Whether you are constructing a hut shelter with leaves, a dog house or a bungalow with dozens of rooms and bathrooms, learning how to build a house can be a daunting task except you are a professional.
Before you can start to build a house, you must have settled the basic requirements of acquiring your land, paying all necessary dues and levies that may include titles, survey plans, building plans, approval layouts and so on.
You must, of course, start from the foundation as this is the most important component of any building. If the foundation is faulty, there is little to what amendments can be done on the house.
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You may decide to get the house plan designs before or after purchasing the land. You would no doubt need the help of trained personnel in the field such as architects, builders, planners and engineers. It is important for you to be closely involved in the design process.
At the design stage of building a house, some things you need to focus on are listed below:
- The number of bedrooms: You need to consider the purpose for which the house is being built. For a family home with the possibility of expansion, it is economical to add a room during the initial construction then to remodel or build an addition later.
- The number of bathrooms: For every room, there should be at least a bathroom. Bathrooms are inclusive of toilets except in the case of visitor’s toilet which sometimes is built with just a toilet.
- Utility areas: Laundry room, store, garage and other utility areas that would help in managing chores in the house must also be put into consideration.
- Special function rooms: Maybe your lifestyle is such that requires rooms to fit in for special functions such as a formal dining, an office space, a library, you need to note this.
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In designing the house and determining the position to place the house, take care to note the following:
- Access: What routes will be used for the driveway? The slope of the house? Are there areas that are likely to be flooded during raining season, make sure to raise that area during construction.
- Windows and Ventilation: Where do you want the living room to face? What view would you love to wake up to? When building a home, you should consider facing the windows towards the most appealing view or area with more wind.
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If you don’t know much about how to build a house, it is better to work with trained craftsmen to ensure quality work. Employing the services of a professional builder makes the building process seamless. However, if you desire to be the project manager, then here is a checklist of the people and steps to building a house.
- Site workers in charge of clearing and grading the land
- Foundation workers such as carpenters, labourers and concrete finishers
- Weathering in, sheathing, roofing, exterior doors and windows.
- Cabinet makers
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning installers
- Flooring installers
- Painters, trim, finish carpenters
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A firm foundation which includes the soils, as well as the structures placed to support the home, are what constitutes a good home construction project. A shifting sand, mucky soil or unstable earth aren’t the best to build a land on as they will likely fail over a short period of time unless they are built on special foundations. Carrying out a proper soil test to determine the load it can bear and what type of foundation would suit the area is advisable.
For swampy areas prone to flooding, the house should be constructed on elevated foundations so the lowest floor is above anticipated flood levels.
Depending on the water levels or severity of flooding in such areas, there are different types of foundations that can be used such as raft foundation, pile foundation. In banana Island of Lagos for example, a massive sand filling is usually done before the commencement of the foundation.
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For stable and firm grounds a regular foundation is all that would be required like a shift or strip foundation.
You should take into cognizance the type of materials to be used when building a house. The type of cement, aggregate and sand to be used, iron rods for the foundation. Materials for exterior walls and roof, the type of wood to be used for all wood jobs, type of paint to be used for both interior and exterior, the quality of pipes to be used for electrical wiring and plumb jobs among others. You should pay close attention to detail here because sometimes contractors may not be totally honest.
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THE BUILDING PROCESS
Ever wonder how your house was built? Further down are the steps to building a house from the ground up. These steps are not detailed but it will give you a general knowledge of the building construction process from start to finish.
After the site has been cleared of all the vegetation or debris removed, the next process is for work to commence on the foundation. After this comes the block work to start up the walls and laying off the floor depending on the floor type you want (slab or beam). Make sure the plumbing pipes have been passed before slab or concrete is poured.
When the walls are erected, provision must be made for pipes to run within them either for electrical or running water and spaces left for the windows to come in later. Once the wall has been raised to the desired height which is usually 3metres in height then comes the roof trusses and ceiling joists. If it’s more than a storey you wish to construct at this stage you do another decking (slab or thick concrete). Once the entire roof is erected, then the roofing sheets can be installed. This can be aluminium sheets, asbestos sheets or metal roofing sheets. When all this is in place, installation is next. All installation for the electrical outlets and plumbing (install pipes for potable water, waste drains, drain vents alongside the installation of air conditioning and heat, ductwork, air handlers and refrigerant piping if required. Insulation of the walls, floors, ceilings and duct works follows this.
Doors and windows can be installed as well. Next is the installation of ceiling boards or POP. You would also install the bath tub, wash hand basin, kitchen sink, shower enclosures and any other large plumbing fixtures that will interface with finished walls. Install the main electrical box and install wiring from these to each device or outlets. You will plaster, paint, and install wall coverings on any walls that require it. Trim out the electrical devices, install lights and other fixtures, install breakers in panel boxes if they were not pre-installed.
Basic kitchen storage cabinets and bathroom cabinet for a sink, other cabinets like bar, upper storage cabinets would also be needed. The plumbing fixtures should be installed, trimmed out and sealed where necessary. Flooring can either be tiles, granite or marble and in some cases wood finishing for the living and general area and ordinary floor tiles for the kitchen, floor and wall tiles for the bathroom.
Painting is done with two to three coats of paint both for the interiors and exteriors. All electrical installations must be tested for possible faults likewise the plumbing for leakages and unforeseen faults before the house is handed over.
Finally, you need to move in, decorate your house and throw a housewarming party!