Site  |  Contractor   |  Surrounding  |  Foundation  |  Entrance  |  Material  |  Masonry work  |  Water proof 
Conventional   |  Modern   |  Repair  |  Flaking   |  Crack  |  Mixing ratio

   
 

Building a home may be the most important dream and valuable achievement in your life time. Whether it is small home or big project, the foremost step is right planning. Though your Engineer shall develop and ensure construction management, there are many steps before selecting an Engineer and hence it is prudent and to avoid dependency on him, to be aware of best possible knowledge of important factors of construction process.

   
 

Site

 

The condition of ground to be checked for its bearing strength for foundation. If the ground is of clay, the foundation to be made as strong and reinforced with steel rods and if ground is of rock, then  itself shall form a strong base resulting in reduction of material, work for foundation and its cost.

   
 

Cost factor

 

If you want to have esteem value on your building and ready to spend on maintenance

  • You can aim for intricate decorations and shapes
  • Do Acrylic emulsion paint finishing for walls which has very good properties like colour retention, anti fungal, UV resistance and hence durable
  • Lay large sized fully Vitrified tiles for flooring which shall add value and give psychological proud and satisfaction and principally no need for further maintenance like polishing. These are better than marbles in aesthetic and maintenance. There are ceramic tiles with a vitrified layer on top also available in the market which are cheaper and very much glossy and brighter than fully vitrified tiles. These are most suited for houses and not for commercial places as floating population shall scratch and finally remove the top layer.
  • Use good wood, no need for Teak, do two coats of primer, putty and 2 or 3 coats of enamel finish coats. If you want melamine finish, it can be done for interior items not exposed to sun and water.
  • Engage proper Engineer who is having wide knowledge, experience and expertise over construction with adequate well trained man power.

If you want to have optimum quality construction at lower cost

  • Go for economical structures and designs
  • Aim for symmetrical box shaped structures which not only reduces cost but increases inherent strength. Complicated shapes and levels shall introduce stress and strain in the structure of the building.
  • Provide best possibility for natural light and ventilation
  • Plan for efficient utilization items like water pipelines, power cables, conduits
   
 

Selection of a contractor

 

The contractor must be of generous well experienced firm, person or Engineer. He should have employed and engaged well expertise Design Engineer specialized in structural design to suit the need and experienced Site Engineer/ Supervisor.
The contractor should have adequate strength of work force such as masons, helpers, etc.

If you decided to engage a TURN KEY CONTRACTOR i.e., right from the beginning of design of building, site preparation, material supply, construction and activities upto handing over, you should ensure that the contractor shall have sufficient financial capacity to ensure the proper and smooth flow and completion of construction/ project.

At any cost, do not engage an ordinary person who does not have specific specialization and expertised skill in the construction engineering and management and it is also hereby pleaded not to engage any person who is associated with construction or masonry industry but not having or employing any supervisory personnel with qualification of not lower than Diploma in Civil Engg or Mechanical Engg with structural as one of subjects, as your contractor is to build your loveable home or building which is most valuable investment and achievement in your life time.
Vishal Consultancy helps you in selecting the right contractor, if contacted at
vishal_associates99@yahoo.co.in or  construction@vishalassociates.net

   
   
 

Surrounding

 

The surrounding and environment shall play a vital role on the building and its dwellers.

  • If any water bodies like pond, lake, river neighbours the site, it warrants the strong foundation and higher plinth level since the land may be of loose soil and the site may be prone to frequent flooding
  • If the land consists of reclaimed soil or dumped garbage, there is a possibility of land settlement or slip. it is better to avoid the site otherwise a strong reinforcement in foundation with RCC bands at sill or plinth, lintel and roof levels is recommended
  • If the land, water, air or environment of the site are polluted due to the industrial locations nearby, it is strongly advised to avoid the construction at the site.
   
 

Foundation

 

After analyzing the strength of the soil, type of foundation to be decided.  Ask your Engineer to do the test and finalise the type and scheme of foundation. He shall enquire about foundation, type and kind of soil of neighbourhood and decide about it for your house.

