Get a safe home built in five easy ways

Run­ning a safety check on a house be­ing built is a must if you want peace of mind

HT Estates - - Front Page - Sachin Sand­hir

The in­ef­fi­cient build­ing/con­struc­tion sys­tem that is reel­ing un­der the pres­sure of project de­lays, cor­rup­tion, bu­reau­cracy and bla­tant vi­o­la­tion of build­ing codes has taken a heavy toll on qual­ity con­trol. To­day there are sev­eral con­crete struc­tures that are sus­cep­ti­ble to safety mal­func­tions which could lead to dis­as­ters if re­me­dial mea­sures are not taken.

When con­sumers in­vest huge sums in a house they want as­sur­ance in terms of the dura­bil­ity quo­tient of the prop­erty. They want the house to be sturdy enough to re­sist rou­tine wear and tear. But this as­sur­ance can­not just be the builder/de­vel­oper’s pre­rog­a­tive. While eval­u­at­ing a project, the con­sumer should en­sure that the builder in­cludes a doc­u­ment with the agree­ment that de­tails all spec­i­fi­ca­tions re­lat­ing to the type of con­struc­tion, floor­ing, doors, win­dows, san­i­tary and water sup­ply, elec­tri­cal fit­tings etc. This en­sures aware­ness in terms of the de­liv­er­ables that the de­vel­oper has com­mit­ted to.

Some­times there are glar­ing dis­crep­an­cies be­tween the qual­ity of ameni­ties spec­i­fied and the ones ac­tu­ally used (dur­ing con­struc­tion). Check­ing the qual­ity of con­struc­tion and ma­te­ri­als used in a project through a proac­tive mea­sure such as ‘third party au­dits’ can be an ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion.

Safety features have to be nec­es­sar­ily fac­tored in as far as eval­u­a­tion of a struc­ture is con­cerned. Dur­ing con­struc­tion, as­pects such as test­ing on the soil, struc­tural de­sign, con­crete mix, wall thick­ness, fix­tures and fin­ish­ing have to be checked thor­oughly.

1 Qual­ity check

In In­dia, con­sumers can ap­proach third party au­di­tors reg­is­tered with the Qual­ity Coun­cil of In­dia to un­der­take an in­spec­tion to de­ter­mine the ma­te­ri­als used in the con­struc­tion process as per stan­dard safety norms. It is eas­ier to ap­proach the coun­cil and hire a third party au­di­tor. An au­di­tor can check ma­te­ri­als paid for and used dur­ing con­struc­tion. Records of pro­cure­ment of the raw ma­te­rial and its sub­se­quent should also be scru­ti­nised.

2 Main­tain­ing stan­dards

Within the au­dit, de­vi­a­tions from the agreed process or stan­dards are cap­tured. The au­di­tor, in his report, men­tions the de­grees of vari­a­tion and their ex­act lo­ca­tion. Th­ese re­ports can then be used to take a re­me­dial ac­tion.

3 Ask for agency to help

The other op­tion for end con­sumers is to re­quest the builder/de­vel­oper to hire an in­spec­tion agency for qual­ity cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. This op­tion may be eas­ier and cost ef­fec­tive as com­pared to the pre­vi­ous one. A group of home­buy­ers can jointly re­quest the de­vel­oper for such au­dits. Many re­puted builders have al­ready started seek­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions such as the Con­struc­tion In­dus­try Devel­op­ment Coun­cil and CQRA qual­ity cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. While the former is en­dorsed by the Government of In­dia to over­see the progress of the con­struc­tion in­dus­try the lat­ter is an ini­tia­tive of the Duro­crete Con­struc­tion Qual­ity Rat­ing Agency. Both have ac­tive pa­tron­age from the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion of In­dia.

4 Checks at each stage

An­other evolved tech­nique of safety as­sur­ance is to un­der­take qual­ity checks in dif­fer­ent stages. This needs to be sup­ple­mented by phase wise in­spec­tion and ap­provals. This trans­lates to a com­mon sense and ef­fec­tive ap­proach as au­tho­ri­sa­tion for any new con­struc­tion stage is granted only if the pre­vi­ous stage is ap­proved for qual­ity.

5 Qual­ity as­sur­ance

Third party au­dits are free from risks and in­sure con­sumers from po­ten­tial fi­nan­cial losses. Re­quest­ing the nec­es­sary qual­ity as­sur­ance cer­tifi­cates from de­vel­op­ers at the time of book­ing is also rec­om­mended.

Check the qual­ity of con­struc­tion and ma­te­ri­als used in a project through a proac­tive mea­sure such as ‘third party au­dits’

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