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Property Plus — Chennai

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BRICK & MORTAR

The eight stages of construction

M. MURALI

There is a lot of difference between knowing the path and walking on it. Many have seen houses being built but when it comes to their own house, it's always a different ball game.



While the process of construction is a long drawn one, modern techniques like the pre-fabricated walls and pre-cast lintels could be used to speed up the work.

WITH CONSTRUCTION work being carried out at a hectic pace, it is essential a plan of the work process is in place and construction drawings are made self-explanatory.

There is a lot of difference between knowing the path and walking on it. Many have seen houses being built but when it comes to their own house, it's always a new ball game for them. Let us see then what process and procedures one has to go through. For an easy understanding, the whole process has been divided into eight stages of construction.

To start with, there should be detailed discussions with the architect on the requirements and site planning. Site planning and analysis involve study of soil conditions, existing structures and preparation of detailed site drawings.

In the second stage, detailed scheme drawings are prepared. A liaison person is introduced into the scene. He prepares the approval drawings and gets the plans approved. This can be a simultaneous activity along with the scheme drawing preparations.

The third stage is the most important one and the final architectural presentation drawing is prepared. Any major change or deviation will not be possible after this stage. The drawings are detailed out with all floor plans, elevations and sections. These drawings will be sent to the structural engineer for structural design. The site could be cleared simultaneously.

Once the structural drawings are prepared and the site is cleared, it is time for real construction and the fourth stage begins.

The structural grid is marked on site, followed by excavation and laying of foundation concrete.

A proper site inspection would be ideal, even a visit by the structural engineer is preferable.

Once the foundation is complete, structural members like the column and lintel beams for continuous lintels are built.

Modern construction techniques like the pre-fabricated walls and pre-cast lintels could be used to speed up the work. This will also reduce the cost of construction remarkably in the case of big constructions. This framework would provide the base for casting the ground floor roof slab. Good curing of all the concrete members is a must. In the fifth stage, casting of the roof slab is done. It gives a good roof cover for storing of all construction materials, and proper curing is essential. Doing some tests for the quality of the concrete will definitely help.

To ensure that the work is not held up because of heavy rains, construction should start three months before the rainy season (it would take three months for the completion of foundation and the ground floor roof slab).

Next, the ground floor walls, lintel beams, window openings, sunshades, sill plate details are done. Only when each of the features are designed, will a well-designed building emerge.

Electrical conduits have to be planned and laid in place before the roof slab and the lintel beams are cast. In the sixth stage, the first floor is completed.

The seventh stage will see the elevation features such as the parapets and the fins, and brackets details. All inner wall plastering and fixing of the doors and window frames are taken up.

For the final and finishing stage, the most important works would be the plumbing and electrical wiring. Additional elevation features like the plaster bands and grooves, entrance step details, exterior and interior final colours, could be sorted out. All wood works like the door and window shutters, hand rails could be fixed in place.

Knowing the proper timing of each stage of work would not only help you plan your finances but also reduce the anxiety about the completion of the work.

Ideally, a 3,000-sqft-house would take about nine months to a year's time for construction.

(The author is Chief Architect, Murali Architects, Chennai.)

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