Sunday, February 28, 2010

Capturing Autumn

Capturing Autumn
Originally uploaded by Karthik C S

Monday, February 22, 2010

Leaves Weaved

Leaves Weaved
Originally uploaded by Karthik C S
Captured during drive back from Tirupathi.. Near Chittoor

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Where things can go wrong - Build and Make Part 5

Hello folks,
Welcome back for Build and Make series, an experience sharing posts for home makers.

Link to the prequels
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

You have an architect, you have planned everything with him. You have short listed a builder who has done miraculously great job before. So you think there can be nothing to go wrong. There can be many stages/ situations where things can go wrong. So be cautious and alert and monitor.

  1. Make sure that communication is established properly.
    * Avoid phone meetings
    * Giving instructions over phone.
    * Make sure your builder has understood the drawing provided
    * Make sure builder and architect are in touch instead you being the interface between them, after all you are a layman
    * Make sure that only final versions are given to the builder. There are lot of chances that multiple versions of the same drawings are released due to changes/ corrections
    * Always have a copy of drawing with you. I am sure your laborers or contractor himself might lose or carry old versions of the drawings
  2. Make sure that thorough quality check is made by the supervisor/ builder/ architect at time to time.
    * This should be enforced by you and also make sure that they are doing at right time.
    * Should be done at all various stages like - After marking has been done for earth excavation, Plinth, one course brick work, Lintel, during roof, during plastering, during flooring, After marking of the electrical points and conduit, water points and conduit,
    * Ask questions thinking they have not done quality checks. Be pessimistic, to find as many defects as possible at the early stages. It saves you time and money
    * During roof, if concrete is prepared with a mixer machine, make sure that you know the ratio and you count number of bowls sand/ cement/ jelly mixture. It is always better. It's not that you are not trusting builder, it is just to make sure that no human error happens. If it is RMC (Ready Mix Concrete) Make sure that you get have computer reports for mixture which was loaded in the vehicle.
    * Be aware that you can perform lab tests for concrete which tells you the accurate strength.
  3. Think many steps ahead as in the chess game
    * Always think ahead, think big picture during execution
    * Think if certain work happening is going to spoil something later, is going to have a problem to something else.
  4. Set the expectations with Architect/ Builder with respect to your schedule. When you need your home ready.
    * Don't surprise them by saying you need it in 6 months. More the time they have neater the work they do.
    * By hurrying things, your schedule may be met, but not the cost and quality. So be informed and keep all stake holders informed
  5. Review your electrical and plumbing drawing with electrician / plumber at site
    * Civil work is usually done without much problems by the builder. There is not many inputs that you might have to give to the masons. But its electrical/ plumbing you need to review all switch points, taps, think about 2 ways needed, out lets you need, traps you need. You might have discussed the same with Architect offline. But when u are in the site, you might get more ideas and you will have accuracy.
  6. Always think that your masons, carpenters, electricians, plumbers are not co-coordinating their work
    * There are hundreds of scenarios where there should be absolute coordination between these folks and please don't assume they will always coordinate. They always think about their job. They don't have big picture. Your supervisor/ builder should have it. But make sure that they are coordinating in time. Otherwise raise flag.
    * There is usually trade-offs between schedule and coordination. :)
  7. Make sure one's work is not spoiling others'
    * Usually there will be delicate items, make sure they are properly protected or covered. May be the flooring, fittings etc. Masonry work may spoil them. You can protect granite / marble with POP, and cover plumbing/ electrical/ wood fittings with covers/ tarpaulins etc. May be you can instruct carpenter to put a ply wood sheet where ever he is working. May be you can instruct painter to put a soft bush to the stool he is using.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Recent updates in my life - Grihapravesha

Wow.. Its done.. I had been constructing my house from past one year and I just completed house warming last Wednesday. What an experience. What a relaxation now.

We started planning in Nov 2008 ; did Bhoomi pooja on 5th Feb 2009; House warming was on 3rd Feb 2010. I can say we have taken almost a year to complete the project. It was a looong way during construction of our sweet home, dream home. We have really spent a lot of time energy thought process to make it happen.

Now its all done but the interiors. I would take this opertunity to thank each one of them who have helped in making our sweet home.

I have learnt a lot during constructing it. I dont want to use the words "Build" or "Construct", rather I would prefer "Make". Homes are Made, rather built I think!! I have started a series to share those learning. Hope it helps some one.

Series of Build and Make

I would share you the Photo Album of my friends who helped in capturing the House Warming function. Please have a look..

MS Anil's Album

Gauthama's Album

Monday, February 08, 2010

Services Architects offer - Build and Make Part 4

This is the fourth post of the series.. You can access the previous ones by clicking links below

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

There are many services that an architect can offer to you. I think few are on-demand and few you can customize as per your requirement. Let me list down services my architect rendered.

  1. Preparing Concepts - It's nothing but your house plan. What comes where, which materials to use, and all other details
  2. Providing SOQ (Schedule of Quantities ) - Providing list of things to be done with quantities. For example - 900 cft of brick wall masonary, 1200 Sft of plastering with 1:4 mixture sponge finish, 1000 Sft of flooring with granite etc
  3. Checking the quality of the work being done - This is done at many stages. Before earth excavation checking the markings, at plinth level, at sill level, lintel level, before roofing, plastering, flooring, finishing.
  4. Providing working drawing for:
    * Masonary work
    * Structural work - Beams, Roofs, Pillars, Stairs
    * Wood work - Doors, Windows, Frames etc
    * Electrical work - Piping, Light and heat points etc
    * Plumbing work
    * Fabricating work
    * Elevation
  5. Checking the bill provided by Builder - At all stages
  6. Providing consultation/ suggestions on various approaches
  7. Providing valuable consultation on ventilation and light - Options for hot air exit, sky lights etc
Hope this helps you while discussing/ negotiating agreement with your Architect