15 Basic Steps of Construction

Constructing your own home or project can be overwhelming as you want it to be perfect – free of flaws as much as possible. You might find yourself often asking the question, “Where and how do I start constructing my project?” In this article, I am going to show you the 15 Basic Steps of Construction.

In this episode, I will walk you through the fifteen (15) simple and easy-to-follow steps in constructing your project.

basicstepsofconstruction

Before diving into these basic steps of construction, you should first ensure that you have enough budget for your project. A project that has been properly budgeted will guarantee that your dream house or building will be done in no time with little to no hassle. If you feel confident with your construction budget, let’s dig into the 15 basic steps of constructing your project.

1. DESIGN OF YOUR PROJECT

Find an engineer to design your house and an architect to design the architectural trade of your project.

For other important parts of your home such as plumbing and electrical plans, this must be signed and sealed by a respective and licensed professional before submitting it to the building official of your municipality in order to obtain a building permit.

If you intend to have the wall of your project to be firewalled, it’s best to ask for the consent of the neighborhood.

2. APPLY FOR A BUILDING PERMIT

After obtaining a copy of the plans of your project – from architectural, structural, plumbing, electrical, mechanical plans to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), and you’ve sought consent from the neighborhood, you should submit these documents to the building official of your municipality.

You should make sure that the lot or land where your building is to be constructed is titled. The building official will not accept untitled lot or land. If you are holding a certificate or rights of lot or land from any homeowners association or lot or land given from the government you should consult the national housing authority or any government institution that can assist you to have your lot or land be titled.

Please note that this is one of the most important basic steps of construction.

3. MOBILIZE

Before mobilizing, you should prepare a mobilization layout plan to indicate the location of offices, stores, parkings, access roads, and the project area.

If you’re a contractor and the project awarded to you already received a notice to proceed, then this is the appropriate time to mobilize your equipment, staff, and materials to get started with the project.

4. CLEARING AND GRUBBING

After mobilization, you may now start with cleaning and grubbing. This includes cutting trees and removing obstructions inside and outside the project area.

There are a couple of equipment that you may use for this step – a dozer if there’s unevenness on the area and a backhoe if there are coconut trees or fruit trees in the project’s area.

Before you start clearing make sure you properly established the boundaries of the lot or land so you won’t get in trouble when you over-cleared and cut some trees of the neighboring property.

5. CONSTRUCT BOARD UP OR TEMPORARY FENCE

Once cleared, you may now start installing your board-up or temporary fence. This is to ensure that only official personnel may enter the premises of your project and at the same time protect civilians nearby the project area.

The board-up or temporary fence may install outside the boundary of your lot you just have to ensure that the owner of the adjacent property permits you to do so otherwise, install the board-up or temporary fence just exactly on the boundary.

6. BUILD TEMPORARY FACILITIES AND UTILITIES

To accommodate the needs of your staff, it’s ideal to build temporary facilities such as but not limited to canteens, comfort rooms, materials and equipment room.

For power and water supply, you should coordinate with the city’s respective suppliers accordingly.

7. LAYOUT

The next step would be surveying the area using total station and some are using a global positioning system or what we called Global Position System or GPS as this instrument gets higher accuracy because its data is communicated from the satellite.

However, if you find the equipment quite expensive, alternative equipment that you may use are theodolite and dumpy level.

The traditional approach in doing the layout is to use a level hose and steel meter. However, bear in mind that the traditional approach may only be used for small projects such as single storey three (3) bedroom house, small tower, and warehouse.

The surveying instruments are also required to be calibrated every 6 months to ensure no error of the survey data. The quality or civil engineer should maintain the log of the surveying instruments to monitor them.

Provide batter board for small projects, that is to be used for reference of leveling of the footing foundation and marking gridlines. The gridlines must be placed along with the batter board in order to easily identify by the engineers the location of a particular column.

The batter board should be installed either 1 or 1.5 meters around the boundary of the building.

8. EXCAVATION

Once the layout has been completed, it’s time to do the excavation. Excavating depends on your preferred foundation – from isolated footing, combined footing, to mat foundation or raft foundation. For isolated footing of a residential house manual excavation is advisable but for those footing consist of 5 cubic meters and above an excavator is required such as backhoe, payloader etcetera. It is best to follow the method statement for excavation and backfilling works you can not be lost when you follow this document.

The most commonly used types of foundation in building a house are isolated footing and combined footing, raft, and mat foundation for large projects such as building a 15 storey apartment, malls, mixed-used buildings, skyscrapers. Nonetheless, the structural design of the foundation will always depend on the strata underneath it by way of soil analysis.

Some municipalities require soil analysis for a building project with 3 floors and above.

For shallow foundations such as isolated footing or combined footing, place the excavated soil 1 meter away from the batter board so that it will not create additional weight on adjacent unexcavated soil that can create erosion.

For mat foundation at depth of 3m, shoring is recommended to construct and provide concrete blocks where waterproofing membrane is to be laid on.

