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Tuesday, 13 November 2012 00:00
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Professional steps in building houses

•Lagos houseUnderstanding the steps in building a house will aid your knowledge more and always make you come out with better result. It does not matter whether it is your first or second house.
The steps discussed here is not arranged in any sequential order, although great care was taken at ensuring that the following will help you understand the scheme of things in housing construction.

Acquiring a Plot
Your house must be built on something and that something is usually land, so the first step that sets things in motion is acquiring a plot on which to erect your structure.
With the right real estate company, you can acquire a plot of land in your desired geographical location and get all documents leading to proof of ownership of the land. Once this is done, you are set for the second step.

Building plan
Once the land is in your kitty and all the necessary documentation done, other steps in building a house is to get the service of an architect to draw the plan of the structure (house) you plan to build.
After your taste and the requested facilities and rooms you wish your house to contain has been discussed with your architect, your architect gets the plan designed to fit and meet with the building standards of the authorities in line with the location of the plot. There are regulations regarding what can be built, where and how, the Architect is the best person to help you through the maze and marry your dream with what is possible and legal. Before a standard house is erected, involving an architect will be a very good thing to do.

Consulting With a Building Professional /Quantity surveyor
Once the Architect is done with the drawings as required before he presents it for building plan approval or after he must have done so, you will need the services of a Quantity Surveyor to come up with the Bill of Quantities (BoQ).
That is the determination of what building your house will cost you. Ordinarily, it is a very good thing to have this and you will be required to even produce it for verification if you are seeking financing in funding the construction of your house.

But if you are not required to present it probably because you are funding your structure out of pocket, then this could help(motivate) or hinder(de-motivate) you depending on how your handle challenges.
Reason been that most of the time, your BoQ will be more than what you were thinking your structure will cost. Workmen, contractors, etc. even have it almost as standard practice to tell client what they think the client will want to hear in terms of what the construction will cost or what any stage of the construction will cost.
One reason this is carried out, is to avoid losing business in case the client gets discouraged on knowing the near actual cost and concludes that he has no means of raising such a sum and as such backs out. Either procrastination sets in or there is a total cancellation of the project.

The other it is carried out, is because they they know that when someone wants to do a thing most of the time, what is required is to overcome the inertia that keep people from starting.
Usually, once they start, the desire to complete it fires all other areas of their being, financial provision inclusive. Therefore, they (BoQ) do that to help you overcome your inertia and start, so you cannot stop when the real cost begins to show up because you would have gathered enough momentum.
Well-groomed professionals abound for consultancy with respect to the amount and quantity of various materials you will need all through the stages of building process.

Getting a Builder/Site Inspector
This person is sometimes called Contractor, Site Supervisor, or Foreman. Whatever he/she is called, the job is to help ensure that what you have on your plan is what is constructed on ground at not more than the estimated cost except where there are reasons why you must deviate from your plan a little or the cost because of price movement in the market between the time you drew your plan and got your BoQ and when you moved to the site.

Labour
Securing the services of labourers/masons, carpenters, electrician(s), plumber(s), etc. is essential in achieving your desired project. Without them, the actual implementation cannot be possible.
Water supply
Water is one building material required in huge quantities during a building project and it is sometimes over looked, because the general belief is that water (dirty one especially) can be found in most places and therefore getting water to use for your building project should not be a problem.
The challenge with that is that the quality of water used for your building project can affect the integrity of your structure.

During the stages of building a house, water is needed in large quantity to mix materials. If this is not provided adequately, it can result in huge unwarranted cost at the end of the day.
To address this issue, drilling a borehole, digging a well or making provision for water supply to your site via a water board pipe or commercial water tanker will solve the problem a great deal.
 7. Purchase of building materials
You need to have an answer to how you intend to procure your building materials. This is one aspect of your building project with huge potentials of derailing the whole exercise cost wise if not put in check.
If you are a green horn and this is your first house construction, we will suggest you brace up and learn fast. You only need to know the material types, their specifications, and the places (markets) where they can be found.
With the knowledge of these three things, you are good to go. Better if you have the support of an honest handyman to help you. Most times, old hands and experts know how to ensure they get what they want at the prevailing market price without doing the legwork.

• Mr 'Debo Aladejana is the MD/CEO, Realty Point Nigeria Ltd.

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