Solutions for construction confusion

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It’s easy to envision a dream house but when it comes to the legwork involved in its construction, it’s better to learn the basics while being guided by reliable professionals. 

We all want a space we can call our own. No matter how cliché it may sound, there is this voice inside that propels us to imagine how it would feel like owning a space—putting our own touches to the grand schemes like floor plans up to the smallest details of finding the right end table to fit a favorite corner.

Even if it looks all easy and clear, it will always be great to prepare for what this entails while seeking professional guidance in terms of deciding in this fluid but fulfilling endeavor. Also, being equipped with the basic knowledge in construction prevents you from being ripped off and prepares you for the things that could possibly go wrong. Here are some of the frequent problems encountered during construction and possible ways to solve them.

Dealing with plans and jargons

It takes a while to be well-rounded with the technical jargons, plans, and drawings. Most often than not, trying to assume what means what can lead to misinformed decisions.

To avoid this, make sure you completely understand the proposals of your designers and contractors. If drawings seem lacking, request for a three-dimensional model done by computer or by hand. These will let you visualize the changes and better figure out what they mean. If you don’t plan on displaying these miniature presentations, you can ask for sketch models to simply understand the design concepts.

It is a fact that these design renderings may incur additional costs, but it is better to look at it as the old saying goes: “prevention is better than cure”—the amount will be little compared to the possible renovating or retrofitting expenses due to wrong details in the actual construction.

Onsite surprises and forces of nature

Sometimes, issues surprise us onsite even despite our preparations. The soil might settle during construction and cause uneven flooring. A flood might hit your unfinished home and destroy some parts. Existing ruins on your lot may turn out to be a historical treasure. Though these issues may arise beyond human control, many can be prevented.

Get a geodetic engineer to re-survey your lot and conduct soil tests prior to construction. Put into place protective fencing and safety gear to avoid catastrophes and accidents. Check with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to identify if the existing structures on site are significant culturally and if these should be preserved.

Wrong orders

Communication is key even in construction as wrong orders may arise from miscomprehension and presumption. These instances can lead to unnecessary costs and incessant blaming.

To prevent this, ask for a sample from a supplier before making a purchase. Usually, a small piece of tile or any other item doesn’t entail costs, provided that you return the sample after deciding. Make sure to cite your requirements or preferences when asking for one. Catalogs can help you make initial selections, but personally seeing the product would ensure that it meets your expectations.

Unexpected and unconsented alterations

Unfortunately, there are several instances where contractors or the designers alter the plans on site and even make major mistakes.

If this applies in your case, request your builders to explain the changes or propose solutions. Think about whether you can live with the built mistake or changes permanently. If you decide that the built structure is acceptable, you can use it to negotiate for some other things that you wish to be done. If not, you have every right to request for the contractor or designer to fix their mistakes at no additional costs.

Going over the budget

This tend to happen with first-time homeowners who decide to flip their own homes and do DIYs, and also when you end up with unprofessional designers and contractors who are not transparent with the actual construction expenses.

To avoid going over the budget, keep track of your expenses and all the decisions made in accordance with the plans. Consider alternative brands or materials for expensive products. If you really can’t part with your dream floor tiles or counter finish, negotiate with the supplier for discounts. You can often get a discount if you buy in bulk or ask nicely.

Runaway contractors

Apart from having financial woes due to unprofessional decisions, this is the worst that can happen in construction. When things get rough, sometimes people bolt and leave you with unfinished or unacceptable work.

To avoid this, make sure to draft a contract with your designers and contractors at the beginning of the work. This would allow you to agree on terms and deliverables even before any work is done. If the disagreement has already occurred, you can seek legal assistance or simply negotiate with the contractor. If they are willing to talk but lack the capacity to finish the job, get someone else who can but at the expense of your former hire.

These obstacles should not hinder the finality of your decisions. Instead, you must keep these in mind to be extra careful and attentive to avoid untoward incidents in the construction of your dream house. Engaging in this endeavor can be a test of character but once you have surpassed the tough stages, you are on your way to a lifetime of happiness in the comforts of your home

This article originally appeared in Philippine Daily Inquirer Property. Edits were made by the editor.


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