84% of Indian home buyers don't know how to check building's construction quality, reveals Magicbricks Poll

84% of Indian home buyers don't know how to check building's construction quality, reveals Magicbricks Poll

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, September 6, 2018
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picAs more and more end users look for completed homes to buy and occupy, only 16% of Indian home buyers know how to check the construction quality of a residential project while an alarming 84% of real estate consumers are clueless about the due diligence and just wished to know the process to check the quality of their house, revealed a recent poll by Magicbricks, India’s No.1 property site.

In the backdrop of the recent cases of building collapses across the country, it becomes very important for homeowners as well as prospective buyers to consider checking the construction quality before they buy or move into a newly built property. Many buyers ignore the construction quality as it is not possible for a common man/buyer to check the construction materials used in a particular building.

Lack of awareness is the biggest challenge in checking the construction of quality of buildings. Home buyers must go through jargon such as seismic compliance, structural safety certificate, earthquake-resistant building but have no means of ensuring that houses are of good quality. Currently, because RERA has a provision of zero defect liability for five years under which a developer must ensure structural safety and quality, consumers too are confidently asking for ways to determine this.

Explains V. Suresh, Vice-Chairman of the National Building Code, the reference document for all buildings in India, there are four major components to quality of construction -

  • Structural
  • Non-Structural
  • Finishing and
  • Services

Structural includes elements such as column, beam, slab etc where you need a safety auditor to give you a report.

Non-structural includes partition walls, windows, doors etc which form a part of the structure of your house but are not load-bearing.

The third is the finishing which includes, walls, floors, paints, tiling, faucets, etc.

Services include basic services such as water, its quality, the quality of the pipes and the plumbing for sewerage and sullage, the electrical wiring and safety, switches that ensure the right level of power with minimum voltage fluctuations, the frequency of power, the vertical areas such as lifts and escalators,

The quality of services of water, power and the maintenance and the wait time of lifts, waste management, fire protection systems, the comfort ventilation of HVAC services, and ventilation to ensure flow of air through the building constitute the fourth component.

In countries like Singapore, the Conquas system has elementized the items of construction quality and there are third-party safety audit certificates that are given to the buyers. This constitutes the checklist on the quality of a house. Agents and brokers normally offer these services of experts and certification in markets like the US.

The material used must be durable. The reason you need to check this out is because the quality of the material used determines your operating expenses or maintenance costs. If the developer or builder saves on capex, then the operating expenses will rise. Low maintenance finishes ensure that the annual painting of the exterior walls is not a load on the users.

Good builders now have started keeping a QA? /QC team (Quality Assurance and Quality Control) which assesses the quality after the construction is over. This ensures that issues like faulty joints, poor finishes, and services quality are as promised.

For all types of constructions, builders must use genuine better construction material and modern construction techniques. They also need to factor in a city's climatic conditions.

Today consumers visit the previous projects of the developer to check if there are service issues like seepage patches or slow lifts there. To judge the construction quality of a project, the developer's brand is a fairly good indicator. Builders with a reputation to protect employ trusted contractors and ensure proper quality control throughout. There are various ways in which a home buyer can check on the general quality of construction. For instance, cracks in a building's exterior could be an indicator that the project has a faulty foundation.

Other signs to look for are small cracks in walls, creaking or jammed doors, and windows and improperly aligned or uneven floors, bathroom and kitchen tiles.   

The Construction Industry Development Council has put together a checklist for consumers to follow:

Alignment of floor: carry some marbles and release them gently on the floor. If the floor is sloping it will roll in the direction of the slope. If there is a drain, the marbles should roll in the direction of the drain. If you don’t have marbles pour a cup of water and assess if the water is flowing in the right direction

Alignment of plaster: Inspect the house in the evening at dusk. Switch on the light. The light should reflect evenly off the walls.

Carry a nail. Drive it into the plaster. If it goes easily the quality of mortar is bad. If the nail bends the mortar quality is good.

Do the same on the brick. The brick should offer resistance to the nail.

Do the same in the mortar between the bricks

Wet areas: Pour 5-6 buckets of water in the pot and the floor of the bathroom and don’t allow it to drain. In a couple of hours, there will be a seepage patch if the joints are faulty.

This will take care of about 60% of the construction problems consumers face. The average lifespan of a new residential building is between 60 to 75 years, depending on the quality of construction and the climatic conditions. However, every 10 years it is important to do a preventive maintenance check to ensure the optimum quality of services. A poorly constructed building has a much lower lifespan. So, if you are buying a second sale house, you should get an expert to assess the construction quality and how it has weathered. Even in budget housing, buyers should at least have the assurance of good construction quality.

Read more news:

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Affordable Housing: From Brick to Building

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