Before buying a property, you must look out for some visible signs that will determine the construction quality of the project.
Checking the construction quality of an apartment is an important factor before finalising the buying decision. While it is a technical aspect, there are ways to ensure that the construction of your prospective apartment is sound and secure. Field visits to the project site, talking to brokers, online research and consulting an architect are some of the ways to safeguard against any structural defects in a project.
This has become a crucial criteria for prospective buyers, who want to ensure that the new home will be safe to live in and not involve repair and maintenance costs, says Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd and secretary, CREDAI. From an investor’s perspective, the longevity of a house will help derive better rental returns as well as determine its value in the resale market.
By adhering to norms that have been prescribed for sound construction quality, developers improve their reputation in the market. On the flip side, inefficient construction, which results in violation of building codes, makes building structures susceptible to structural and safety malfunctions, claims Sachin Sandhir, managing director, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) South Asia.
One of the key issues, however, is that a common homebuyer is not fully aware of the standards that have been set for construction and related deviations, says Bharat Kalra of Gurgaon-based Buniyad real estate services. For example, it is difficult for a common man, unless he is a qualified architect or civil engineer, to determine the soundness of the building’s structural design.
What to look for to ascertain construction quality
Here are some signs and loopholes that can help prospective home buyers judge the overall quality of construction of a residential project:
Building’s exterior: At the time of field visit, it is important to observe any cracks in the building as it is a sign of a weak foundation. Even minor cracks in walls reflect upon the inferior quality of materials used for construction.
Concrete mix: Builders check the strength of the concrete mix as the grade of concrete and concrete-sand ratio are crucial for quality of construction. A buyer or owner can check this by driving a nail into the walls. The quality of concrete is not up to the mark if this activity is done with ease.
Paint quality and finishing: Buyers must look out for the quality of paint on the walls. In addition to enhancing visual appeal, good paint on the walls and wooden surfaces prolongs their life. Cheap paint, on the other hand, results in poor finishing and reduces durability. This also means that walls might need to be painted again quickly.
Fittings and fixtures: Kitchen and bathroom fixtures such as taps and shower should be in good working condition. Along with this, the floor of the bathroom must be even. Tiles used in the bathroom and kitchen are a good indicator of the overall quality of construction. Doors should not make a creaking noise while opening. Buyers must also keep an eye on door handles, electrical fittings and window latches.
Common areas and facilities: The building’s common areas can also help prospective buyers judge the developer’s stress on construction quality. Lifts, for example, by reputed manufacturers will have a maintenance contract and therefore checked periodically by the concerned facilities management agency. On the flip side, lifts of unfamiliar brands should raise suspicion among buyers.
Not so obvious sign
As a general rule, the availability of open areas and landscaping in a project is an indicator of construction quality, comments Kishor Pate. The availability of open green space in a project is a benchmark for good construction. This is because open spaces highlight that the developer is not focussing on using every inch of space for construction. Instead, the developer is providing the buyer with a better project layout, ensuring de-congested space when the project is fully occupied.