The crazy world of construction
The road to one’s dream house is often bumpy for first-time homeowners.
There’s a lot to take in and understand from the design, materials to something as complex as construction.
But even if you have no experience with construction, you can endure the challenges so long as you keep yourself informed. Though you may be working with professionals and able workers, it is important that you prepare for the things that could possibly go wrong.
This would also prevent you from being ripped off. For the budding homeowners and builders, here are some of the frequent problems encountered during construction and possible ways to solve them.
It’s difficult to understand technical jargon and drawings as a layman. Unfortunately, this inexperience can lead people to make misinformed decisions.
To avoid this, make sure you completely understand the proposals of your designers and contractors. If drawings seem lacking, request for a three-dimensional model done by computer or by hand.
Though these design tools can cost, the amount is little compared to the possible expense wrong details might entail once they are built. If you don’t plan on displaying these miniature presentations, you can ask for sketch models to simply understand the design concepts.
Sometimes, issues surprise us onsite even despite our preparations. The soil might settle during construction and cause uneven flooring. A flood might hit your unfinished home and destroy some parts. Existing ruins on your lot may turn out to be a historical treasure.
Though these issues may arise beyond human control, many can be prevented.
Get a geodetic engineer to re-survey your lot and conduct soil tests prior to construction. Put into place protective fencing and safety gear to avoid catastrophes and accidents. Check with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to identify if the existing structures onsite are significant culturally, and if these should be preserved.
Though there is no surefire way to prevent issues, you can set up ways to try to avoid them.
Wrong deliveries can cause headaches. They can be costly and someone gets blamed.
To prevent this, ask for a sample from a supplier before making a purchase. Usually, a small piece of tile or any other item doesn’t entail costs provided that you return the sample after making a decision.
Make sure to cite your requirements or preferences when asking for one. Catalogues can help you make initial selections, but personally seeing the product would ensure that it meets your expectations.
Sometimes, it’s the contractors or the designers who make the mistake or alter the plans onsite. Unfortunately, this happens.
If this applies in your case, request your builders to explain the changes or propose solutions to remedy the wrongdoing. Think about whether you can live with the built mistake or changes permanently.
If you decide that the built structure is acceptable, you can use it to haggle for some other things that you wish to be done. If not, you have every right to request for the contractor or designer to fix their mistakes at no additional cost to you.
Going over the budget
Sometimes, the thrill of constructing our dream home can lead us to a spending spree.
It is difficult to balance our wishes with the limitations of our wallet. To avoid going over the budget, keep track of your expenses. Consider alternative brands or materials for expensive products. If you really can’t part with your dream floor tiles or counter finish, negotiate with the supplier for discounts.
You can often get a discount if you buy in bulk or ask nicely.
This is perhaps the worst nightmare in construction.
When things get rough, sometimes people bolt and leave you with unfinished or unacceptable work.
To avoid this, make sure to draft a contract with your designers and contractors at the beginning of the work. This would allow you to agree on terms and deliverables even before any work is done.
If the disagreement has already occurred, you can seek legal assistance or simply negotiate with the contractor. If they are willing to talk but lack the capacity to finish the job, get someone else who can but at the expense of your former hire.
Despite the challenges in building a home, don’t lose hope. Construction is a difficult task to undertake, but the results will be worth it. Dreams are not easy to achieve, but they can be attained with enough patience and perseverance.
(Sources: www.homeadvisor.com; www.house-n-home-building.co; Alexander Murvanidze via Wikimedia Commons; Bo Basil via Wikimedia Commons; Alexas Fotos via Pixabay)
The author is a licensed architect who studied abroad and currently works with DSFN Architects. She thinks adopting a solution-driven attitude toward mistakes will allow you to not go crazy
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