Property Plus

How do you know if it's built to last?

Selection parameters for a property include location, connectivity and available infrastructure.

Before purchasing a home, a buyer ensures it is constructed well, is located in a safe locality and most importantly, has a good re-sale value. These are aspects which 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 great on the surface even if they do not necessarily follow quality construction norms.

Even in the resale market, we will find that the current owners of a flat on sale will undertake cosmetic touch-ups to make their home look as new as possible. Banks do only a cursory check on a project’s overall construction quality while evaluating a home loan proposal. It has become a common marketing practice for developers to claim that their projects are of high-grade construction.

In larger cities like Mumbai and Delhi NCR, plots are quickly snapped up by developers because they know the location itself will sell their projects.

Because of this, they will often develop such projects at the lowest possible cost because their greatest expense lies in the purchase of the plot. The situation is not as severe in smaller cities as commuting distances are shorter.

This is one of the primary reasons why land costs — and therefore finished property costs — in smaller cities are more rational. However, many developers try to cut costs wherever possible, so there is still a high incidence of inferior construction in smaller cities.

Tips to guage quality

To begin with, a developer’s brand is a fairly good indicator. Brand value has different meanings in different cities. For instance, the most reputed developer brands, in Mumbai also have the biggest price tags. Quality construction in their projects is assured, but so are high property costs.

There are various ways in which a home buyer can check on the general quality of construction:

Foundation

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 of a flat, creaking or sticking doors and windows, and improperly aligned or uneven floors, bathroom and kitchen tiles.

Design

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.

Fixtures

Developers who pride themselves for their construction quality do not allow their contractors to use cheap taps, window frames, door handles, electrical outlets and fittings. Likewise, common facilities such as lifts will be installed by established manufacturing brands and its maintenance will be taken care of by a reputed facilities management agency. Any evidence of obscure, unfamiliar brands should be viewed with suspicion.

Paint

Cheap paint on walls and doors is easy to detect. Good paint on walls and wooden surfaces not only enhance their visual appeal but also prolongs the life of these surfaces. If one finds that cheap paint has been used, it is evidence that the developer does not feel that investing in good paint makes sense because the surfaces themselves are not made to last.

Concrete quality

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.

Open areas

The availability of open areas imply that the builder has not filled every available square foot with sellable construction. Similarly, aesthetically completed landscaping indicates that the buildings in a project are built to last and deliver value for the longest possible time.

Life of a building

The average life-span of a project that has been built on quality construction parameters is around 80 years. After this period, a project will usually come up for reconstruction.

It should be remembered that the true investment value of a residential unit such as a flat does not actually lie in the flat itself, but in the flat owner’s share of the land that the building occupies.

In other words, it is the undivided land portion of the investment that one has made in a flat that amounts to the actual value of one’s investment. However, in real estate market terms, the longevity of a building is very much linked to how much it will fetch in the resale market, or how long an investor can derive rental income from it.

From the point of view of personal use of a flat for occupancy, quality construction ensures that the owner will incur much lower maintenance and repair costs and enjoy its security and comfort for much longer.

The writer is chairman and managing director of Amit Enterprises Housing


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Printable version | Feb 18, 2022 11:10:14 am | https://www.thehindu.com/features/homes-and-gardens/how-to-keep-a-tab-on-the-quality-of-your-buildings-construction/article7433863.ece