Building a house is a once-in-a-lifetime undertaking for most people. It is generally a culmination of years of saving and if when it finally comes to the construction stage, it requires a collaborative effort from the owner, the builder/developer and contractors and experts from various specialties, to complete the project successfully. Planning is crucial and if not done right, the build can turn from a productive collaboration into a nightmare experience with serious delays causing projects to go over budget. These checklists will give you all the information you need to get started and to make the construction phase an easier and simpler process.
Roles & Responsibilities Checklist
Let us start with a list of stakeholders involved in house construction and their different roles and responsibilities :
- This is primarily your vision of your dream space. The basics of layout and design must come from you – how many rooms do you need, how big, do you want a garden, a terrace, do you want a multi-storey layout…every decision will be based on your family requirements and inputs.
- Meeting financial responsibilities throughout construction as per your agreement with the developer or contractor is also your responsibility. Delays are likely to send your project spiralling out of budget and extending completion dates.
- Communicating your needs simply and clearly is also key. It’s important that your builder understands your preferences, so you can agree about decisions in advance and keep the project within budget.
- Ask for regular construction updates from your developer/contractor to avoid unforeseen delays.
- Visit your site as often as possible. This not only helps keep you informed of progress but also keeps the contractors and labour force on their toes!
- In India, and especially in Bangalore which has a lot of gated developments – construction can be done either by a developer or a contractor.
- They are the main people in charge of the overall project. A contractor will hire sub-contractors from different specialities, to work on the project, according to the stage of construction.
- A developer on the other hand usually has an in-house team of experts in place – architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians and carpenters, liaison personnel etc. – to take manage the project from start to finish.
- Hiring a contractor might be cheaper but it usually involves a big commitment of time & supervision from the home owner.
- A developer although more expensive can also function as a one-stop-shop for all your construction needs and expertise. With the volume of business they do, homeowners can expect to get good deals on materials if they are smart negotiators!
- Your budget is crucial and it can make or break your project.
- Plan your budget in advance and do your best to stick to it. Be realistic!
- Make sure the budget includes construction costs, labour costs, and material costs. Make provisions for interior work and ideally, a buffer amount for the inevitable delays and adjustments that are a part of any project.
- Costing depends on the quality of the products you choose for your home. Flooring, bath fittings, electrical fixtures, modular furniture and kitchen – all of these come in a range of prices depending on quality and brand.
- Be mindful of your budget while making selections as it is easy to get carried away by the myriad choices available in the market.
- Work out where you want to splurge and where you can save money without compromising on quality and your vision. Remember the line between elegant comfort and excess is a fine one!
- Be sure to finalise all the costs related to construction in advance, to avoid disputes with the developer/contractor during the course of construction. Discussion on the safety and security of labour is also important, to avoid legal issues.
Home Building Checklist
- Before you green light construction, it is advisable to research the developer or contractors you plan to work with. This can reduce the risk of unpleasant experiences once the project begins.
- Speak to previous customers and visit past projects for yourself to gather information vis-à-vis design, quality of work, adherence to schedules, materials used etc.
- Research into background, past projects etc. can also be done online nowadays!
- As homeowner you must ensure that the developer/contractor in charge of your construction has all the approvals needed to start the project. These include the sanctioned plan, no-objection certificates and/or consent letters from various departments (electricity, water, sewage), structural report and insurance.
3. Site Supervision
- Establish a rapport with your site supervisor who monitors daily progress and is responsible for all the construction-related activities on site. He can give you a heads up on any construction related issues that might crop up during the build.
- Always have a timeline in place before construction starts. You must decide and plan the time your project will take from start to finish. Once decided, construction can proceed. Remember – delays cost money!
- Discuss the schedule of the construction with the contractor and outline the tasks to be undertaken, including the selection of kitchen fixtures, tiles, bath fittings, interiors and payment schedules for the contractor.
- Any changes in the scope of construction and costs should be documented in writing, to avoid unpleasantness in financial matters later.
- All changes in scope of work and costs should be documented in writing.
- Insist on regular construction updates from the contractors and make physical visits to the site to keep updated on progress.
5. Project Completion
- As homeowners, if you follow the construction schedule, make prompt payments and timely decisions regarding interiors, your project should be completed on time and within budget.
- Once complete, make sure you receive all construction-related documents, correspondence, inspection reports, guidelines, manuals, warranties etc. from your contractors before making the final payments.