Brick by brick - my journey of building a 2400sqft home

Saibal Das
last year

The birds had nested within the covers of a lush hibiscus plants. One corner of the terrace was flowering little yellow beauties. Everything had its place. An equilibrium was reached but little did the bird know that hammers had arrived which was set to chip and break walls. Before the onset of monsoon, the earth digging started. Soon the nest was abandoned. In its place, now lies dust, debris and a beautiful dream that only I can see. All of it, every colour in it.
Here in Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), the hot month of May was a tiresome time. Twelve holes of approximately 5x5x5 ft were dug to support a 2400 sqft first floor.
The first thing one needs to lookout for is the plan to dispose of the soil. Know your soil. The first three-four feet is usually full of stones. Eventually the good soil comes out after 4 ft. We call it the 'murug maati'. A sticky red soil. Needless to say, tell your contractor to save it for laying it on top. Mixing it with sand and potting soil will be good for the garden.
Approx. rate for earth digging and building the base is ₹80/sqft.
For the foundation, ensure beating of the bottom soil. We waited several weeks after the pillars were casted. This allows the soil to adjust below the foundation. This step is optional only if the beating of the base soil is done diligently.
Trust your contractor and take his advise. But remember that you are the boss. If you insist, they have to build whatever you want, even if it is technically wrong. Jk.
I used Ultratech cement and mixed LW+ solution to it for better waterproofing.
That being said, one must arrange for a steady flow of water. Remeber to soak the dried concrete in water for seven days, three times a day. Don't overdo it either.
The earth digging takes 20-25% of the time of construction. Use this time to select suppliers. Remember to always have an alternative hence use multiple suppliers for sand, gravel, cement and - never burn bridges. Being strict on quality delivery is a must since every bit of it is chargeable.
Assuming things will go wrong, keep your electricians and plumbers on speed dial. They are often needed before they are actually needed.
A construction site is messy. Making peace with it is essential but also urge builders to follow safety rules. This includes keeping pathways clear, being wary of glass, nails etc. and using ropes when working at a height.
I will be back with the next phase of brickwork and show you how it's done.
Happy building, folks!

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