9. MEP WORKS

It’s required that you hire a Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (M E P) contractor or M E P engineer in the procurement of M E P materials as there will be electrical and plumbing works involved such as installation of grounding rod, grounding wire, and PVC pipes before pouring concrete on the foundation area.

At basement area drainage pipe will be installed and the pipe should a slope of 1 is to 10 it means that for every meter length there should be 10mm drop.

10. POURING CONCRETE FOUNDATION

Prior to pouring the soil underneath the foundation shall be compacted followed with application of anti-termite. When application of the anti-termite is completed you should make sure it will be covered by a 1000 gauge polythene sheet. The PCC or what we also called plain cement concrete has a specified strength of 20 Mpa shall be poured on the laid polythene sheet. Prior to concrete pouring spot levels shall be placed at 2 to 3 meters distance with a right thickness monitored by a surveyor.

If the foundation is above the water table you may apply a bituminous waterproofing on the PCC at least two layers. The application of bituminous shall be perpendicular to its direction. Applying the 2 layers of bituminous waterproofing in a similar direction is not acceptable.

If the foundation is below the water table, it is advisable to use a waterproofing membrane 4mm in thickness. A primer shall be applied first on the PCC in order to ensure good bonding between the PCC and the membrane.

In order that the waterproofing membrane is properly protected, blinding or lean concrete with a specified strength of 25 Mpa shall be poured over it thus keeping the waterproofing away from encroaching steel bars that may damage it.

Polythene sheet can be used for protection of the waterproofing membrane only if when the is no heavier structure above it such us isolated footing, combined footing etc.

When the installation of formworks and rebars for the foundation and starter bars for column and walls are completed, the next step would be pouring the concrete foundation.

However, make sure that the M E P contractor or MEP engineer was able to checked embedded electrical conduits, grounding rod and wire, and drainage PVC pipe when the foundation is under the parking area at basement.

11. BACKFILLING

Seven (7) days after pouring the concrete, you may start doing the backfilling. Before starting this step, make sure that there’s no wooden cut pieces, concrete debris, and boulders are mixed with the backfilling material.

Backfilling must be layered in accordance with the governing standard or specification, hence, every layer has to be compacted to 95% of max dry density.

In order to achieve the required degree of compaction, you should ensure that the backfilled soil is properly compacted with a vibratory roller of compacter or whichever is usable. Compaction test shall be followed there must be 2 tests per 500sqm of area but specifications may vary so ensure to check your project specification.

Just a tip, watering before compaction will help the soil to shrink and settle well.

12. CONSTRUCTION OF GROUND FLOOR SLAB

After the underground backfilling, you may now commence with the construction of the ground floor slab. The layers for ground floor slab consist of MEP rough-ins such as PVC for wastewater and waterline, and engineered or granular fill which should be compacted to 100% MDD (maximum dry density).

Once the degree of compaction has been reached, you may start laying either reinforcing bars or wire mesh.

In a huge project with depth foundation, when shoring is used for plot boundary protection, it should be advisable that after pouring the ground floor slab the shoring can be removed.

13. BUILDING THE FRAMING SUPERSTRUCTURE (Most important in one of the basic steps of construction)

This is one of the biggest steps in your construction journey as you have to do the following – install fabricated reinforcement on the columns, pouring it with high-grade concrete cement between 20 MPa to 60 MPa or 80MPa for high-rise buildings.

If you’re working on a project that has several floors, you should install formworks for your beam and first-floor slab or mezzanine, formworks at these areas can be installed after pouring the concrete columns.

The vertical supports underside of the slab shall be spaced at minimum of 1 meter apart in either x and y direction. Formworks must be designed structurally in order to ensure safety, especially during pouring concrete.

Just a tip, you should spray water on the casted slab and beam for seven (7) days to improve its strength and durability.

14. ARCHITECTURAL WORKS

Second to the last basic steps of construction would be doing architectural works on your ground floor level. You can start with block wall installation which may consist of concrete hollow block or what we also called concrete masonry unit, wall system, or precast concrete.

You may use AAC block or Aerated Autoclaved Concrete block for your partitions because it can save your home or building when in fire due to its 2 to 5 hours fire resistance.

This will be followed by plaster works, painting, and ceiling works. You may also start working on the tile works at this point.

If your building has mezzanine or first, second, third floor and above architectural works should progress upward successively.

15. HANDING OVER

Before handing over, the project should undergo snagging or punch listing. Once all the punch lists have been repaired and rectified, then the owner or the representative can recheck the modifications.

If the rectifications have been accepted, then the turnover will commence. By this time, a permit should be prepared – the occupancy permit – and submitted to the building official.

Of course, the construction of a project is not limited to these steps as it still depends on the type and size of the project you will work on.

However, the steps I’ve shared were the basic and common steps in the construction of a house or a high-rise building.

Do you have any suggestions or supplements to the “15 Basic Steps of Construction?: You may write your comments below.

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