Home Building Guide

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Building your home from the ground up can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It gives you the opportunity to tailor your home to suit your tastes and to adapt to your family’s needs, both now and in the future. Building a home doesn’t have to be a gruelling process, though. Going into the process with your eyes open and with a firm plan can save you heartache along the way.

 

Here are our top 12 tips for a pain-free home construction process.

Home building guide

Planning is the most important part of the construction process, which must suit the need of owner, in terms of number of habitable room, open areas, service areas and facilities and governed by Floor Area Ratio (FAR), a ratio of cover area by home divided by the area of land. Recommended that a home plan to be prepared by qualified architect and must be approved by local civic bodies (like Municipality, Panchayet etc. etc.). Preciously, a home plan is a set of working drawings, that define all the construction specifications of a residential house such as dimensions, materials, layouts, installation methods and techniques, along with the following details : 

Site plans are drawn to show the location of a home on the property in its context.

  • Floor plan is a bird’s eye view of the completed house
  • Elevations are a non-perspective view of the home
  • A section cuts through the dwelling and the location of this 'cut through' is noted on the floor plan.
  • Foundation plan, including dimensions and locations for footings
  • Roof plans, including type, pitch and framing
  • Schedules for elements such as windows and doors
  • Structural layouts
  • Plumbing schematic drawing: plumbing fixtures and pipin

Budgeting for fund flow

The very first step in planning the construction of a new home is the construction budget. Developing a preliminary budget spells out the allocation of funds for your project in broad terms.

Knowing your spending limits and developing a home building budget will go a long way towards keeping you out of financial trouble on your project, especially during the preparation of your plans and specifications. Your final "working" budget will be developed when you complete the cost estimating process.

On obtaining the final budget, you need to plan for fund flow, be it your own fund or borrowed amount from financial institutes.

On obtaining the final budget, you need to plan for fund flow, be it your own fund or borrowed amount from financial institutes.

Selection of right builder / contractor

This might be one of the most important decisions you make in the home building process. Whichever builder you choose, you’re going to be working with them for many, many months. It’s important to get the choice right at the outset to head off problems down the road.

There are several factors you should consider when choosing a builder:

 

Credentials

Make sure your builder is adequately licensed and insured. Reference checks Check into the builder’s past work. Were previous customers satisfied? Don’t be afraid to ask the builder for references before you sign a contract. Also, check up on the warranty and service they offer.

 

Past work

Have a close look at some of the houses the builder has constructed in the past. Make sure the level of quality is high. Also, look into resale data on some of the houses the builder has previously constructed.

 

Style

In looking into the builder’s past work, see that it suits your design style. A builde might be very accomplished at constructing a particular style of home, but if what you want is outside their area of expertise you might be wise to look elsewhere.

 

Personality

As mentioned above, you’ll be working with your builder for a number of months. Make sure you’re comfortable with them. Also, make sure they communicate well. If a builder doesn’t communicate well with you, it’s likely they don’t communicate well with their contractors either.

 

Price

All of this is a moot point if a builder is outside your budget.

Understand your agreement

Take help of your building planner and spell out your specification clearly for building materials, plumbing materials, exterior & interior colors, sanitary fitting & fixings, tiles and other fixures and specify brands, if possible. Get your builder’s consent, in the form of agreement.

Legal validation of agreement

Carefully read through the contract with your builder to make sure you understand its contents. Make sure you’re not taken by surprise by what the construction costs cover and what they don’t cover.

Check to see that it includes compliance to detailed plans, workmanship, warranty and insurance information. Also pay close attention to the payment schedule.

Cross out any blank spaces, and make sure any variations to the contract are well documented and mutually agreed upon. Finally, it’s wise to have a solicitor look over the contract before you sign and get it registered by legal bodies.

Get your financing in order

When you’re building a property, you’ll need a construction home loan to finance the process. A construction home loan is structured differently than a regular home loan in that the lender won’t release all the funds at once. Instead, the lender will decide how much you need for the project, and will then release the funds in periodic payments to your builder. These periodic payments are known as draws. They’ll be paid out at the completion of each individual stage of your construction.

Another way construction loans can differ is in the size of deposit lenders require. Because construction loans can be seen as inherently riskier, lenders might require some % of total value of construction as deposit.

Before you seek out finance, make sure you have a detailed plan in place. Because construction home loans rely on an estimate of the assumed value of the completed house, your lender will want to have detailed construction plans that are fully costed.

Communicate / follow up constantly

Throughout the process, communicate often with your builder and tradesmen. Get regular updates on the progress of construction, and check in yourself. It’s a good idea to take pictures of the progress on a regular basis so you can document any problem areas.

Don’t be afraid to stick to your guns. If your builder, contractor or tradesmen tell you something can’t be done, push back. It might cost you extra, but odds are with the right amount of effort you can accomplish your vision. It’s worth putting up a fight for details that are important to you. After all, you’re the one who has to live in the completed home.

With good communication, though, you should be able to avoid arguments during the building process. If you’ve clearly laid out what you want and the details that you see as non-negotiable, construction will run much smoother.

Look for ways to save

Building a home is going to be an expensive process, and as we mentioned above, it’s likely you’ll end up paying more than you anticipated. That being said, there are ways you can save money. Shop around for the best prices on fittings and fixtures, and on the materials your builder will use. Get multiple quotes for any item needed during the construction process.

You can also save money at the outset of the process by choosing a site that takes less preparation. Hauling off dirt, removing rocks or clearing brush can end up being costly. Picking a lot that needs little preparation before construction commences can minimise these costs.

 

Owner builders

If you’re really looking for savings, you could consider taking on the role of owner builder. This means you would manage the logistics of the home building process. This doesn’t necessarily require expertise in home building, but it will require a lot of your time and some serious project management skills.

Get an independent inspector

Each stage of your construction should be inspected by an independent consultant. This will help you rest easy knowing that all the building materials and practices used in constructing your home meet all the necessary codes and regulations. You’ll want inspections at the following stages:

  • Building layout plan
  • Foundations and footings
  • Casting of roof slabs
  • Start of wall fill
  • Layout of plumbing and installation sanitary fitting fixing
  • Electrification work
  • Final Handing over

Know your rights if something goes wrong

If you’ve planned your building process well, budgeted well and signed on with the right builder and lender, it’s unlikely you’re going to face any insurmountable problems. If the worst should happen, though, there are a number of channels you can go through for complaints against builders thru’ legal route. Also seek for arbitrator in case of any eventuality.

Ensure Electricity and water connection

Once your dream home is complete in all respect, apply for Electricity and Water connection through proper channel.

Obtaining Completion Certificate and subsequent Mutation for pro

It is extremely necessary to obtain Completion Certificate of the building from local civic bodies (who approved the home plan earlier). Completion Certificate ensures construction of building complying with the laid down standard and dimensions – as indicated in home plan and brings in marketable value to your dream home.

On obtaining Completion Certificate, Mutation to be initiated – which is a process to get your property registered with local civic bodies as a legal construction and tax will be imposed on it, based on actual valuation.