My experiences of house construction

Oct 24, 2010

Concrete mix laying

If a vendor tells you that the equipment you have just bought is test and working and he will immediately return if it did not work never believe him and insist for a test run. On a sunny Sunday morning concrete mix spread (1:4:8 or 4:1:8 or whatever) work was to start. Had bought the water pump motor on Thursday because markets in Rawalpindi are close on Friday and on Saturday I had a full day at office.

On Sunday morning I reached the site at 7:40 am. Unloaded the motor and placed in on the head of underground trunk and when hooked to power it did not start and caused a burnt fuse. The fuse was redone and this time there was a whining noise but no movement. Called the shop from where it was bought and he said electrician would come late and if I could bring the motor to shop, it can be checked and if necessary replaced right on the spot.

I took the motor and after waiting for about 10 minutes an attendant checked it and found that the fan fins were lose and were causing the jamming. Once screws were tightened and spindle was moved by hand, it came to life. I took back the motor and when it started pumping water another problem was encountered. The hose pipe was shrunk on suction, but since it was one horse power motor it did the job well noiselessly. At the end of the day got this hose replaced with a hard black one.

Seven laborers who came with the mixer machine and our regular three (one of them an aged man) did a fine job with untiring fast pace. I paid for their tea and lunch and they were happy to mix and pour a thick layer of concrete on 2800 sq feet area. The sand, gravel and 70 bags of cement cost me more than 60,000 PKR. Tomorrow will go to I-9 sector to purchase steel bars. One steel factory is offering special discount to Media Town, so will try that.

Overall the day was not as touch as I was fearing. Contractor also returned from Bahawalpur after resolving his family issues.

My dear car is getting dirtier as there is lot of dust it has to drive through and I have been left with no energy to keep it clean :-( Have traveled 1,500 kilometers since the project started.

October 25, 2010

Concrete mix laying

This online banking is a farce, never works when you need it most. Nothing in Pakistan is without any snag, hitch or glitch. Had to travel to my branch in Aabpara Market for cash, as the one near my home could not fetch my signature on their "system."

Today's mission was to purchase some 4,150 kilogram re-bars or sariya from Ittehad Steel in I-9 sector. They are offering special discount to Media Town. Paid some 253,000 rupees in the morning and the stuff was delivered by them on site in the afternoon. It was a hassle-free. Contractor and sariya work supervisor recommended to buy from factor instead of local vendors as they think that all of them are big cheats as they measure less amount of steel and their quality is not that good.

I was told at the factory that I could book the steel bars now and protect myself from impending rise in steel prices because the government is going to stop natural gas supply to industry and in that case they will have to switch to furnace oil which will in turn cause price hike. If I book in next couple of days, means pay full amount in advance, I will get the same price on booking day and in case the prices dropped, I will get lower price. Seems good option and they accept cross cheques as well, which means some withholding tax saving.

The freighter was lost in the way a bit, but I guided him through cell phone and the truck reached the site.

Also got a frantic call by contractor to come to the site immediately as he was marking the bed for laying raft foundation. He had some problem with the measurement and I asked him to follow what was on the paper and then he understood and did not bother again.

October 26, 2010

Steel arrivesMarkings for raft foundation

Checked the site before office and met contractor. He was happy with the quantity and quality of steel re-bars. He had marked the bed with red lines on which raft is to built with concrete and steel.

October 27, 2010

Steel work for raft foundation begun. Went to site around 3.00pm after finishing office. Ordered 100 bags of cement, a truck load each of sand and gravel. Got an estimate for steel requirement for the roof so that I can book early as prices are going to be increased in the wake of gas loadshedding.