   
 

Entrance

 

The entrance is an important place/ thing which not only attracts visitors and outsiders and also gives psychological fulfillment/ satisfaction, proud feeling to the owner. Hence care must be given to shape, size, dimension and aesthetic of the entrance and elevation of a home/ building to make it a visually appealable one.

At the same time, one shall not forget that the entrance or openings shall not pose problem on the comfortness of dwellers by letting in harsh sun light and heavy rain water.

It is also very important to say that the entrance and other openings shall be of theft proof design and model.

   
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Material selection

 

It is an important and crucial part of a construction. Though it is delegated to the contractor, it is prudent to be aware of quality of material.

   
 

Sand

 

It is a fine aggregate of size less than 3mm; river bed is natural and cheapest source for sand. The raw sand, before mix, shall not contain dust, leaves, clay, silt or other impurities which shall reduce the bonding strength. If you take a fist of sand and hold it for a while, the sand should not adhere to your palm.

Fine dust from blue metal also considered and used as alternate fine aggregate at some location of building.

   
 

Blue metal

 

Crushed gravels are used for concrete work, plain or reinforced. ½, ¾, 1 & 1 ½” sizes are available in market. For RCC, ¾” is required and for beams and pillars, 1” is required.

   
 

Cement

 

Generally, all trade marks of cement are good and nothing is preferable over another because all firms are using almost same technology for manufacturing cement and hence the performance of cement in construction as plaster, masonry, etc depend on the Engineer.
For load bearing members use 53 grade and for others you can use 43 grade cement.

   
 

Brick

 

It is very important, compressive load bearing, member of a building. It shall have sound quality, definite shape, hard, tough, well burnt and not over burnt. It shall not have blow holes and must be made of good clay such that it must produce a ringing sound when two bricks are struck together and must not break when dropped from a height of about 3 feet.

   
 

Water

 

The water of quality equivalent to what is being supplied by municipal bodies as drinking water is suitable for construction but it should not be highly chlorinated. Rain water is generally considered as best suitable and fit for construction.

Salty water shall not be used and the water should not contain oil, chemicals, alkaline or other impurities.

If ground water is to be used, the quality and suitability to be tested in labs and certified by municipal authorities.
   
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Masonry work
  Brick work
 

The bricks shall be soaked in water before use to enable/ ensure proper bonding of cement mixture. 4 ½” thick wall to be reinforced by suitable sized steel bits. If compound wall is to be built, a gap of about ½” to be left on the wall on every 50' length.

   
 

Plinth

 

In Tamil nadu, it is preferred to have a plinth level of 3 ½' to 4' above ground level. It is advised to add damp proof agent in concrete at plinth level to avoid damping of structure.

   
 

RCC Belt

  It is advised to provide RCC belt at plinth level, lintel level of building and for severe load bearing condition, one more belt is required at roof level.
   
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Water proof

 

Dampness or moisture shall damage the construction, structure, walls, wood work or steel work. Hence it is very essential to do the water proof method on the building. There are many types of conventional and modern trends of water proofing available. Both the types are effective and they differ in durableness and so cost.

The choice of method depends primarily on cost, portion of building and durability requirement.

   
 

Conventional methods

 

The first method uses bitumen film over the RCC followed by plain concrete lime mortar bed of ¾" thick. The mortar consists of 2 parts of lime, ½ part of jaggery, 7 parts of brick ballast (broken bricks), 2 parts of ground brick (powder) and ¼ part of juice of kadukai. The concrete has to be allowed to cure for 3 to 7 days

   
 

Improvements in conventional method

 

As the brick ballast (broken bricks) contain blow holes, the efficacy of water proofing may reduce. To improve the water proofingness, it is advised to lay moulded brick tiles (Mangalore or Kerala water proof flat tiles) using the cement solution over the lime mrtar concrete and grout the joints with cement moisture mixture of 1:3.

