What to do on a”Site Inspection/Site Visit”?
Students are always curious and nervous about site visits since this is never taught in any of the colleges in the world. Students have absolutely no idea as to what is to be done when an engineer or Architect is expected to inspect the site. By site, I mean construction site.
Check out his biography: Architect Javed Kachchhi
He is an Architect, Structural Engineer and an Interior Designer. That is the reason why I was so hung up on trying to get in touch with him and write about his experiences about site inspection.
Here we go….
My first question was…
Me: Sir, could you tell us, What exactly is “Site Inspection” or “Site Visit”?
Ar. Javed Kachchhi: Well, let me be very specific. I am sure your readers would like that.
On a site inspection, an Architect/Engineer has to take a complete survey of the site. He has to inspect each and every element that is constructed on site and make sure that the construction is being carried on as per the drawings given by the Architect.
Me: Who monitors the site?
Ar. Javed Kachchhi: Monitoring the site is the work of Site Engineers. Site Engineers have to have a degree in Civil Engineering in order to qualify for the job.
Me: Who appoints the site engineers?
Ar. Javed Kachchhi: It is the Architect who suggests or appoints the site engineer in case of a small scale project. In case of large scale project, Project Management consultant is hired to do the job.
Me: What does Project Management Consultants team comprise of? What is their job on site?
Ar. Javed Kachchhi: Project Management Consultants (PMC) comprises of a number of site engineers, project managers, assistants etc. They all have the knowledge of building construction so that they could supervise the work efficiently.
Me: What does an Architect do?
Ar. Javed Kachchhi: Let’s me give you an example of a Small project. Say a Villa…
When I design a villa which is a project with a single structure, it is easier for me to supervise the work since the contractor is always in touch with me.
Now I will tell you what is my job on site?
Identifying the mistakes in construction made by the workers. Clarification of any or all doubts that the workers or the Contractors might have.
Sometimes, the workers end up making terrible mistakes. To correct the mistakes in construction, we generally ask the workers to demolish that particular part and reconstruct it again.
But sometimes, it so happens that it becomes very difficult to demolish the incorrectly constructed part because demolishing it could make the venture end in loss. Such cases have to be scrunitized by Architects and Engineers. A solution for the problem is to be looked for.
Me: What are the types of mistakes committed by the workers on the construction site?
Ar. Javed Kachchhi: Let’s begin with foundation…
When the design for isolated foundation is given with a sloping pedestal. Workers generally make a mistake while making the pedestal of the footing which is to be strictly avoided.
This is where the role of a site engineer comes in. He keeps a watch on all the activities of the workers on site and of course the quality of construction.
Quality control engineers are also hired for large scale projects. Say for a housing project where 2000 villas are to be constructed.
Mistakes while casting the beams:
Sometimes the beams casted on site may not be in a proper line. It could be disoriented. Thickness, depth and its concrete quality has to be checked and corrected on time.
Mistakes made while connecting columns and beams:
The joint where columns and beams meet have to be taken care of. Poor joints could result in structural instability.
Mistakes made in the elevation of the building:
Elevation is the toughest part to deal with. You really need highly skilled labour if you want to get your elevation right without any wastage of material as a result of reconstruction.
What is the scenario of Construction sites in towns? How is it different from cities?
Well, when we are visiting a construction site in a town, it is a very different experience. Since, a town is a very small place, everyone out there knows you.
The contractors and workers are directly in touch with you. In a way, this is good because lot of mistakes could be avoided in construction.
But, the trouble starts when the client starts cribbing about the petty issues…
I will give you an example:
Sir, please do something. The plumber hasn’t come.
Or the electrician has not turned up.
Or the carpenter is not working faster… Or he is wasting a lot of material.
All the above mentioned trouble is not really common in cities. The contractor takes care of it and the client knows for a fact that he is not supposed to trouble the Architect for such petty matters.
Me: Who appoints a contractor?
Ar. Javed Kachchhi: One must always be careful while suggesting or appointing a contractor for a project. This becomes a problem for many architects. Once you suggest someone, it becomes your responsibility that the contractor is not corrupt and works efficiently.
The client will keep complaining or might even refuse to pay your fees in case the contractor or the workers you suggested are not efficient enough.
With this, we come to the end of the discussion on “Site Inspection during Building Construction”.