If you are not from a construction background, you probably won’t be aware of many terms related to the same. Therefore, you might not know the importance of groundworks in the construction of your buildings. Groundworks are a vital step and the very first one in the construction process of any building.
What is groundwork construction?
Groundworks cover a wide range of services, but in essence, it refers to the preparation of the sub-surfaces for the initiation of any construction project. It involves the initial excavation activities that eventually lead to the formation and laying down of the foundations.
Groundwork construction is the cornerstone of any project and includes the following activities,
The only step that might occur before the starting of groundworks is the demolition of the existing structure if any.
The first step in groundwork construction is the investigation of the site. It is a critical step in groundwork construction that involves the establishment of past uses of the land. It also involves figuring out the potential stability of the land in terms of supporting an entire structure and any other problems that might be associated with it.
The next step involves the clearance of the site that includes scraping and removing the topsoil. The top layers are sometimes required to be leveled to continue the construction process at the correct footing. Sometimes, stabilization is also required to prevent the collapse of a solid and sound structure.
Why is groundwork construction important?
The complete weight of your structure relies on the health and stability of the groundwork construction. Proper testing and construction are central to any process and thus remain vital. This provides a framework of the ground on which the structure will be built and the layout of the whole plan.
As the groundwork is such a critical part of the entire construction process, hiring the right and knowledgeable people for the job will save you a lot of time and effort. A responsible, trustworthy, and skillful professional groundwork contractor will do the job for you and save you all the headaches related to the job. Their expertise and past experiences with similar situations will come in handy for your project and deliver you the benefits, as opposed to cheap and subpar services.
What are the benefits of hiring a professional groundwork contractor?
The several key benefits that hiring a professional groundwork contractor will bring to the table are,
Whether you are a landowner or a contractor, dealing with all the frustrations that come with handling construction processes is not easy. There is a lot to manage, ranging from overseeing workers to completing the project on time without missing any deadlines, to a load of administrative responsibilities that come with the job. The time and effort required to manage the responsibilities associated with accessing, moving, and purchasing the right equipment are nowhere found.
Groundwork professionals have the right equipment required for all the related groundwork activities. This unquestionably eliminates the need to focus on the earth-moving equipment and its quality. These people know their way around this heavy and excessive machinery and possess the technical skills and know-how to use these during the right moment with unprecedented accuracy.
In today’s time, the construction and groundwork processes are hazardous and can prove to be the cause of many accidents and mishappenings. Numerous things can occur due to the absence of technical knowledge and experience handling such crucial matters. This includes any strange discovery underneath the surface, inappropriate use of expensive and significant tools, bad handling of heavy machinery, etc.
A professional knows about all the possible dangers associated with this line of work and is also aware of the possible ways to tackle such situations. They are knowledgeable and suitably prepared for any unexpected accident. They guard themselves and the property as long as the groundwork construction processes go on.
Professional contractors are well-equipped with both tools and skillset to handle multiple projects at once. They make sure to devote the required time to each project and handle each of them with full responsibility and care. They guarantee the completion of the tasks in a specified amount of time. They maintain legitimate and consistent speed in the delivery of their work while simultaneously keeping up with the quality of the same.
Sometimes, depending on a local or unprofessional contractor can cause unexpected delays and related problems in the future.
A professional contractor saves you cash and time. They save you any equipment rentals and extra time costs as they stick to the deadlines.
Any accidental mishap at the work site brings the pressure of clinical charges onto you, however, when you hire a professional contractor, you are relieved from this pressure. These contractors are insured, and thus you are free from any responsibility related to their harms or wounds that might happen at work.
With a professional groundwork contractor, all the work processes are carried out smoothly and seamlessly. The team and the contractor have had loads of hands-on experience in the past that helps them tackle any similar situations in your project.
They are also well aware of all legal constraints that help keep your property safe and secure from any legal action in the future. They also comply with all the environmental regulations inflicting as little damage as possible to the near surroundings.
These contractors are also well versed in various sectors of construction work and not just groundworks. Their expert advice and suggestions can help you in several other tasks related to your construction project.
