Everyone wants to build a dream home but no-one wants the hassle that comes in day-to-day construction work. Through rate-contractors promise the relief yet a lot of facts should be carefully analyzed before a contractor is hired.
GharExpert.com explored the factors one should consider before choosing a contractor and the other factors that will help the relationship stays smooth.
Before hiring the contractor:
STEP 1: If you want to get the construction work on through-rate-basis done by the contractor who has own labor and materials, the following steps provide necessary support in achieving the best quality in the construction.
- Obtain required sanctions of all competent authorities before starting the construction work to avoid any obstacle during construction.
- Complete all drawings and details before allotting the work otherwise there may be a dispute later on. Many contractors demand more money later on if every thing is not settled in advance.
- Check the availability of good water for construction work through water supply or by doing bore well.
- Make sure that the bore well water is equal to the drinking water standard or get the water tested in the laboratory.
- Do not use hard or salty water as it is harmful to construction work.
- Check the availability of electricity connection to look after the construction work properly.
- Fix the floor level of the building according to the level of adjoining building, flood level, and road level before making the agreement. The floor level should be 2 or 3 feet high from the road level. In case the height of floor level is not mentioned, the contractor tries to maintain the lower floor level to save the time and material cost and earth-filling hassles.
STEP 2: After completing the preliminary steps for construction work, try to contract a good contractor of the area keeping in mind the following requirements.
Contact at least two or three contractors of the area because contractors working in the same area are very helpful in construction work in many ways as follows.
- He is easily available.
- He knows the problems of the area very well.
- He can easily employ extra labor in emergency because his labor is usually working nearby.
- He can pay more attention to the work as he remains in the same area for all the time.
- It is very easy to know about the behavior, the dealing and the progress of the work from the house owner whose construction is currently going on.
- You can easily evaluate the quality in work or progress in work if the contractor belongs to the same area.
Make sure you sign a contract with the contractor:
After you have collected the rates from two or three contractors, select one of the contractor keeping in mind the cost, time to be taken, quality of work and the skills of the contractor.
1. Try to make the agreement on lump sum basis which can be calculated from the area of drawing and by the rate given by the contractors.
2. Avoid making agreement on square feet basis because it can create dispute at the time of measurement. The contractor may later on add RCC shelves, balcony, projection and some hidden items of the drawings or designs in the calculations while these items may not be considered extra items for payment according to you.
3. Be watchful of the bad habits of the contractors as some may use sub standard material, demand for hidden or silent items, install less steel bars in the beams and slabs and also minimizes the thickness and size of beams or slabs.
4. Beware of the contractors who try to be very clever and misguides the house owner to get more money. They think that the house owner does not know the construction work or the quality of the material.
5. Make detailed agreement of each construction work in writing with the help of a technical person or friend. It’s usually seen that the contractor agrees with you on all the points verbally but he backs out of many points or items later on.
Detailed Contract is always better.
While you are making an agreement with a contractor, some detailed points and specification should be written in the agreement. These points help to finalize the agreement and provide better quality in the work.
1. Fix the payment schedule on the pattern given below
a) 20% on collection of raw materials and tools & plant at site.
b) 30% after laying roof slabs.
c) 10 % after cement plastering.
d) 10 % after laying flooring.
e) 10% after fixing door and window shutters.
f) 10 % after fixing sanitary wares, electric fittings and door fittings etc.
g) Remaining 10% after completion of building including painting, “snocem” fixing grills etc. in all respects.
h) Proper receipt of every payment should be taken; if possible payment should be made through cheque.
2. Quality of the materials must be mentioned in the agreement as follows
a) Bricks: Quality of bricks should be first class. The contractor tries to use second class bricks in foundation and in the internal works by justifying that these bricks hold good bond with cement mortar. But this does not happen in practice, so do not agree with this suggestion.
b) Coarse sand: Coarse sand should be coarser and it should be washed to make it free from silt. The contractor tries to use unwashed and silty sand. If the house owner objects the the contractor may say that he would wash the sand later on but that never happens. If coarse sand with silt is used, it will reduce the strength of the structure by 20% to 30%. In general these points seem minor points but they affect the strenght of the building greatly.
