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Understanding the difference between three factors is extremely critical for a new home buyer viz. Legal factors, Extraneous factors, and Intrinsic factors. Normally, when we browse for a checklist or consider buying a new home, we tend to focus on two things: ‘legal factors’ and ‘extraneous factors’. ‘Legal factors’ comprise things like ownership, conversion & land permissions, occupancy certificate, RERA compliance and other statutory approvals. The ‘extraneous factors’ comprise considerations like buyer-requirements, unit size, family & lifestyle needs, location & access preferences, amenities, possession time frame, budget & financials, purpose of investment, and so on.
What is missed out by most of the new home buyers is a checklist of ‘Intrinsic factors’ that help us understand what goes into the making of a building, and ‘what to expect’ with the type, grade, quality and brand of construction materials used! Clearly, new home buyers either give very little focus on these ‘intrinsic factors’, or, worse still, don’t realize the importance thereof.

Satisfying critical ‘intrinsic factors’ makes a builder trustworthy!

While the legal matters and requirements are on top-of-the-mind, the intrinsic factors gain very little attention from the home buyer. This makes the new home buyer vulnerable, and at times, builders deprioritize this critical aspect! A home-buyer rarely dig deep into aspects that make the building sturdy in its ability to handle natural calamities, and umpteen threats that thwart the building’s structure. Furthermore, with very little knowledge about the types, grades and quality of materials, the pre-construction rigour, and the on-going processes, the incentive for long-term accountability for the building’s health gets compromised. A strong and sturdy building has the ability to withstand natural calamities, fight the threats like soil-related issues, and is bereft of termites, electrical issues, dampness, plumbing issues, cracking/chipping of walls, a deteriorating look, corrosion of the structure, and many other woes that can wreck a havoc. The real issue is that our knowledge is only skin deep, and a new home-buyer knows very little about ‘what to expect’, ‘what to accept’ and ‘what to reject’! Many a times, builders & developers take advantage of this, and succumb to the temptation of operating with a ‘give bare minimum’ formula, and cut corners on critical construction-related specifications & standard-operating-procedures. These builders somehow force-fit and strike a dangerous trade-off between their own financial interests, the buyer’s lack of awareness/budget. As a result, the buyer ends up buying a low-grade home that may not last the test of time, and, in a worst case scenario, deteriorate beyond redemption or even collapse!!  Having a classy external finish, and adhering to legal requirements is not good enough! A home buyer must be knowledgeable about factors that determine the health of their building that gives a good living experience as decades go by. Home buyers need to be aware about the ‘intrinsic factors’, and demand evidence of what goes into the making of their dream home.

What are some of the oft-ignored ‘intrinsic factors’?

Intrinsic factors go beyond the specifications mentioned by the builder. Some important ones are:
    1. Pre-construction rigour: Critical decisions based on Soil testing 
    2. Extremely high focus on Anti-termite treatment upto plinth level
    3. TMT bars like FE 500d quality steel e.g. SRMB, TATA Tiscon, Vizag, JSW
    4. Branded high-grade Cement e.g. Ultratech, Shree. Ambuja, ACC
    5. Main door frame & sheet of teakwood
    6. UPVC windows of reputed make
  • Weatherproof exterior emulsion
  1. Fire-retardant concealed copper wiring e.g. Havells, Finolex, KEI
  2. Distribution boards and MCBs e.g. Anchor, Havells, Finolex, Schneider
  3. Vitrified tiles of reputed make
  4. Acid resistant tiles in bath & washroom
  5. CP & Sanitary fitting e.g. Parryware, Hindware, Jaquar, Roca
  6. Lifts & elevators e.g. Mitsubishi, Otis, Kone, Johnson, Schindler
  7. Acoustic enclosed DG generators e.g. Kirloskar, Mahindra, Mitsubishi