They offer their services from the beginning of the project to the very end that results in fewer hurdles and on-time accomplishment of the plan. A systematic and comprehensive approach to the entire process results in an outcome that will maintain the structural integrity of the building in the time to come.
When you look closely through your house, you will understand what an engineer or expert spends so much time on. They focus on the foundations on which the entire house stands because if there are foundation problems, the whole structure is in danger.
If your foundation gets dislocated or damaged, it’s a serious concern. This is the time when you should hire an underpinning contractor to give his or her advice on how to strengthen the core and add stability to your building.
What are the reasons that might instigate the need for underpinning?
House contractors and experts rely on underpinning methods to stabilize the existing foundation and add strength to it. This is done either to remove the damaged foundation or to upgrade and restore its strength.
Some of the main reasons for you to get underpinning are,
A subtle crack can be observed whenever there are sudden movements in the tectonic plates below the surface of the Earth. This movement pushes the soil from its level and makes the rocks underneath it shatter. This ultimately results in an uneven surface which might be a reason for you to get underpinning.
If you want to build a basement below your existing structure, you will need to get underpinning done to build a fresh and stronger foundation.
If your previous construction processes did not use materials that were up to the mark, it might have an impact on the foundation. This will again require underpinning to build a firm structure.
Knowing well about the circumstances that cause the need for underpinning, you might want to hire an underpinning contractor.
Reasons why you shouldn’t delay hiring an underpinning contractor-
An underpinning contractor will find a solution to your budding problems. Some of the reasons for hiring them are,
An underpinning contractor will ensure that the quality of the materials used in the underpinning is the best. And, all the work is done complying with the safety regulations. They will also help you in identifying the right underpinning method depending upon the structure of your home.
Tips to select the best underpinning contractor-
There is a huge list of underpinning contractors that is available and it is important to separate the good from the bad. Certain tips to follow are,
The first useful and significant way to reduce the long list of contractors is to select those that have been certified as “Master Builders”. This small step helps you to find contractors who are licensed appropriately by the related authority and are supported by the peak industry body.
The simplest way to find such master builders is to go to the relevant state websites and it is easy as each state has its website. On the website, you can search for master builders under the appropriate categories and you will have your suggestions.
Once you have a small list of contractors that you would have made through the websites. The next step is to look for verified or verifiable customer reviews.
You can get access to these reviews either by searching on Google with the help of the right set of search keywords. Or you can simply go to Facebook or any other social media platforms of the company and read the reviews.
Also, if a certain company does not have any mentioned reviews, you can go to a third-party website and get your answers from there.
If you are unsure about the authenticity of the reviews, you can always ask the company to get you in touch with one or two of their previous customers. This will help you get a better understanding and also assist you in making an informed decision.
Once you have shortlisted your list even further, the next step would be to visit the websites of each underpinning company. This way you will get a better understanding of the complete process of how they go about the same.
This will help you get a feel of the working environment and their ethics and approach. This is also the time to go through their websites and find out other relevant information.
Once you have read about the process involved, the next step would be to shorten your list even further. This is done based on the type of underpinning that you wish to get.
Certain companies only provide the service to a few of the types and some others are capable of providing the service of all different types of underpinning.
Figuring out what you want and what suits your house best will help you narrow down the names of companies that you have.
The final step is to send an inquiry to the company and find out what their response is. This will help you figure out how friendly they are, how good their customer service is, and also how valuable their information is.
You can do this by sending an email, calling, or even filling out a form that is available on their websites.
This way you can finally decide which company you want to handle your projects and then you can get detailed information from them. After this, you can arrange a home visit and then come up with a quotation.
Henceforth, house underpinning projects should be carried out under the authority of a professional underpinning contractor from a reputed company. This will ensure to minimize any risks in the future and will give you guaranteed outcomes.
Benefits of Hiring Professional Piling Contractors
The most important process in construction is the laying down of the foundations. There are very few houses that can last without a strong and steady foundation in place. Else, it is considered best to have a strong foundation to have a lasting building.
