Sustainable Construction II: What Does It Really Mean?
Since time immemorial, homes have provided that sense of belonging, making them subjects of many a famous creative endeavor around the world. Given that it evokes such deep emotion in us, it is easy to forgo pragmatism while buying a new home.
As more businesses are starting to realize the weight of customer satisfaction, its impact has become a widely discussed topic, yet reports on poor construction quality in the real estate sector are frequently talked about. This may be attributed to several reasons such as unskilled construction workers, inexperienced site supervisors, substandard materials, disorganized and labor-intensive construction works.
We see clients increasingly becoming aware of the cost associated with purchasing poorly built structures. Apart from the consequences of potential collapse, rework is always more expensive than implementing it the right way, the first time. Therefore, as real estate developers, we must hold ourselves accountable through sustainable partnerships in the provision of optimum value across installations to the benefits of clients.
Delivering quality and designing a satisfactory home buying experience for clients is at the core of everything we do. For us at Bilaad Realty, relationship with the buyer does not end after sales but begins the very moment the client makes the purchase and thus becomes part of its growing family.
ALIYU ALIYU, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
WITH EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE
One of the factors one looks for while purchasing a home today, is quality construction. A home buyer wants to ensure that the home will:
Be safe and sound for its inhabitants.
Usable for a maximum possible number of years.
Will not develop problems over time.
Have good resale value if one decides to sell it.
These aspects are next to impossible to judge when a residential project is new or only a couple of years old. Naturally, most property developers will ensure that everything looks ship-shape on the surface even if they do not necessarily follow quality construction norms.
It has become a common marketing practice for developers to claim that their projects are of high-grade construction, with the current owners of resale flats undertaking cosmetic touch-ups to make their properties look as new and unflawed as possible.
Those who do so without justification are aware that most home buyers are not equipped to make valuable judgement on such claims, because home buyers often select properties on the basis of location advantages such as access to public transportation, shopping malls and hospitals.
However, buyers must do more to educate themselves on the market, as a lot of regrets can be avoided by approaching a property purchase decision with sufficient personal research and pre-meditation. In that respect, the concept of due diligence must necessarily transcend the usual sense of ‘legal health check-up’.
There are various ways in which a home buyer can check on the general quality of construction:
Patched cracks in a building’s exterior can be an indicator that the project has a faulty foundation. Other signs to look for are small cracks in walls, creaking or sticking doors and windows and improperly aligned or uneven floor, bathroom and kitchen tiles.
A quality construction project is designed in such a way that the weight of the overall structure is evenly and scientifically distributed. Also, a developer focused on quality will not spare costs when it comes to providing detailed finishing and intricate detailing, both in the building’s common areas and within the residential units themselves.
Developers who pride themselves on the use of quality construction materials do not allow cheap, low quality fittings by their contractors. Likewise, common facilities such as elevators will be by established manufacturing brands and will be under a maintenance contract by a reputable facilities management agency. Any evidence of obscure, unfamiliar brands should be viewed with suspicion.
Fresh paint looks great when you’re moving into a new home. Unfortunately, it’s also really good at covering up watermarks, wood rot, stains or mold. Ask what areas received a coat of fresh paint and be extra vigilant when inspecting for signs of water or mold damage.
The quality of the concrete used in a building depends on what grade of concrete has been used, what the concrete/sand ratio is and whether the concrete was allowed to cure for a sufficient amount of time. One rule of thumb is that it should not be too easy to drive a nail into the walls.
No matter how thoroughly you ogle the kitchen and closet, don’t forget to also look up. Inspect the ceiling for water stains, which are signs of a leaky roof.
With the excitement of buying a new home, it’s easy to overlook important factors that can make or break the experience. Our adoption of sustainable construction methods are deliberate; we are conscious of advancements made in developed countries where alternative building materials are utilized in construction; however, we understand the current state of awareness and cultural acceptability of our market. The concept remains the same, but its integration across different locations will be specific to our needs in a progressive manner. We are certain that sustainable construction is here to stay.