10 solid steps to avoid losses and ensure success on your building project

If you are planning to embark on your building project, you may be wondering what steps to take. You may intuitively feel like just buying a land, getting a design and start building. Most people who go through this simple 3 step process end up losing money through paying for the wrong land,losing the property or spending more money on the execution stage due to poor planning. To avoid these, below are steps you should consider while planning for your building project:

Verify land:

Land verification is important should be the first step you take towards actualizing your building project. Without this, you run the risk of purchasing land which is under acquisition or which had been sold to another party hitherto. You will need to do land verification and confirmation. This involves charting which is the process of knowing the acquisition status of the land ( it can be done by the surveyor)and land investigation which can be carried out by your lawyer. The importance of land verification cannot be overemphasized.

Buy land:

After due diligence is done, you can then proceed to purchase the land. Never buy land without verification as many people lose money after realizing the land paid for has legal issues or is under acquisition. Also ensure the relevant documents are issued to you which include receipts,survey, land titles (which may be registered survey,deed of assignment,excision, gazette, C of O or governor’s consent)

Survey land:

You will need to carry out a survey on the land. This is done by the surveyor, it carries information such as the address, your name, beacon positions and numbers, land shape and size etc. This defines the extent of your property and is part of the documentation which proves you own the land. It also forms the base information for your building plans to be developed.

Preliminary estimate:

Counting the cost of the proposed building is pivotal to project success. At this stage you may not get the detailed cost but rough cost estimate to guide your decisions in the building you want to construct.

Design Building:

This will involve engaging the services of an Architect and Engineers to design the building to meet your requirements and government regulations. Where your requirements are in contrast to regulations it’s better to adjust project requirements to conform to regulations in order prevent future losses. You can engage the services of an Architect separately from that of the engineers or employ the Architect who in turn employs Engineers. The output of this process is Architecture and Engineering drawings which will be submitted for approval and used for construction. This is the stage where you can save money upfront by having a good design. As a bad design means wastage or rework on site which leads to loss of money.

Apply for building approval:

Before you break ground to start construction, you will need to obtain government approval for your project. This involves submitting 5 sets of sealed and signed drawings (for Lagos state ARCON and COREN paper stamps are a requirement). Other documents such as tax clearance, land title, survey plan etc will also be required. See the approval requirements here.

Develop Cost estimate:

After all drawings are done, there is enough information to develop an accurate cost for the building construction. This is done by the quantity surveyor with a bottom up estimating method where all the individual items are costed and added up to achieve the final cost estimate.

Construct Building:

Now you’re done with all the planning, It’s time to hit the ground running and start executing your project. If you’re using the design and build approach, the design team will proceed to carry out the works. You can also choose a separate contractor after going through a bid process and choosing a contractor who meets your requirements. All should be done to ensure the building is constructed as planned. You should use quality assurance here to ensure success (i.e checking the process and works before they are finished).

Occupy building:

The contractor will hand over your building after project completion. You may start to make use of the building after practical completion (the stage at which the building is habitable). For standard contracts,There is normally a liability period after the building is handed over for the contractor to fix any defects arising as a result of poor workmanship or materials. However this will depend on the nature of your contract especially if it’s a small build. Your contractor may give you maintenance information such as the list of supplier for the various building elements so you will be able to procure same products for maintenance. You may need to employ a party to do a snag list of issues to be corrected by the contractor prior to handover.

Document lessons learnt:

It’s advisable to document all lessons learnt in the course of the project. This will help on subsequent projects you will embark on. You will learn about project management generally (albeit informally) such as scope management, schedule, people management,cost ,procurement etc.

You could also perform a post occupancy evaluation which is the process determining how successful the delivery of the project was, if there is potential for further improvement and what lessons can be learned for future projects.

While the building process may seem daunting, experimenting is not the way to go if you want to make your project successful. The steps above will ensure proper planning for your project which greatly reduces the risks thereby ensuring success.

Wishing you the best on your project. Thank You.

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