With the advent of technology and innovation and depending upon the costs and budgets, there are numerous techniques available for laying a foundation and piling is one of them.
What is piling?
It is an old technique but with improvements in technology, it has now become one of the most popular methods of building foundations. It helps in transferring the load of the structure to a deeper level in the ground.
Depending upon the requirements of the building, you can hire an expert piling contractor to help you. To date, not many people are aware of the benefits of hiring a professional piling contractor. Reliable contractors ensure the best facilities and services for your building foundations.
Some of the benefits of hiring a piling contractor are -
A credible and dependable contractor will provide a clear report and review of the conditions of the land and soil before the beginning of the construction of the foundation. They check the soil to see if it can or cannot hold moisture and also check the stability of the existing foundation trenches.
The presence of these contractors can help you avoid any construction issues midway into the project. The added benefit of an expert working and reviewing your project is obviously unavoidable.
A piling contractor knows the best and the right choice of materials to be used. These contractors have experience with various projects and thus have expertise in the types of materials used. They depend on using high-quality materials as per the requirement of the project.
Quality service and products also ensure the structural integrity of the structure and thus prevent any major devastation like the collapse of the building in the future years. With the use of good quality piles, any compromise to the building and the people living in or nearby is averted.
This gives the clients assurance of receiving the best advice and recommendation on the materials that will be used for the foundation piling. For instance, a contractor would know that for building a skyscraper you need metal pieces and not timber just like they will know that timber is an important part of the equation while building a cottage-style home.
Constructing a foundation is a very time-consuming job and also requires a huge amount of resources. That is why we have expert contractors available who can do the same job in less time and with better outcomes.
They are well equipped with the knowledge and the resources to carry out the required job. A contractor ensures that all the tasks are carried out smoothly and swiftly and thus allows you to focus on other productive activities that you might have.
A professional piling contractor will give its customers customized services and solutions to ensure optimal customer satisfaction. They aim to give their customers precisely those services which have been agreed on by both the parties, i.e, the client and the contractor and its workers.
Personalization and customer satisfaction are very crucial to a professional contractor’s success in the real estate market. Thus, you can be assured that he or she will take the project very seriously and work with full dedication. As a customer you are allowed to raise any issue regarding any part of the job that you think has been carried out poorly or has some faults and that will be addressed mediately.
While hiring a professional contractor you are securing yourself and your property against any further legal accusations as the contractor takes care of it. Their workers are licensed and the piling work is insured and licensed as well.
The installations provided also have a guarantee and this safeguards your investment into the property.
Risk is a big part of any manual project. The law requires you to mitigate and insure the people working for you against any possible risk in the construction project. This task is not required to be done by you when you are working with a professional contractor as in that case it becomes the job and duty of the contractor to take care of all its workers.
The contractors focus on professionalism in their services and it is enhanced by the fact that they hired qualified and experienced people who have the skillset to deliver quality results. They have the necessary equipment to facilitate the process and focus on their area of expertise to deliver exemplary work.
A professional person can do a task in very little time as compared to amateurs. They work in a timely fashion and complete the project in time.
While making an investment in a professional contractor you live with peace of mind that the services that you are getting are up to the mark. You can entrust them with the complete project and get satisfactory results.
Apart from the benefits of hiring a professional piling contractor, you should also know about what to look for in a contractor which makes it a good fit for your project.
What to look for in a contractor before hiring?
Knowing the importance of a contractor, certain pointers should be checked before hiring a contractor. These are,
Given the importance of a foundation in any building project, the experience of the contractor is a crucial condition to keep in mind. Search for a contractor who has a track record to support the claims of him being good for your project.
Get a good look at the previous projects that the contractor has been a part of and make notes if he would be a good fit for the project that you have.
They need to have access to the equipment and tools required for the job. Some companies keep an inventory of these, which makes them affordable than those who buy the necessary equipment as and how the demand comes up based on the project.