As the flat tiles are manufactured by moulding [compressing to shape] and vitrifying [fusing in a thermal controlled atmosphere, ovens] it has very good bonding and water proof characteristics.

As the lime and brick are good heat resistant materials, the water proofing concrete also acts as thermal insulator and prevents the transfer of heat from the roof in to the room.

   
 

Modern method

 

This provides a damp proof course in cement concrete by adding water proofing compound in the ratio of 1:2:4 at basement, plinth and roof level of building. Some method uses fibre mesh to form a water proof layer.

Now-a-days, a new method of giving a epoxy coat over roof and water seepage prone area is used to prevent dampness for long period.

   
 
  • Now, high cost constructions, complexes, malls, etc are having basement buildings. The water proofing for this area has to be done on both sides of the walls (Interior and exterior) and WP additives on the masonry cement mixture itself otherwise the seepage shall be as heavy as leakage.
  • Generally it advised to avoid projections of walls like borders, decorators, etc which shall form a place for deposition of dust and rain water and lead to formation of algae, fungus, water penetration, dampness, etc
  • Use of right quality and particularly proper ratio of mixture is strongly recommended. Some body may think a rich ratio (High cement and low sand) shall give more strength, but high cement lead to formation of crack and lean ratio results in poor load bearing. Hence optimum and right ratio has to be used.
  • The concrete shall be tightly packed by ramming or other means otherwise air vent shall be formed resulting in penetrating of water into concrete.
  • Damp proof agent to be introduced at the plinth level to prevent the capillary rise of water from the ground and damping of walls.
  • Care must be taken while casting concrete over brick work as the joints may lead to crack and the plaster over the joint has to be made as damp proof  and to be reinforced with hen mesh.
  • Joints of concrete also has to be made perfect and water proof otherwise minute cracks some time even a open gap shall develop resulting in water seepage and dampness.
   
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Repair

 

Flaking of plaster

 

Cement mortar does not have compatibility with cured/ dried cement concrete or plaster. To repair the flakes or opened plaster, clean the surface, give a coat of epoxy or polymer paint and then lay the cement plaster. The coat is called pre-coat which enables the adhering of further plaster.

   
 

Flaking in concrete

 

Some times concrete on roof, beams, pillars may be damaged or opened exposing the reinforcement resulting in corrosion of steels and weakening of reinforcement. To repair this, after cleaning the exposed portion including the steel parts do the same procedure advocated in the repairing of flaking of plaster.

   
 

Cracks in joints

 

To repair this type of problems, the joints e to be slightly opened, reinforcement has to be introduced and then a mixture of  epoxy, cement and sand to be filled on the gap.

   
 

Cracks in the brick work

 

To repair this type of problems, reinforcement of steel flats, plates or sheets of 'S' or 'Z' shape are to be placed in the cracks and covered by a mixture of broken brick or gravel, cement and sand.

   
 

Cracks in plaster

  Putty has to be applied over and to cover the crack.
   
 

Summer repair

 

List out the problems you have faced in the last winter/ rainy season. To arrest the common monsoon problem of dampness, seepage and leakage, the porous area to be identified and given a fresh coat of water proofing in the summer season.
Remove all plants grown on roof, walls, if any.

   
 

Mixing ratio

 

It is very important to use right proportions of concrete mix to obtain an optimum quality. Some one may think that a rich mixture may possess good strength but the higher content of cement shall lead to crack on the other hand a lean mixture shall be porous and weak in tensile strength. An empirical ratio is given for your reference and it may vary according to site condition. It is preferable to use fine sand for plastering work and coarse sand for other work

   
   
 

Usage

Mixing ratio

Cement

Sand

Stone

Plain Cement Concrete PCC

1

3

6

PCC for platforms, roads

2

3

6

RCC pillar, beam, slab, etc

1

1.5

3

Brick Masonry (≥ ¾")  

1

6

-

Brick Masonry (<¾")  

1

3

-

Cement plaster on wall  

1

4

-

Cement plaster on ceiling

1

3

-

Ceramic tiles fixing  

1

4

-

   
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