7 Things to keep in mind When building a new home

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For many of us, owning a home is the ultimate sign of success and truth be told, it is not a walk in the park – but that doesn’t make it a pipe dream either. After you have acquired the land to build your home, the next step is to put in place strategies to see the house to completion. Here are things you need to always keep in mind in the process of building your dream house.

Planning and designing: Building a house starts on paper. Engage the services of an architect, structural engineer and quantity surveyor (QS) who will be able to put your ideas on paper. It is in this phase that you will get the bill of quantities (BoQ) from the QS, which will inform you how much it will take to put up the structure you want. Thereafter, you will need approval from various county and national government agencies. This varies from county to county so it is imperative you enquire about the procedure. Your architect might do it for you (at an extra cost of course) or you can follow it up yourself.

To personally manage the construction or not: Once you have the plan and approvals ready, you will need to decide whether you will personally oversee the construction or you will seek the services of a contractor. Both have their advantages and disadvantages so once again consult, consult and consult more. Point of caution: there are so many crooks in the construction industry, so do your due diligence before settling on a developer. Again, if you engage the services of a contractor, ensure you work with a valid contract.

Buy the materials on wholesale: Avoid buying building materials from retail outlets because it’s expensive. Buying on wholesale basis will save you both money and time. Be on the look out for fake products, which have infiltrated the market. If you are not in a position to tell the fake from real, let one of your builders or supervisor accompany you.

Consult, consult and consult: You are building a house that is expected to stand the test of time so it is advisable to take your time without necessarily procrastinating. Right from the phase of buying land to doing the finishing of the house; look for individuals who you can draw wisdom from. If possible, look for like-minded people, for instance, those who are also building or have already built their houses and exchange notes.

Get started: By this time you have an idea of how you want your new home to look like and your materials are ready. Note that the cost of building a new home can vary widely depending on what part of the country you are in and how elaborate you want your new home to be. You should expect your budget to go at least 10 to 20 per cent over the estimated budget during construction. It is not a must to have the whole amount ready as you can decide to build in phases such as start with the foundation then stop for a while as you seek funds to put the walls before proceeding to roofing and finishing. The important thing is to get started.

Be in tandem with your builders: Building a house is an investment hence it is good to be at par with your builders or contractor with regards to the best practices. If you are not always on site, get a good and trustworthy foreman who will be able to supervise the work on your behalf. But no matter how busy you are, always make a point of visiting the site weekly to avoid unpleasant surprises and to nip errors in the bud.

Hire professionals: In this era of collapsing buildings and quack constructors, never take chances when hiring individuals to build your house. Right from the planning stage to the finishing stage, seek the services of professionals to avoid regrets later. Work with referrals and insist on seeing their previous work to enable you make informed decisions. Also check if they are registered with their professional bodies such as the Architectural Association of Kenya.

Published March 2017…

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