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Home GATE Study MaterialCivil Engineering � House Construction

House Construction

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House Construction

Grading and Site Preparation

The site you are building on should be flat, with no lumps or hillocks. to level, you could hire a bulldozer and go over the land with the blade close to the ground to remove all lumps or hillocks. If the plot is on a severe incline then lay stilts out so that you can lay out a floor level on top of them. At times ground filling has to be done to raise ground to the required level.

Excavation & Foundation Construction

Foundation Construction is an integral part of home building. It is what the whole house rests on. A firm foundation is a must, so don't use sand. In most construction, concrete is used as foundation. It is laid into a trench up to 3 or 4 feet deep, and provides a very solid foundation for whatever building material used. There are many different types of foundations. The most typical foundation is made up of a footing which is the portion of the steel reinforced concrete that bears on the undisturbed soil. Footings are typically 12" 16" up to 36" inches wide by 10" to 12" deep depending on the soil on which they are bearing. A foundation wall is general applied over the footing to above grade. Foundation walls are typically 8" wide and terminate 8' above the finished grade. like column footing , pile, raft etc. these are used as per condition of soil. Waterproofing, damproofing and drainage are typically applied at the exterior of the foundation and footing. This is particulary important when building in wet soils.

Rough Framing

The Framing begins with the anchoring of the studs to the concrete foundation. Walls are constructed of Wood Studs typical 16" on center - framing studs come in 2 x 4, 2 x 6, 2 x 8, 2 x10 and lengths of 6,8,10,12 feet and longer. Floor/Ceiling joists are typically an engineered lumber product, as are the Roof Trusses, both ordered to size. Sheer Walls are constructed by sheathing the stud walls with plywood onone or both sides - used primarimly in earthquake regions. Exterior walls are sheathed with plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) and usually a Owens Corning Rigid Insulation Product.

    • NOTE: There are no Federal Building Codes, each State and then County adopts its own building and safety codes. Typically a framing inspection, electrical inspection and plumbing inspection is required prior to walls being insulated and/or drywalled.

Rough Plumbing

Installation of Hot/Cold Supply and Waste Lines, Shower and Tub Valves, Hot Water Heater, Water Purifier/Softner and Fire Supression System

Septic/Sewage Systems

How the septic tank system works - A typical septic system, consists of an underground tank, a distribution line and a soil absorption drainage field. Wastewater leaves the home through an underground pipe connected to the septic tank. Baffles in the septic tank slow the flow of the incoming wastewater and prevent sewage from flowing directly through the tank. Heavier solids settle to the bottom and accumulate as sludge.

The septic tank system is a natural sewage treatment and disposal system. By natural we mean that it relies on bacteria to digest and clean the wastewater. Septic systems are biological systems and must have bacteria to work. The bacteria in the septic tank literally eat & digest the solids in the tank turning them into liquids and gases.

Raw household wastewater will quickly clog all but the most porous gravel formations. A septic tank is a watertight chamber, which conditions the wastewater to reduce clogging so that it may be more readily absorbed into the soil. The septic tank separates the settable and floatable solids, promotes the growth of anaerobic bacteria necessary to decompose the solids, and provides storage for the resulting sludge and scum.

Constructing a septic tank system:

Septic tanks should be located where they will not cause contamination of any well, spring or any other source of water supply.

The septic tank should not be located closer than 10 feet from any building. The tank should not be located in swampy areas, or in areas subject to flooding.

Slopes greater than 25 percent will cause considerable difficulty in construction, and may slide once they become saturated with effluent.

There must be no permanent cover placed over the septic tank or lateral lines.


Brick Firebox & Chimney Construction and installation of Prefabricated Firebox Inserts with Flue/Dampers

Brick veneer on wood frame walls is a standard home building practice.

When applied over wood frame walls, a weather-resistive-barrier is critical to protect the wood framing from water damage. Masonry is not waterproof.

Rough Electrical

An important document to read is the IEE Wiring Regulations (or equivilant).

Installation of Transformers, Service Panels, Switches, Outlets, GFI Outlets, Jboxs, Recessed Light Fixtures, Exhaust Fans, Fire/Security Horns and Emergency Lighting

Rough Low Voltage Systems

installation of wiring for Security Camera/Alarm, Telephone/Intercom/Internet Communications, Audio/Video Components, LV Light Fixtures and Home Automation Contolers

Rough HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)

Furnace/Air Conditioner Unit Installation, Supply/Return Air Ducts, Exhaust Ducts, Radiant Floor Systems, Air Purifier/Humidity Systems and Vacuum Systems.


Mansford, Shed, Hip, Gamble, Saltbox and Gable can be covered in Asphalt and Wood Shingle, Terra Cotta Tiles, Slate Tiles, Copper Sheeting and Metal Standing Seam the most common roofing materials. Based on geometry roofs can be classified as sloped, pitched or flat. The "pitch" of the roof is dependant on geographic location - Higher pitched rooves are typically found in cold climates but also in wet climates.

