I’ve read a lot of horror stories about contractors. Particularly if the job isn’t going well. Everyone requires a home and a safe haven where they can live comfortably with all of basic pleasures and have convenient access to health, education, hospitals, and other services. A new plot owner who wants and needs to build a house must first educate themselves about how to do so.
My building fund has been depleted. I did blame the contractor whom I gave the job. However, I have realized that I did not educate myself even though I had capital and funds to invest. However, I have come to realize that the checks and balances in Pakistani society are not up to par. I can easily blame any contractor and continue to be fooled by another contractor and then lose my construction funds. It is up to the plot owner to educate themselves at a minimum level so that they are not being fooled by contractors.
Usually, in Pakistan, we are not educated by our families about constructing a house. The majority of Pakistanis have more job experience as a whole as compared to being a businessperson. In fact, a businessperson is also doing a customer’s job. A businessperson’s boss is the customer and the customer is king. We really don’t go into micro details to find out about the construction industry. We want readymade solutions. Keep in mind that you need to know what’s inside the solution that contractors are selling.
Who are the contractors?
A Contractor can be anyone who gets the contract for any work to conduct the work at a defined location. It’s an event and a project. Contractors usually manage the project by themselves, but sometimes they hire project managers and supervisors depending on the work scale. An experienced contractor would tell you the price per square foot. Some contractors, would actually take a whole project and give you one lump sum price.
We can say that an owner is outsourcing a house or a building construction to someone who manages communication, construction related work, labour, materials, vendor and client coordination, and the list is vast.
In the construction industry, contractors hire labour to do any kind of job on daily wages. These wages can be of any skill set depending on what work is given to them. The labour can be very highly technical work or simply moving bricks from one location to another location. Sometimes, contractors have their own team as employees. Large construction companies do pay their administration, contractors, project managers, supervisors, and labour on a monthly basis. You can think of constructing a house as a project. You have to define each construction part of the project as a separate unit. Each separate unit will require a different skill set of labour. Owners can outsource one unit or the whole project.
R & J Enterprises Contractors
Muzdoor.pk works with several contractors and builders. One of them is R & J Enterprises. You can view their Facebook page. They are a residential and commercial builder established in year 2012 and mainly working with clients in the D.H.A. and the Clifton area of Karachi. They specialize in renovation and upgrades with a highly skilled and professional team of workers along with project management.
They did a floor polish job for one of the clients. You will be surprised to see the results. First, the floor had glue marks around the walls and corners on each wall. These marks were actually black colors and were not shiny surface. Second, we had to bring in the grinding machine for polish and we did the job in two weeks as the floor was a mess. We spent more time because the first attempt did not go well. Last, but not least, this was a 3-day job, but we did it in two weeks time really see the best results.
The Client was surprised by the way he handled the job and the result was amazing Al Hamdolillah.
It’s all about communication, respect and trust. It also depends on what the customer needs. A contractor must not assume that the client will like the job as the contractor requires. You, as a client, must know what exactly you are trying to do. Most of the jobs any where can be handled with simple back to back communication.
Where do owners make mistakes with Contractors in Pakistan?
As said earlier, 99.9% of the owners in Pakistan who require construction from the ground up are neither construction educated nor do they want or need to. They need to educate themselves. There is a difference between a want and a need. Construction related education is not offered in any schools or universities, rather it is a necessity to educate yourself. Owners simply can’t rely on any contractors or anyone to get the job done. It is the owner’s responsibility to secure the construction site, construction materials and human resources involved in the project.
Owners must start educating themselves at least six (6) months prior to the start of the construction at the site.
What is involved in construction?
Construction has several factors involved. An individual needs to be educated and then it depends on the type of construction is required at the construction site. Furthermore, keep in mind that the more labour you hire gets the job done faster and more managers are required to manage them. One contractor can only handle a maximum of three labour. As an owner, you are a decision maker and not the contractor. The owner must steer the contractor instead of the other way around.
Moreover, an owner has to be steadfast in their decisions as contractors, neighbours, passersby, and relatives will give their own helpful tips. Their tips may work or may not work since each project is different. Constructing a building or a house is a science and you really can’t make judgments out of the blue.
When someone invests cash in residential construction; it also becomes a family event. The household will get involved in saving costs. The household owners, who are usually both husband and wife, will make the decision. Nevertheless, the new ideas from the new generation will never hurt to take over the decisions. Especially when it comes to architectural diagrams. The architects are very creative and can make a small location look big. The time and money you will invest in the architect will pay off throughout the construction process. That is why I insist on visiting an architect once and sitting down with them and discussing your ideas. After all, you are investing in where you will live with your family and it must have a synergy to it.
- Read your assigned plot marking diagram very carefully on a daily basis. Take time and be slow.
- Understand the difference between a plot marking diagram and an architectural diagram.
- Understand the terminology and wording used in the diagrams.
- Go to architects to create an architectural diagram.
- Do not make your own architectural diagram since there are several diagrams involved.
- Architectural diagrams will have electrical system layout, gutter system layout, iron bars layout, bricks layout, and more.
- Understand local city codes and fire codes.
- Have a backup contingency plan.
- Record your actions, communications, and costs of everything from visiting construction sites, spending time with architects, contractors, shopping for building materials, talking to people, and more.
Cost involved in the project startup
There are several costs associated with the project’s inception. I am only discussing a few. However, the contractor should guide you through properly. Having said that, you should guide the contractor and not the other way around.
Be proactive and start recording your notes about costs and communications. Get a copy or register reserved for this project. You can even use a Personal Computer (PC) or your smart phone and any device.
- Each diagram was by an architect.
- Government cost to have the diagrams passed. You need government approval to erect a building.
- Cleaning and debris removal from the plot or from the demolished building.
- Removing of any trees. Try not to remove any trees unless they are in between the work. You can always work around the trees. Have some respect for nature.
- Sand to fill the ground and water tanks to have it leveled.
- Iron bars with iron wires that can hold iron bars together to make a structure
- Cement, sand, water, and machine mixture rented on-site or pre-fabricated and ready-to-pour cement
- Security guard or a chokidar at the construction site
- Go to physical sites on a daily basis and visualize your success as a home owner.
- Learn how to make decisions on the spot.
When we have money or funds, we make decisions very easily since we can cover the expenses and costs. However, when things go wrong, we humans make decisions rapidly. Why is that? The reason is that an average plot owner does not have a backup plan if they are out of funds or if any emergency has occurred at the construction site. Having said that, I want to talk about being emotional about the project or when the project goes completely wrong. Our brain stops working and a chemical reaction in our brain signals us to stop work or go high in emotions with the contractor and the labour.
Instead, the owner must play a calm game. Why? Simply, because this is the time if you really need to keep the contractor or remove the contractor. Don’t let the contractor know your decisions. The contractor must ask you all the time what the next step is. Don’t let the contractor tell you what the next step is.
Muzdoor.pk can handle any residential or commercial projects. If you would like to work with an educated and experienced contractor, then please contact us. Let us take the guess work out of the play.