Do these intrinsic factors impact a new home buyer? Let’s explore…

Given below is a list of factors, specifications, and some insights about the ‘what, why and how’ of things that should matter! The more you explore, the better you get at your knowledge of critical intrinsic factors
  • Soil-testing rigour
    • At times builders hide or undermine the importance of soil-testing! Construction done without a soil-test may cause a building to collapse over time!!
    • Soil testing measures the type of land plus its strength to bear the building’s load. Unstable, untreated soil causes the foundation to crack!
    • Soil testing reveals ‘water content’ in soil. High water content is gradually replaced by ‘air’. 10 % ‘air trapped’ reduces concrete strength by 40%!
    • Soil testing helps identify ‘acid sulphate soils’. Acid soils release sulphuric acid which degrades concrete & steel structures to a point of failure!
    • Soil testing provides a ‘hazard mitigation plan’. It helps maximize quality & safety against rains, water-logging, storms, earthquakes, and much more!
    • Proper soil testing helps save lives!! Absence of soil-testing & poor soil treatment weakens the foundation, and even triggers collapse of a building!
  • Anti-termite treatment
    • Pre-construction anti-termite treatment prevents termite infestation! Not all builders take measures to make a building safe from termite attacks!!
    • Anti-termite treatment helps treat the soil in immediate contact with the foundation & floor structure. These insecticides kill or repel termites!
    • Termites may bite, sting, and even cause health issues! Living in homes infested by termites may cause allergic reactions or even asthma attacks.
    • Formosan subterranean and Asian subterranean termites are 2 species causing almost $40 billion annual economic impact from termite damage worldwide!
    • Builders at times pass the risk of termites to home buyers by NOT treating the soil beneath the building and around foundations against termites!
  • RCC structure with FE 500d quality steel
    • RCC stands for reinforced cement concrete, and is used to add strength to beams, lintels, roofs, slabs, stairs and so on. RCC along with steel bars adds the required strength to the building, which can handle high tensions and pressures of the load of a building
    • ‘FE 500 D’ is an anti-corrosive TMT with superb bendability. Compared to FE 500, ‘FE 500 D’ has more ductile strength to withstand enormous pressures!
    • Made with pure iron ore, reputed brands like TATA TISCON 500D are created using a robust metallurgical refinement process that makes them superior in strength & ductility!!
    • 500D is a ‘Clean Steel’! Result is a fatigue & impact resistant TMT with uniform strength along its length that bonds well with concrete!
    • 500D is a high strength ribbed TMT reinforcement bar, with impurities like Sulphur & Phosphorous kept below 0.075% making it super strong!
  • Reputed Cements like Ultratech/ACC
      • The quality of Cement goes makes the backbone as well as the overall body of a structure strong & durable
      • For instance, UltraTech is India’s No. 1 Cement with largest sales value among all cement companies, and produces 116.75 Million Tonnes of grey cement annually!!
      • A good brand comes with high credibility, and a high quality control rigour. For example, UltraTech Cement, owned by trusted Aditya Birla group, is known to be the Engineer’s Choice for making high strength concrete with quick setting time!
      • Similarly, ACC is India’s leading manufacturer of cement and ready mix concrete! Plus, it simply surpasses BIS Specifications on compressive strength levels!!
      • A home buyer feels comfortable when the brand of cement is reckoned to be the best in the Industry. For instance, ACC Cement is the only cement brand tagged as the Superbrand in India, and produces 64 million tonnes cement per annum!
  • AAC blocks (bricks) of reputed make
      • AAC Blocks are made with fly ash, cement, lime & aeration agent! It’s an excellent substitute for bricks & hollow/solid concrete blocks!!
      • AAC blocks like Birla Aerocon are eco-friendly, strong, superlight, non-combustible bricks that are resistant to termites, rodents, pests and fungal growth!
      • AAC Bricks/Blocks enhance the building’s life! They reduce the foundation load of building up to 30%, and reduce power consumption by 27%!!
      • Branded AAC blocks like Birla Aerocon give benefits such as: Super lightweight with 1/3rd density of clay bricks, superior fire resistance, thermal & acoustic insulation!
      • Branded AAC blocks are eco-friendly, accurate in size, and have a superb surface finish! Their easy workability results in stunning & sturdy walls!!
  • Main door & shutter made of teakwood
      • Teakwood frames & shutters dominate in beauty & quality! Teakwood contains more natural oils making it resistant to termites, rodents, pests & fungus!
      • Teakwood has a denser texture and higher tensile strength making it sturdy & heavy. Being water-resistant, the teak does not bend under humid conditions!
  • UPVC sliding windows
      • UPVC windows are low-maintenance, eco-friendly & strong! They optimize ventilation, and offer thermal Insulation, noise-reduction & reliable security!
