Economy in Construction

 
Only a couple of years back, market for a Builder was booming. He was least worried about the cost of construction. His profits were high, even though he was not selling, people were buying from him. With recession, everything has changed and competition was created. They had plenty of options. They could now bargain, and have lucrative deal for themselves. Builder’s profits are naturally dwindled. And for the first time, he started thinking about economising, finding ways to save on construction cost, so that he can stand in competition and continue to be in the market.
With Multi-National Company’s coming in, it is no more amateurs’ market. Builders, with adequate financial support, with proven past record, capable of producing good quality work; delivering goods in promised time, will only survive. With this background, economy in construction becomes even more important.
Economy has to be targeted without compromising in any way on quality, amenities, specifications, and/or delivery schedules. Economy in construction, could be achieved by reducing on wastages and pilferages, reducing on inventories, repeated uses of shuttering material, and saving heavily on construction time, through better management techniques, use of computer, information technology etc.
Wastages on site could be kept in check by not storing too much material on site. Proper way of storing materials is very important. Limited stacks, leveled stacks do help in reducing wastages of materials. Materials should be ordered, as and when required. Double (or repeated) handling of materials is to be avoided, as this increases breakage, and also adds to transport charges. Unloading of materials in planned manner and near to final working place saves on lead charges. Working out the quantities of materials in advance and having periodical check on the same will signal management in good time, any attempt on pilferage.
Builders, have craze in ordering full quantity of materials, thinking that if the materials are available on site, then what they have to look after is arranging only labour in getting speedy completion of work. But that is not true. Many times specifications, amenities are to be changed on technical reasons and/or as required by the planning/sanctioning Authority or by Client for that matter. Materials, already ordered or brought on site, then are unnecessarily wasted. More materials dumped on site, also results in more wastage and pilferage of materials. To get the quantity discounts, material rates could be negotiated on full quantities, with schedule of deliveries well defined. This will ensure that the materials are available when required, but payments are made only after deliveries are actually made on site. In business, funds are always short; funds are often arranged on heavy interest. Blocking money in unwanted stocks is therefore foolish and unpardonable.
Different ways should be found to save on technical grounds. Designing of shuttering materials and repeated use of the same will pay big dividends. Providing full beam from lintel to slab level, especially in residential buildings, will save lots of valuable time. Working on concrete-mix-design and using M20 concrete (instead of M15) will save cement, without any harm. PPC cement (33 grade) is cheaper by about Rs.6/- per bag. Use of PPC Cement for Masonry and Plaster, will not only save in cost, it will also minimise wall (temperature) cracks and resultant leakages and seepages. Where time is constraint, part use of steel fabricated member can come to help. While civil work progresses on site, fabricated members could get ready in workshop. From finished concrete, one can save cost of hacking and plastering and also construction time. Standardisation and Pre-casting could bring in major saving in cost. Construction time is saved. Finishing, like rendering and plastering, become redundant. Precasting saves time and money.
Besides, precast members invariably, look thin and elegant. Spot welding, of reinforcement, not only saves binding wire; it keeps reinforcement in proper place, thus giving better strength. Labour is no more cheap and mechanisation will definitely help in turning out large volumes of work in shortest possible time.
Systematic and planned manner of working will bring economy, as it will reduce rejections and/or repairs. In construction, it is now or never situation. Constant supervision is the ‘mantra’. It is very difficult and expensive, almost impossible to demolish and redo any work. Sometimes, it is even not possible to carry out any major alterations. It is recommended to avoid trails and experiments and to adopt only tried materials and methods.
Negligence, in proper use of materials, is criminal waste. With Global competition, it would be difficult to sustain, if we do not economise in all possible ways, in construction costs. Nevertheless, quality and time schedules are indeed to be met with.
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