Planning for new project? Here is 10 key construction tips which may help you in achieving better quality and finishes.
Wall plasters that have unsightly cracks and spoilt interior/exterior finishes are quite common. Here’s how you can avoid it:
- Plastered surfaces develop cracks and sometimes disintegrate due to lack of proper adhesion.
- Surface preparation plays a vital role in ensuring the adhesion. The surface should be free from any loose particles, dust etc., and the joints between the bricks/blocks should be properly raked.
- Lean mixes are preferred for plastering as rich and weaker mixes tend to develop cracks.
- Normally, plastering should be done in two coats leaving adequate time between the coats.
Well-made concrete may go waste if it is not compacted well into place and cured inadequately. Here’s how you should go about with the compacting:
- Improper compaction reduces the strength and hence the durability, due to the presence of air voids.
- Over compaction leads to segregation and movement of cement paste upwards, making it weak.
- Effective compaction results in closer packing of ingredients, leading to denser concrete.
- Curing should start early and should be continued for a sufficient period to ensure that it develops the desired strength and doesn’t crack.
- Avoid intermittent curing as it is harmful.
Reinforcement bars are a vital component of RCC. It’s important to choose the right steel and place it right to prevent cracking or even destruction of the RCC members.
- When you’re procuring steel, make sure you get it from a reputed manufacturer.
- Wrongly positioned reinforcement bars are ineffective and lead to the failure of RCC elements.
- While joining the bars, adequate lap length should be maintained and the laps should be staggered.
- Ensure that there is no congestion of reinforcement bars and that the bars have sufficient concrete cover.
Centering and formwork
Weak and unstable centering and formwork may lead to injuries/loss of life in addition to material loss. Here’s how centering and formwork should be done:
- Centering should be strong enough to hold the fresh concrete till it hardens.
- To ensure stability, centering should be supported at specified intervals with props that are adequately braced.
- Gaps between the centering sheets should be sealed to prevent leakage of slurry, which otherwise would result in honeycombed concrete.
Masonry Walls/Brick Work
You house will not be considered safe if its walls are not strong and sturdy. You need to adhere to the following tips:
- Bricks/blocks should be laid on a full bed of mortar.
- The joints should be fully filled and packed with mortar.
- Vertical joints should be staggered.
- The brick work should be cured well to make it strong.
Poor quality aggregates will result in inferior concrete thus affecting the durability of the structure. Here are some handy pointers you need to keep in mind:
- Aggregates should be hard, strong, chemically inert and free from harmful materials.
- If flaky and elongated coarse aggregates/jelly are present in excess quantities, it leads to low concrete strength.
- Cubicle and rough textured aggregates are preferred over other types.
- Sand should be free from silt, clay lumps, mica, etc.
- Presence of any of the aggregates in excessive quantities adversely affects the setting, hardening, strength and durability of concrete.
Cement is highly sensitive to moisture. On exposure to moisture, it becomes hard. Here’s how cement should be stored:
- Cement should be stored in water-proof sheds/buildings.
- For temporary storage at sites, cement bags should be stacked on a raised dry platform and covered with tarpaulins/polythene sheets.
Termite infestation can weaken structures and damage wooden surfaces. Start the anti-termite treatment before the construction begins. Here’s what you need to know to keep your home free of termites:
- The soil around the foundation should be treated up to the plinth level with appropriate chemicals.
- The chemical barrier should be continuous and complete.
- Treatment can be done pre, during and post construction stages.
- Care should be taken to ensure that the chemicals do not contaminate the domestic water sources.
Marking and Excavating the Foundation
- Ensure correct marking of the foundations for new walls so that they are the right size and in the right position to bear the weight of the wall.
- Obtain the layout plan/centre-line drawing from the engineer and establish the centre-line of the longest outer wall of the building as a reference line between the pegs driven into the ground.
- Mark all trench excavation lines with respect to the centre lines of walls.
- Ensure that the excavation done is true to levels, slope, shape and pattern.
- Consolidate the bed of excavation by watering and ramming. Soft or defective spots should be dug out and filled with concrete.
- Brace the sides of excavation with tight shoring work for deep excavations to avoid collapsing of the sides of the excavation area
If the foundation of your building is poor, then the entire structure will collapse or sink. Keep these pointers in mind to ensure a strong foundation:
- The foundation should rest on firm soil and it should be taken to a minimum depth of 1.2m from the ground level.
- If the soil is loose and/or if the excavation depth is more, the sides of excavation should be supported to prevent it from collapsing.
- The area of the foundation should be sufficient to transfer the load safely to the ground on which it rests.
- The area of foundation depends on the load carrying capacity of soil. It is important to mark the location and size of the foundation before excavation.
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