Building a home is going to be one of the biggest decisions of your life given the time, energy and investment involved in it. For such an investment, every bit of research counts, every person you talk to matters and each opinion you take can strengthen your faith in your decisions. But before you even start planning for your home, there are 7 critical questions to ask yourself to ensure that your investment is put to good use.
Most people who got their homes built in the recent past have suffered from the hands of builders /contractors /architects in some form or way. If you know of any such people, how will you do things differently to save yourself from their fate?
If you haven’t already, we suggest you talk to those people who have suffered at the hands of builders/contractors. Try to know about their experiences. Most sum theirs up as – bad.
We know this to be the general sentiment in the market regarding turnkey construction on plot lands. This happens due to last minute budget escalations, late delivery of projects, poor quality of work and so on. Despite your best intentions to learn from others’ mistakes, you may still end up with a bad experience.
Your task is to try and figure out how to save yourself from such a fate.
You’ll find numerous detailed points in this Home Building Initiation Article to guide you towards better ways in which you can build your home. But there is one point we simply can’t emphasize enough – choose a builder who can take full responsibility of the work and at the same time provide you a guarantee towards total cost of the project, date of delivery and quality of work. How you can safeguard these rights will be discussed further below.
What factors are you looking at while comparing offers from multiple builders or contractors?
Since most people have very little or no construction experience, it’s very easy to make wrong decisions while comparing quotes from different builders. Many people think that all builders are more or less the same and therefore choose the one who quotes the least price. They think that later they can work closely with them and ensure good quality work. But this is far from what actually happens. We know this to be the general sentiment in the market regarding turnkey construction on plot lands. This happens due to last minute budget escalations, late delivery of projects, poor quality of work and so on. Despite your best intentions to learn from others’ mistakes, you may still end up with a bad experience.
To start with, we would like to give you a general rule of thumb.
This ensures that builders have tight control over all the processes and you get a better overall service. It’s very important to ensure that the builder has all of the teams in-house and doesn’t get the work done through other associate companies.
Some important factors to consider while
2. Comfort level with builder :
You should share a good rapport with your builder. A standard home can take around 12-18 months to build. During this time, you will have multiple meetings with the builder. If the builder is not accessible or if you simply feel that you don’t seem to click with them then it makes no sense to shortlist them. Choose a builder who is easily accessible and with whom you are comfortable in discussing your doubts.
3. Clear list of specifications :
Ask for a clear list of specifications from all the builders. Don’t just go by their word. A specification list will also make it clear why a builder is charging more or less than others. Many builders might quote a low price initially due to lower specifications and then ask you to pay more at later stages for better quality material. Do some market research on the existing rate of construction in the market to tackle such people.
Is ‘cost’ the prime factor on which you are thinking of shortlisting the builders?
If yes, then do understand that even if a builder has promised you a low price and delivery on a set of specifications, there are thousands of other areas on which he can cut costs, just to meet your preferred price. These cuts might just become the cause for bad quality of construction. Therefore, judge builders on their work ethics, quality of their team and the policies and procedures followed. A single person running a company can diverge from his promises at any moment but a company run by established rules cannot bend them according to their will.
Many builders/contractors will try to convince you that they build good quality homes by showing you the pictures of their recently completed projects. Some better builders might take you to the site of finished projects. But you should not settle with just this, we want you to go one step further, after all building a home will be one of your life’s biggest investments. Insist upon your prospective builders to let you talk to at least 2 of their previous clients. Do not choose a builder/contractor who refuses to do this. Actual user testimonial would give you more assurance about your choice.
Building a home and delivering a great overall experience are two very different things. Here are some questions you should ask the previous clients of your prospective builders:
1. Where there any cost overruns?
2. Were there any quality issues?
3. Was the project delivered on time?
4. How was the overall behaviour of the builder? Did it
change from the first meeting to the last?
5. Were the specifications delivered as promised?
The answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of the builder/contractor.
Are you planning to have a contract with your contractor, builder or architect?
Sometimes, a builder recommended by someone you know, would try to convince you that contracts are an unnecessary hassle. Instead, he will only offer verbal assurances of good quality workmanship. You should never agree to something like this under any circumstances. How else will you ensure that the brands and specifications you agreed upon are actually being used and followed in the building of your home? You need a safeguard and that safeguard is a contract.
Always ensure that these four things are clearly mentioned in the contract:
1. The final date of delivery of the home and what happens if it’s not delivered on time.
2. Clear list of specifications according to which the home will be built.
3. Finalised project price with the promise of no cost overruns.contract.
4.Warranty from builders.
Talk to your builder/contractor today, and insist on mentioning these four things specifically. Try and avoid the builders who don’t believe in signing a contract.
Do you want a builder who looks after all the purchasing or do you want to handle the purchasing yourself?
Home construction requires hundreds of materials to be purchased. Finding the right vendors, ensuring proper quality, bargaining for the best prices and ensuring timely delivery of all materials will leave you with little time and energy for other activities in your life. Most people think that by handling a part of the purchasing, they can cut down on costs. But they overlook the fact that professional builders have a wide network of vendors which help them in avoiding extra purchasing costs while getting them discounts which directly benefit the clients.
Basically, a builder in charge of purchasing will make life easier for you. The only thing is for you to find a trustworthy builder who actually uses the materials which have been promised and passes on cost benefits to you. Talk to your builder today to discuss this point.
Do you want to use factory made products or products made on site?
Your answer will define a lot of aspects about your home such as its structural strength, quality of finishing, occurrence of issues such as seepage and cracks, maintenance required by your home after delivery and much more.
The best example to show the difference between factory made and made on-site products is the use of Ready-Mix Concrete (RMC) versus concrete mixed on-site during construction. Branded RMC is produced in factories using computerized machining and goes through predefined tests, thereby ensuring consistency in quality. On the other hand, just like no two people can have the same fingerprint, no two batches of concrete mixed on site can have the same consistency. Also, site-mixed concrete takes 50% more time to be mixed and used as compared to RMC.
Usually, you will find local builders/contractors bad mouthing factory made products because they lose the freedom to lower the quality of the materials to increase their margins.
Concrete being pumped from RMC truck to slab (left). RMC pipe running on slab (centre). Concrete being poured on slab (right). The whole process doesn’t provide any chance for builders/contractors to downgrade the quality to improve their margins in any form.
Talk to your builder/contractor today to know about other standard products which can be used over site made products like AAC blocks instead of red bricks, ready-mix plaster instead of mixing sand and cement on site and others. Actual Project Picture
We hope that after reading this Home Building Initiation Article, you have more clarity on how to find a good builder/contractor for yourself. The whole process can be either fruitful or bad for your family depending on some decisions you take initially, so it’s best to take the right consultation in the beginning itself. Talk to professionals in the field before making a commitment. And keep in mind, saving some money during the construction can be detrimental for your home in the long run. So, it’s best to choose a good builder rather than simply saving on cost.