      • UPVC windows are durable, weatherproof & low-maintenance! They never lose shape, and aren’t prone to rotting, flaking, rusting, fading or corroding!
      • UPVC is a stable material that is sea-water resistant, pollution resistant, chemical proof, and a natural flame retardant as well!
      • UPVC windows provide high levels of insulation and warmth, especially during winters. Being sound-proof, they help cut noise levels!!
      • UPVC windows provide enhanced safety & security! Reinforced with galvanized steel, UPVC windows are extremely hard to break down!!
  • Acrylic exterior emulsion, weather proof of reputed make
      • Exterior Emulsion is an acrylic, water-based emulsion with silicone additives. It withstands direct sunlight, air, water and changing seasons!
      • An emulsion has acrylic resins, pigment & solvents. Resins sticks to surface, Pigments give colour/UV protection, and Solvents improve flow of paint!
      • A branded weather-proof acrylic exterior emulsion lasts for years! It can withstand extreme tropical conditions of high rainfall, humidity & heat!!
      • A branded weather-proof acrylic emulsion protects against alkali and UV degradation, ensuring that the colour shade doesn’t fade, plus, lasts longer!!
      • A branded weather-proof acrylic emulsion hinders the growth of algae & fungi, and prevents appearance of black spots on walls!!
  • Vitrified tiles and acid resistant tiles of reputed make
      • Vitrified tiles are produced using vitrification process resulting in very low porosity, stain-resistant, extremely hard tiles that last for decades!
      • Vitrified tiles give us smooth-finish, fade/scratch resistance, high mechanical strength, resistance to chemicals, easy maintenance and a long life!
      • Acid Resistant Tiles are processed with special non-ferrous clay to give an extremely low water absorption (< 0.5%) resisting Acid, Alkali & Chemicals!
    1. Washbasin, EWCs & CP fittings- from reputed brands like Parryware, Jaquar 
      • Sanitary and bathroom fittings need to be long-lasting, and must look good as new even after years of aggressive usage
      • A Reputed brand like Parryware is India’s top brand of bath products is owned by Roca Group, Spain. It makes WCs & washbasins with practicality, value, and contemporaneity!
  • Fire-retardant (FR) concealed copper wiring from high-quality reputed brands like Havells/Finolex
      • Fire retardant cables resist combustion, limit the propagation of flames, and limit the amount of smoke & toxic halogen gases in a fire situation!
      • Cables like Havells & Finolex are flame retardant, high insulation resistance, anti rodent! They resist combustion and limit propagation of flames!!
  • Distribution board, MCBs  & modular electrical switches of reputed make like Anchor, Crabtree, Schneider
      • Electrical fittings secure safety of the home as well as inhabitants
      • For instance, Anchor makes top-class ‘Distribution Board’ that divides electrical power feed into mini-circuits, and provides a protective circuit to keep us safe!
      • Similarly, Crabtree makes top notch Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs) that trip upon overload or short-circuit in case of electrical-faults & equipment-failure!
      • Plus, Schneider makes world-class, elegant modular switches that don’t have metallic parts on the switchboard. This prevents risk of electrical shock!!
  • Lifts with V3F drive system from world-class companies such as Kone, Johnson, Schneider to name a few
      • A good energy efficient and reliable elevator is most important for the safety of its users
      • Good quality and trusted brands of lifts matter the most for our safety! For instance, Kone is a world-class maker of lifts/elevators, a pioneer in energy-saving known for innovations like V3F drive-system that save upto 50% energy!!
      • For instance, elevator companies like KONE use Variable Voltage & Variable Frequency (V3F) drives to control speed of lifts, plus gives a smooth ride, perfect levelling & energy savings!
  • Acoustic enclosed Diesel Generator set from reputed companies like Kirloskar, Cummins, Mahindra
    • Quality of Genset is of critical importance for a comfortable living! Brands such as Kirloskar Diesel Generators have a matchless level of quality, and are known for their fuel efficiency, robustness, safety and a long life!
    • Besides, such branded Diesel Generators use ‘Acoustic Enclosures’ to control noise by muffling it. For example, Kirloskar DGs have a robust engine & low fuel consumption!

Awareness matters!

To conclude, home buyers need to be knowledgeable, and choose their dream home only after being satisfied on all these critical factors, specifications and construction-related-procedures!  Builders must be questioned intelligently. A home buyer must demand evidence of what goes inside the making of the home that’s being sold. Knowledge is power, and must be used well while scouting for our dwelling unit! Our peace of mind and hard-earned money deserves this attention, since not being well-equipped with the right kind of knowledge may have far-reaching consequences.

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