Each area has its own legal jurisdictions and rules and regulations. You should check in advance that the contractor you are hiring satisfies all the legal requirements of your area.
Laying foundations is a crucial task in the process of building any structure and thus it is extremely important that the contractor offer guarantees for the work that he or she does.
The lives of people and the environment both are at stake if anything goes wrong and thus if there are any repercussions to be faced, the contractor should be held accountable for them.
Hiring the right contractor will in turn accomplish half the work involved in building piling foundations! So make this decision wisely.
There can be many reasons like having an extra room or an extra space for a home office or just a play area for children as to why someone would want to get a home extension. Whatever may be the reason, adding an extension to your house is always a good idea because when built correctly it adds value to your property and looks attractive.
Building an extension is an expensive project and takes a lot of time and manpower so it becomes important to consider a few points in advance of diving into the project. Some of these are,
What do you want?
Before any planning, hiring, and construction it is important to have a clear idea of what exactly do you want to be done in the extension of the house. Adding space seems a very good idea but it is a waste if you can't maximize the utility of the space that you have. The best way is to have a vision of what to do and think of some ideas before you hire a specialist so that you know what you want and you are not forced to just accept what the architect or the engineer says.
Budget and cost -
Having big and fancy ideas for your house is a good idea, however, you need to know how much money you have before you plan grand and lavish designs for the house. While setting a budget, be realistic about how much the construction will cost but also put a full stop at how much you can spend on the same.
Once the budget is set, you will start getting quotes for the project because it is important to know how much it will cost beforehand. If your budget doesn’t match the cost of the project, it is best to wait for a while and save some cash to get what you want and not just some designs that you don’t even like.
Homeowners must ensure that any renovations or extensions made in the house have been approved by the local authorities responsible. Once they have permitted your project after assessment of the site, you are good to go and start the dream extension that you have thought of.
Sometimes permission is not required so it is suggested that people stay informed about the process in their states and work accordingly.
Hire an architect -
To fulfill your ideas of a perfect extension, it is suggested that you hire an architect. To hire the right architect it is also important for you to know what you want as that will decide what kind of architect you hire.
The right architect will put all your ideas into the best possible design so make sure to brief them vividly even about things that you consider are not told. They will also use their expertise and guide you to make better decisions if required and will give you technical information as well.
Talk to neighbors -
Though there is no legal obligation for you to tell or inform your neighbors about any ongoing or future building activities that you do in your own house, however, it is nice if you keep them in the loop. It is better to give them a heads-up as any major or even a small construction activity can cause disruption and inconvenience in the lives of your neighbors.
Informing them early avoids any major conflicts down the road in the process of house extension.
It is a good idea if you take a good look at your insurance and see what it covers and what it does not as it might be possible that the insurance does not cover the costs of the construction of the extension or even the extension once it is completed.
You must check that in case of any eventualities, both the existing and the new property is covered under the insurance.
What is the total time taken for the work to be completed?
A typical extension project from the beginning to the end depends on multiple factors some of which can be controlled and some are just out of our hands. If the project overruns its time course, you might end up paying more than what had been pre-decided.
It is considered best if you and the contractor both set a timeline and stick to it to avoid any extra costs and to keep the builders on track. This step is also important in cases where people are required to move out of their houses as they would want to come back as soon as possible and having a set date to do so makes it easier for them.
Move out or not?
This depends on the scale of extension and development that your house is undergoing. If you’re having a small extension done you might be able to stay in your house throughout the building as it might not cause too much disruption in your day-to-day activities.
However, if you are having a particularly large extension, you might have to leave the house as it will cause a lot of trouble and havoc in your daily lives. Also, you might want to check in with your builders once as to what they are comfortable with because if your staying hampers their productivity in any way then it is best if you leave.
So these are some of the important points that one should keep in mind while thinking of a home extension. This will help you have all the basic information and knowledge that one should have before getting involved in a big project like this. Keeping these in mind will ensure a successful extension project in your home.