After all your kids and your family would be protected by the strength of this building
c) Bazri: It should be of hard and tough stone having a blue color and mixture of 20 mm or 10 mm. Contractor tries to use cheap bazri which is in pink, red or reddish color having “kacha” stone and also he uses 10 mm “bazri” which gives more volume. Do not agree with the suggestion as the strength of the structure will be reduced up to 10% because of the low quality bazri. .
d) Cement: Write in the agreement that cement should be from reputed factory and steel bars should be from TMT. Write the quality of the wood that should be used and the Ply board type that should be water proof and also write the types of other articles.
The design and drawing should be mentioned in the agreement. Concrete should be mixed into the concrete mixer and it should be vibrated. The ratio of cement concrete should not be less than 1:8:16 in foundation, 1:2:4 in beams and slab, 1:6 in brick work and 1:4 in cement plaster. The foundation beam must be provided at DPC level. Floor level should be 2 to 3 feet high. Rainy water pipes should be fixed in masonry wall. The shuttering of column and beam should be water tight.
4. If designs’ drawing is not available, the foundation of the walls should not be less than 3 feet wide and deep. RCC column should be at 10 feet center to center having at least 6 number 12 mm dia bar with 8 mm dia ring and 6 “ center to center.
5. If designs’ drawing is not available, the downward beam should be laid instead of the upward beam. The M S steel bars should not be less than as follows.
a) 16 MM dia bars 4 Numbers
b) 12 MM dia bars 2 Numbers
c) 8 MM dia bars rings at 6 inches center to center.
d) The size should not be less than 9 inches x 12 Inches.
In RCC slabs the steel bars should be 10 MM dia, 6 inches center to center on both sides. The contractor tries to save M S steel bars by placing the steel bars at more distance than that of the required. In this case do not agree with him. If less steel is used, it will reduce strength of the structure.
6. The type of floor to be laid, glazed tiles in the toilet or kitchen etc. should be mentioned in the agreement. Finishing of the working slab in the kitchen and number of cabinets to be provided in the kitchen should be mentioned
7. The specifications of door and window shutters, grills and cup board shutters with their fittings should also be mentioned in the agreement. Also mention sanitary ware electric fittings, stair railing, and POP and water supply fittings with water tank at the roof in the agreement.
8. The painting or polishing on wood works, walls, roofs and cup boards etc. should be written in the agreement. External finish with designs in plaster and exterior paint finish should be described.
9. Tile tracing at roof height of parapet and “mumty” etc. should be written in the agreement.
10. Door steps, entrance slope, and plinth protection, rainy water “khurra” should be mentioned.
11. Generally the house owner feels that after making the contract, the contractor will be responsible for all the safety measures and any type of mishap. This thinking is wrong. If any mishap occurs at the construction site, even due to the mishandling, both the house owner and contractor are responsible for it.
The contractor denies giving payment/help to the laborers asking that he has no money and in some cases the laborers abscond from the working site. The compensation to the loss is usually made by the house owner in many cases.
If an agreement is made with contractor on the basis of the safety of the persons working at site, he can not deny for any loss and will be responsible for any mishap later on.
Some important things you should know before starting the construction work with the contractor
1. Employ a responsible person for supervision of the work. Make sure you find and hire this person yourself.
2. Check the quality of material and of the work.
3. Do not use unwashed coarse sand and bazri or bricks of inferior quality which reduce the strength of the structure up to 30%.
4. Do not let the contractor to use sub standard material. If it’s allowed once, the contractor will be habitual to use sub standard material again and again.
5. Do not use salty or muddy water in construction which reduces 10% strength of the structure.
6. Pay attention to cure the construction work to gain strength in it. The contractor usually does not cure it to save labor and money.
7. Prepare the mortar according to the measurement as the labor puts cement on some collected sand which is wrong.
8. Mix cement mortar and cement concrete properly. Cement concrete should be vibrated through vibrator.
9. Treat the back of the wooden doors and window frames with anti-termite chemical. Their joints should be fitted with iron sheets.
10. Fill in the hold fast of the door and window frames with cement concrete properly.
11. Apply the priming coat on the door or window frames before fixing them to avoid decay or rusting.