Thursday, May 2, 2013

Home Sweet Home - A House construction story (with a review of the builder - The Habitat Group) - Part 2

This is the story of my house construction with a review of the builder, building materials and the difficulties faced. To read Part 1 of the story Click here

Land preparation and leveling

Land preparation and leveling work has to be done before work can be started for basement excavation. After running around and with the help of father's friend found out some persons for cutting down the coconut trees in the plot. They did the job in a day.

Got a taste of the things to come on the first day of ground preparation work itself. I went to the site where labourers were already present. They asked for some tools, went with them and bought the tools, came back to office which was 8 kms away.

Once I was about to start my office work I got a call from the labourers that they are in need of more tools without which they cannot start the work. Went back to site, bought the tools and stood there only to find out that they did not use it for the entire day. The ordeal had started.

Each day there was a story, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes worse.

Decided to proceed with the carpentry work. If we start now, we could get the completed doors and window frames by the time basement is ready.

The carpenter came along with me to buy wood. I followed his advice and shortlisted a shop.

Months later when I had to buy some extra wood did I realize that I was taken in for a ride by the carpenter and the shop I chose based on his advice was not the best in terms of price or quality. The carpenter took me there since they gave him good commission.

Earth excavation was over in around 20 days, but for me, it seemed that it took ages.
Daily I have to make at least 2 trips to the site coz the workers will call me for one thing or other. Finally it was time for the first function, the foundation stone laying.

Foundation stone laying.

Everything set for the ceremony. The chief carpenter coordinated the events. See the plot with the excavation work done behind me.

The function was simple. Pooja was performed and the stone was laid.

During pooja I was making lots of requests to Almighty to relieve me of all hurdles during the construction work. But the hard reality is that life cannot be made so easy by just making such requests.

Everything went smoothly and we were glad that the first stage is over.

Basement work

From this stage onwards material procurement has to start. Habitat group had a contractor dedicated for the supply of materials. Inorder to save my time on running around shops to source the materials I decided to use the services of material contractor.

Based on my requirement the first load of rubble came to site.

I was at office when the load came. Soon I got a call from the truck driver that, while trying to negotiate the last curve leading to my site, his truck's tyres got stuck in the mud and the vehicle is not moving.

He was asking whether he can dump the material there itself.

Quickly I rushed to the site and saw that if the rubble is dumped there then it will block the path of the people in the neighbourhood. The neighbours also came out and told that I should not allow to unload the rubble there. The driver was adamant to unload it there coz his time was getting wasted. Somehow I talked with the driver and the neighbours around to lower the rising tempers.

I was totally at loss on what to do and somehow it seemed everyone around wanted me to find a solution. Finally when the driver found out that we will not yield to unload there, he called up another truck and with another 2 hours effort the truck was towed out of the mud.

The driver vowed not to come there again with another load.

I was in a fix, since if the load does not come how can the work start. The labour contractor had told me that he will send the labourers only after the entire rubble for the basement work is available at site.

The engineer from Habitat told me to wait till the rains subsided, coz then the mud in road will dry out and trucks can come inside. But soon I learnt the hard truth that big trucks with load will not be able to reach my construction site. Eventhough the roads were wide enough the perpendicular curves and the untarred roads made it difficult for the big trucks.

So I have to either rely on small trucks or unload the items in the big trucks on the main road and carry it manually all the way down to my plot. After working out the cost I found option-2 to be better and finally rubble reached the site and work started. But the whole affair cost 1 month, with no work happening. In between I had wondered whether it will be possible at all.

Luckily the labourers who did the rubble work were staying in a make shift tent in my plot itself and they offered to manually carry the rubble, sand and cement to my plot from the main road where it was unloaded from the big trucks. I was happy even though I had to pay extra money to them for this work.

Basement work was over in a month after it started. Except the initial hick up everything went smooth.

Ground floor construction is due to start

To be continued in Part 3

The saga so far


Rekha said...

Great Review!!!!! Waiting for the next story!!! I contacted habitat technology about three months ago. I told my requirements but they made some plan which totally ignored my requirements and they are very slow. I think they have changed now. I heard same complaints from other people as well. Anyways ur review is sooo helpful. I am planning to use interlocking bricks for my home as well. Is there any possibility to get the contact details of the contractor who made your dream house. How was ur experience with them?

I worry that construction with interlocking bricks is not every1s cup of tea. So I am looking for some habitat group contractors who are very well versed in this type of construction. said...

Part 3 also is up

Sad to know that Habitat has changed. I was pretty happy with their effort.

Did you meet Mr.Shanker with your plan? He is one who makes the difference. even when the contractors erred I could contact him and he'll ensure that everything is set straight.

Mail me at, I will send you the contact details.

All the best for your house construction !!

sunil said...

very great blog and nice experience,even here too same experience .


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