Rain Control

Depending on the archiectual style the Gutter, Downspouts and Collector Box's may be exposed or built with the roofs eaves and walls.

Exterior Openings

Installation of Exterior Windows, Doors, Roof Hatch and Skylights requires weather proofing be at its best. Although older houses may still contain single glazed wooden framed windows and doors; modern house usually have a steel or aluminium reinforced uPVC framed double glazed system. These window system are fixed to the preformed concrete ope by use of usually a galvanised steel fixing bracket which clips to the frame of the window or door and is fix back to reveal.

The window will sit either on the upstand of a precast concrete cill or onto a pvc of aluminium PPC cill. A silicone sealant or expandable foam can be used to weather the window or door once in place.

Doors may have to be sunk a few millimeters in order to achieve the correct height of threshold depending on building regulations governing the use of the door.

Exterior Wall Surfaces

Materials as Stucco, Brick, Stone, Wood Clapboard and Shingle are all cladding products. Modern woodframe construction requires the installation of a weather-resistive-barrier (WRB) under the cladding. The WRB provides the primary funtion of protecting the structure from water.

Exterior Cast Stone

Door/Window Surrounds, Eaves, Balconies, Columns/Pilasters and Steps/Coping

Interior Doors

Installation of Jambs for Pocket/French/BiFold type doors.

Door & Window Hardware

Installation of Door Hinges, Knobs/Lever, Cremone/Lock, Treasholds and Window Locks/Cranks "Taqi"

Interior Wall Surfaces

Drywall, Plaster, Wood Panel and Tile/Stone/Brick are typical selections.


A fundamental principle in building. It the means by which the interior environment can be made thermally comfortable. Insulation works by limiting the loss of heat from a relatively warm environment to a relatively cold environment. This is achieved in a number of ways:

Limiting Convection (air) heat loss. Most forms of insulation (such as polystyrene and fiberglass) contain cellular structures that trap air. This trapped air acts as a barrier to the passage of air through the insulating material.

Limiting Radiation heat loss Insulanting materials are generally good at limiting radiated heat by reflecting it in the same way that a mirror reflects light. Shiny metals such as aluminum are good at reflecting heat, and this material is often used as a backing for insulated panels.

Wood Flooring

Wood Plank, Strip and Parquet, Decorative Inlays/Boarders and Staircase Risers/Treads

Stone & Tile

Ceramic/Terra Cotta, Terrazo, Concrete, Mosaics and Inlays Floors, Bathroom Walls/Showers/Tub Decks, Fireplace Mantels/Surrounds/Hearths, Countertops/Backsplash, Staircase Risers/Risers, Columns/Pedestals and Exterior Terrace/Walks/Paths/Drives


Built In Bookcases/Desks, Powder Room Pullmans, Bathroom & Kitchen Cabinetry, Pantry/Linen Shelving and Closetry


Wall Paneling, Coffered Cieling, Decorative Beams, BaseBoard, Door/Window Casing, Applied Wall Molding, Crown/Cornice Moldings, Columns/Pilasters Overdoor, Staircase Ballustrades/Hand Rail and Fireplace Mantels


Wrought Iron Railings, Doors/Windows, Pedestrian/Auto Gates, Fences and Grilles. Copper Awnings, Chimney Caps and Hoods

Finish Electrical

Switch/Outlet Covers, Recessed Lighting Trims, Installation of Decorative Light Fixtures (Chandeliers/Sconce/Lanterns)

Finish Plumbing

Installation of Fixtures (Bidet/Toilet), Trims of Faucet/Drain Fittings, Connect Tub/Sink Drains and Volume Tests

Finish HVAC

Decorative Grilles/Diffusers and Controler Trims


Kitchen Refrigerator/Freezer, Range, Ovens, Hoods, Dishwasher, Ice makers, Wine Coolers. Laundry Washer and Dryers

Interior Wall/Ceiling Finishes

Primed, Painted, Stained, Wallpaper, Faux Finishes and Venetian Plasters


Decorative Leaded and Etched Glass Window/Doors, Shower and Tub Doors/Enclosures and Wall Mirror used in house.

Landscape Hardscape

Walls, Terraces, Walks, Stairs, Curbs and Driveways

Landscape Watering

Spinkler, Driblers and Misters

Landscape Lighting

Path/Walk, Stair, Plant/Tree, Water Features and Security

Landscape Pool/Spa

Swiming Pool, Spa, Fountains and Reflecting Pools

Landscape Structures

Gazebo, Cabana, Canvas Awnings and BBQ/Cooking Areas

Landscape Plantings

Lawn, Trees, Shrubs, Flowers and Potted Plants


Floor Coverings (Carpet/Area Rugs), Window Coverings (Drapes/Shades and Sun Control: Window Tint)

Punch list

Contractor and Home Owner "To Do" List

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