Building a house is a long and tiring process and it is not just about four walls that are visible, however, it is the foundation that supports the whole building and distributes its entire weight so that there is no unequal settlement of the plot leading to damage of the structural integrity.
The type of foundation that one chooses depends upon the type of soil that you are laying your building into. The steps of building a foundation can vary at every level, however, some certain points and marks are never skipped, some of which are,
Survey and preparation of the site -
Generally carried out by a professional surveyor who visits the site and analyzes it for any damage that has been done previously and then they also take appropriate steps to correct it. They also work towards ensuring that the building work to be done on the site is all according to the code of construction and is not violating any terms of it.
Excavation and foundations -
This step can be skipped if the land that you have chosen to build on has already had buildings on it. However, if you are the first one to make any constructional changes to the site then it is time to bring certain heavy movers and machines to come and shape the landscape.
A structural engineer is required to measure the depth of excavation required at the site and for the process to come to completion it can take a few to several days. Removing any pebbles, stone, or material that can hamper the process of construction is removed in this step.
Just as important excavation is, foundations are much more important and are legally required to be done in any building. Depending on the type of foundation that you have decided to get installed, different steps are carried out to lay them.
Waterproofing is an important part at the foundational level as concrete which is most commonly used in this process is not waterproof and hence can cause a build-up of moisture and termites which can damage the foundation. Building a sealed and water-resistant membrane at this level can be effective in sealing the water below and above the surface of the foundation, thus keeping it intact.
Construction of basements, garages, or cellars is also carried out at this step itself as they are built at a partially submerged level as compared to the house.
Foundations and fittings are the horizontal support system of the house whereas frames are the vertical support. It is the outlines built by the carpenter wherein walls, roof systems, and the floor systems are completed. Actual walls are not built at this level, however, if you walk around the interior you will get a feel of it.
A carpenter is one of the most important persons that will be working on your house so it becomes a golden rule to stick with a reputed and experienced carpenter. Floor timber is laid down and across the walls as the first step here and then built upwards which resembles the basic rectangular structure of the walls. Once they are erected, each of the footings is then secured by metal strappings to make sure that they don’t fall and cause any harm to the project and the people working.
Once the walls are designed and the basic floor and boardings for the door are in place, work on the roof framing starts in which the basic outlining structure for roof slating is erected. Waterproofing is carried out at this stage as well, however, it is not the same as that for the ground membrane.
Later in this stage, strand boards are installed into the timber gaps thus providing a backbone to the interior and exterior of the house walls. Windows and doors are installed later by the carpenter at the ease of construction.
This is the time to purchase the utilities and cabinets that you want to install in your building and immediately slot them in the construction process at the comfort of the carpenters and other workers.
Work on the exteriors -
Now that all the backbones have been settled and done, it is time to design and ideate the exterior of the house.
The drywall is taped and the texturing is also done, finishing touches around the veneer are completed. A primer coat of paint is applied once the drywall has been completely taped.
The roof is also flashed with metal or lead to avoid any leakage or seepage into the house. This is also the right time to think about any additions that you might want to make in the house like a terrace or balcony.
Work on the interiors
Once all the exterior work has been finished, it is time to focus on the designing of the interior looks of the house and working on the idea of what you might want to install or add in the interiors as this is the place of your house that you will spend most of your time at.
Electrical fixtures, phone lines, plumbing, sewage, drainage, pipes and wires, water lines, etc, are paid attention to at this level. These systems are not installed at this stage, however, the basic wires and groundwork are laid out.
Insulation is again an important part of this step and must be paid attention to. It is a quick process and can be carried out without much expertise, however, if forgotten it can cause trouble after the project.
The plasterboard is laid out, flooring is done, and any painting or further installations required are also finished at this step.
Clean out -
The house is complete now, yay! As a result of the constitution process that was done in this place, there will be a lot of tidying and cleaning up to do which is done as a last step. Now is the time to work on landscaping the whole house according to whatever you want and however you like.
Building a strong foundation is the start to building a strong house and if you follow these important steps you will have a support structure that will ensure the structural integrity of the house and keep it intact for many years to come.