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How to choose the right building material

Cement
Cement in construction binds all the other building materials such as aggregates, sand & steel together and hence choice of cement becomes most critical. Buy a reputed brand from a reliable & authorised dealer only. Before purchasing, look for manufacturing date & if older than 90 days – consult your contractor.
Coarse Aggregates

Any particulate matter which includes gravel, shingles, crushed stones, etc. are called coarse aggregates. It is usually sold on the basis of per cubic metre or per cubic feet. The shape of aggregates has important bearing on the strength and durability of concrete. The ideal shape of the aggregate is cubical or spherical while elongated and flaky aggregates are considered undesirable and hence such aggregates should be avoided.

Sand

Sand used in construction is river sand, manufactured sand or pit sand. Silt & clay in sand are undesirable & must be checked at the time of purchase to ensure it is within acceptable limits. The requirements of sand for concrete, mortar and plaster are different and make sure that your contractor is using the right type for each application.

Steel

Steel in construction is used to resist tensile forces. To protect steel bars from corrosion, it must be properly embedded in concrete using cover blocks. Ensure steel bars are free from rust, oil, dust, paint, etc. when being used for your construction.

Water

Water is required to initiate chemical reaction with cement which gives its binding property. It should be added in a measured way only, as higher quantity may impact the strength & durability of concrete.

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Key checks to be taken during home – building?

During Foundation

During Foundation, the quality & type of soil must be checked first, preferably by a structural engineer if it is a filled up ground or there is no existing construction, of similar type, in the neighbourhood. This is extremely important as the type of founding sub soil strata decides the type of foundation to be constructed. Then, check the alignment of steel which should not move when concrete is being poured. Once the pillars are built, make sure that adequate curing is being done. Getting an Anti – Termite Treatment done prior to construction of foundation will help you in avoiding termite problems later in house. Consult your contractor for the same.

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during-construction

During Construction

During Construction, check the quality of ingredients used for making concrete (cement, sand, aggregate & water) and masonry (Bricks, cement and sand) which will define strength & durability of your house. Also, ensure that the prepared concrete and mortar mix is consumed within 30 – 40 mins of adding water to the mix, to avoid reduction in the workability of concrete / mortar.

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At the finishing stage

At the finishing stage, look for any unevenness, cracks or leakages which must be highlighted at the earliest. You must also be well planned about your plumbing & electricity requirements & ensure that all materials purchased for the same have their ISI marks. Concealed water pipes & sanitary pipelines must not be embedded in wall / floor near each other to avoid any mixing. Similarly, at one electric point check that there aren’t too many joints or connections.

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Other Stages

Before Construction

Before Construction

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After Construction

After Construction

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