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CONSTRUCTION

Introduction: As the ultimate owner of the property you are building, you have to ensure that you are getting a durable building; the average lifespan of a building being around 100 years.

The constructed house must have the following characteristics-

You are advised to engage experienced professionals such as engineers, contractors and the field level technicians for executing your project.

What is the Remedy? : Engaging an independent consultant is the ideal system to ensure quality construction but it means additional costs and one may hesitate to engage a consultant. In that case, what is the best that can be done?

Following are some tips-

Concept of Durability:

With respect to concrete, quality assurance means inspection starting with proper selection, proportioning, mixing, handling, placing and curing of materials. Concrete structures may face problems such as structural failures, cracking, rusting of bars, sulfate / chloride attack, surface cracks, segregation, undulations, surface problems like lime leaching etc.

These problems usually manifest later on, hence for civil structures, quality assurance is more vital than the quality control. Prevent these problems by carefully choosing the materials, men and methods and ensuring output quality as per original plan.

Following are some of the means of assuring quality and preventing problems:

Four Legs Concept:

Any construction activity can be compared to a table. Just as a table has four legs, a construction project has four important components.

Following are the key components of construction:

Structural Design: Right structural design means that the members of the structure such as concrete columns, slabs, foundation, walls etc are designed to withstand the forces that will come on them. The structural engineer analyzes forces affecting structural members in trusses, frames, beams, and columns and calculates the resulting stresses and designs their sizes accordingly.

Mix Design:

Mix design refers to a design of concrete mix that involves the specification of the proportion of materials like cement, aggregates, sand, water and admixtures that will give a specific grade and workability.

In conventional site mix concrete, the mixing is done manually and on the volumetric basis. It is advisable to use ready mix concrete which is made in a batching under controlled conditions and undergoes tight quality control

Materials:

The materials used for construction forms the third leg of construction. As far as possible, use only standardized material (materials having an ISI Code) and reputed brands.

Cement:

Sand:

Proper selection of sand is critical in the durability and performance of your concrete mixture. It should be river sand, clear, angular and hard. It must be free from clay, mica and soft, flaky material. It should be a mix of fine, medium and coarse sand, free from contaminants like sea salt. Moisture (water) content must be consistent (which should not exceed 7%).

Aggregates (Stone Chips):

Reinforcing steel:

Reinforcing steel contributes to the tensile strength of concrete. It is wise to buy good brands like SAIL (names are marked on the steel).

Water:

Use only potable water in quality concrete production.

Bricks:

Workmanship:

The Workmanship is the fourth pillar of construction. The field level technicians like mason, plumbers, bar benders etc are very important components of good construction.

Some examples of poor workmanship are:

Insist on strict supervision by the contractor at the contracting stage itself.