To start a building construction project ,the client need to formulate the project idea based on the level of funding he or she has or can obtain from a lending institution.Once the project idea has crystallized and is feasible , the client will need to walk through four steps to get his or her project off the ground .The four steps are:
- Engage the design team
- Get approvals from County government
- Engage the construction team
- Prepare the site.
1.Engage the devices of the design team
This team ,depending on the size and complexity of the project will comprise the Architect,Structural engineer,Quantity surveyor and clerk of works.
The Architect will design the building based on your formulated project idea and deliver the building design drawings (see image above).The structural engineer will be called in ,if the stress and load of building are greater than that which may be expected to be exerted by a simple normal house.The engineer will calculate the weights of the construction material,people and equipment that will be housed in the building and the maximum wind force on building .These calculation are then used by the engineer to design the foundation,columns and beams, suspended floors and other structural parts of the building.The design drawings from the Architect and the Structural engineer may include the following:
- Exhibit A that will have Floor plan, Elevation plan, XX-section plan, and Roof plan.
- Exhibit B that will have a Septic Tank plan/drainage plan
- Exhibit C that will have Foundation layout, Column bases with steel details, Slab with steel details, and Beams details (specification according to project /structural Engineer).
The three drawing will have Architect, Struactural/Project engineer and Client information with their signatures appended thereto.
The drawing should take less than one week for a residential house and about once month for complex commercial buildings. Most Architects employ computer aided design in their work ,making it possible to speed up their work rate and deliver the drawing within agreed timelines .
The quantity surveyor being apart of the design team ,prepares the bill of materials that is consumed by the main contractor when pricing the work at hand. He or she will determine the size of areas and the quantities of materials needed based on the building design drawings.
Last but not least the Clerk of works is also engaged for large scale building constructions projects like malls and her or his work involves supervising the Contractors to ensure sound building practices are employed and the work progresses according to schedule.
2.Get approvals from County government
All building construction design drawings by the Architect and Structural engineer must be submitted to the County government Physical planning office for approval. This is to ensure structurally sound buildings that conform to (NCA) National Construction Authority’s minimum standards specifications and land use .It also ensure there is controlled and well planned development.The approval is meant to confirm that the building design, layout, construction method given the nature of the soil/ground , sewer system plans and access road are acceptable and meet minimum standards of sound building practices.
After the drawings have sailed through the approval process ,the client is required to pay the approval fees and receive IFMIS receipt. Then the Physical planning engineer, and public health officers signs and stamps on the drawings. This should take one week.
The NEMA (National Environmental Management Authority) stamp of approval and levies has been revoked by the National government and is no longer needed.Also the National Construction Authority(NCA) levies have been scraped off. Scrapping of these fees was a calculated move to encourage the private sector to invest more in building and construction sub-sector to meet the high demand for housing in the country in the face shortfall in supply.
3.Engage the contraction team
This comprise the people who do the work at a building construction site.Depending on the project complexity and size these people will include Main contractors,Sub-contractors,Estimator,Surveyor,Contractor supervisors,Site agent,General foreman,Trades foreman,Trades people ,Apprentices and Laborers.
Contractors are directly responsible for commencing the building construction project and working with all professional involved to get all necceassy work activities done on time and within budgets and hand over the Building to owners when all work is finished.The contractor is also answerable on all health and safety issues that may arise at a construction site.Compensation for the Contractor may come in the form of a signed contract for services rendered based on the cost of the building construction project. Alternatively the client and contractor may agree on daily service costing-in which case the client is required to pay the contractor for each day’s work in the evening at an agreed rate.
The estimator works on behalf of the main contractor and calculates the cost of the project based on the bill of material prepared by the Quantity surveyor.This is used by the contractor as tender document and is delivered to the client.
The surveyor work involves laying out the shape of the building on the ground before the actual construction starts.This ensure that the rooms, drive way and so on are located in the right places on the site.
Trades people are skilled personnel and may include, Masons,bricklayers, Carpenters ,Plumbers and Electrical works technicians.
Last but not least we have laborers among the construction team and are used at the construction site to do work that does not need special skills.
The trades people and laborers are hired by the contractor and carry out their duties under direction of experienced foremen.The working time for the contractor and his crew is from 7:00am to 5:00pm with one hour lunch break .
4.Prepare the site
This is the last step and involves first, removal of vegetation on the sites and fencing it off using barbed wire or second hand corrugated iron sheets.
Second build a makeshift project office.This should have at least three rooms, to provide working space for the contractors and other professional on the site , a space for safe keeping of work in process and unused materials and space for the site ‘s around the clock security personnel.
Finally remove the top soil from the sites because it contain organic matter that make it unsuitable for supporting the building’s foundation.This should be stored somewhere for use in landscaping latter or transported elsewhere for disposal.Once this is done you are ready to begin laying the foundation for your building construction project.
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