a blind purchase without investigating some important quality criteria. Most of the home buyers put all their hard earned money, take bank loan to buy a house as a lifetime investment. A poorly constructed house can also cause huge risk to your life. Many times we get news about a house collapse or ceiling plaster dropping causing untimely death of innocent people. These are some serious problems that have come to light. There are many check points to evaluate the quality of construction. If you are buying a house which is under construction, you should visit the site periodically to see the work in progress. There are certain tips that you may follow to get an idea about the quality of construction.

We recommend you to follow this check-list:

1. Load bearing Capacity of the soil (ask for a certified copy).

2. Structural design of the high rise building.

3. Wall thickness ( check if they are as per prescribed standards)

4. Plastering quality ( Ratio of cement & sand )

5. Quality of casting of super structure i.e., columns, roofs etc.

6. At the finishing stage, check quality of fittings & fixtures.

Load bearing Capacity of the soil: Any construction requires getting a soil report from an authorized soil testing agency before starting construction work. The soil report shown how much static and dynamic load the soil can bear and only on the basis of the report the foundation method is recommended and the entire structural framework is designed accordingly. Any faulty foundation can create havoc at a later stage and causing uneven load distribution resulting into tilting of the building framework. In some cases when it is found that the load bearing capacity is low, a complete loose soil in the foundation level is extracted and filled with silver soil to enhance the soil capacity. In some cases when adjacent land is water body, then retention wall is recommended so that the soil layer does not seep out under the foundation.

Structural design: All modern constructions are column based structure and the stability of the building depends on the firmness of the structural framework. When we speak about column structure, we include steel, concrete mixture and process to get compactness of concrete mix in required proportion, bonding of mixture with steel surface, curing with water. The structural design should be in such a way that it ensures maximum safety and rigidity to the building. The structural design is the job of a civil engineer. These days the structural designs are done through available software by experts in the field. Any high rise building requires to be approved by a competent authority to ensure complete security of the building. Assess whether the building is constructed to withstand earthquakes of a certain magnitude and other common environmental disasters. You can seek assistance from a qualified architect or a civil engineer to evaluate the quality of building structure.

Wall thickness: Building rules specifies specification of wall thickness required .This can be verified from the legal document with floor plan. In the floor plan wall thickness for outer wall, inner room separation wall, thickness of common wall between two apartments are specified. If the walls are not thick and rigid, then this will create a hole or crack. If wall thickness is not maintained, then it can cause recurring problems after taking possession. As per building rules, the outer wall thickness should be 10 inches, inner separation wall without plaster should be at least 3inches .It is a practice by a good builder to use wire mesh while plastering the inner wall allowing bricks to hold strongly together.  

Plastering quality: There is a recommended proportion of cement and sand mixture which many builders / contractors compromise to save money on cement. This is one aspect a homebuyer tends to overlook. Due to poor quality of plaster cracks are developed in the corner or lower portion of a wall. It is difficult to identify these cracks in a new construction as they are hidden behind the layer of paint. These cracks due to poor quality of plastering may even cause water leakages. It is important to check the quality of plaster as many builders deceive buyers. It is always advisable to purchase from a reliable builder who has long standing reputation.

Quality of casting: Strength of concrete mix used in construction gives stability to the entire structural framework. The static load on each floor and the extraneous vibrations caused due to earthquake can be protected with good quality casting. You can check the quality of concrete used for construction by driving a nail into the wall. If the nail gets inserted easily without any effort, then it means that the concrete quality is not up to the mark. 

Quality of fittings & fixtures: You must check at the finishing stage the quality of wires used, fittings in bathrooms and kitchen are important as fittings which are low quality of iron not made of stainless steel will become rusted within a short period. So inspecting each fitting and fixture is very important.

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