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A guide on house construction in Pakistan: this will help you get started on building your dream home.

Building a house in Pakistan can be a challenging and daunting task. People often save up their entire lives in order to build their dream home. Unfortunately the market is filled with unprofessional builders & contractors. Although not everyone is dishonest, it is always better to equip yourself with basic know-hows to avoid inconveniences later. The Handyman has prepared this basic guide on construction that will help you start preparing for the road ahead.

The Handyman has prepared this basic guide on construction that will help you start preparing for the road ahead.

Before you can start building, you will first decide on where you want to buy the plot. This would probably be a major city of Pakistan like Faisalabad, Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot or Quetta.

Once you decide the city or town where you want to construct, you will naturally have to shortlist the location. Major cities have private housing societies like Bahria Town or DHA which provide better amenities (water supply, garbage disposal, gas, security etc) than those that fall under the local city authority or town TMAs.

There are many property and real estate websites in Pakistan from where you can view different properties along with their asking price. Once you find a plot that suits your budget and requirements, you will purchase the plot and arrange for the soil test.

Step 1: Soil Test

A soil test is done by a recognized organization to check the strength of the land on the plot. This will help the architect design the building or house. It will also help them ascertain what kind of structure to build (pile, raft i.e) and the type of material to use. It is recommended you get the soil test done before purchasing the plot (although the seller and dealer will be reluctant to allow this). Please note that a plot with weak soil will lead to the architect and society recommending that you build a raft foundation or pile foundation. These foundations cost considerably more than basic foundations and will escalate your total construction cost.

Step 2: Design

Before the contractor can quote a price, it is first important to have a design (or map). You can either hire the services of a private architect or engage one from the private society who will prepare this for you. The design has crucial elements like the structural and working drawings which allows contractor to estimate the amount of bricks, steel, concrete etc that will be required for the job. The design also has details like the dimensions including covered area.

1. Land Area is the total open plot size (i.e 50 x 90 is 4500 SqFT or 1 Kanal).
2. Covered area is the portion of the plot where actual construction will take place and it varies depending on how big you want your rooms, kitchen, drive ways and bathrooms to be. This varies and differs according to client's needs.

Covered Area Limits:
There are set by housing authority like CDA, LDA or Bahria Town etc.

  • 1 Kanal Ground Floor Covered Area Limit – 2,720 SqFt

  • 1 Kanal First Floor Covered Area Limit – 2,080 SqFt

  • 10 Marla Ground Floor Covered Area Limit – 1,800 SqFt

  • 10 Marla First Floor Covered Area Limit – 1,550 SqFt

  • In order for an architect to give you design, they will first require soil tests report mentioned in Step 1 above.

    Step 3: Permission from Development Authority or Housing Authority

    Once there is a design by an architect, it is approved by a qualified structural engineer. Subsequently this is forwarded to the development authority (like CDA, KDA, LDA, Bahria Town etc), who will approve the design and give you an NOC to construct (after verifying it conforms to the building and authority bylaws).

    Step 4: Choosing a Contractor

    Once you have the necessary design and approvals, you can proceed to take quotations from potential contractors to construct your house. You should ideally ask them to share quotations for any one of the following three arrangements:

    1. Labour rate – Where you pay the contractor for labour only. All permissions/NOCs is responsibility of owner (requires a lot of clients time and energy in choosing and purchasing material).

    2. Turnkey rate – Where both labour and material is the responsibility of the contractor (complete peace of mind for client). All labour and material are the responsibility of contractor. For turnkey solutions you can opt for the following:
    a. Grey Structure – This includes foundations, plaster, ramps, roof, sewerage, but usually excludes underground tanks and boundary walls and driveways.
    b. Finished House (Turnkey Solution) – Fully ready to shift in house.

    3. Project Management rate - In this case the contractor will bill the labour and material cost to you (on cost basis) and only charge a fixed percentage as their management fee. They will submit all original invoices to you which will ensure maximum transparency. Not all contractors will agree to this arrangement, but we The Handyman will provide you this service.

    Once you accept an offer from a particular contractor you can proceed to signing of the contract. Please ensure you fully review all pages of the contract and retain two copies (one for the contractor and the other for youself). The contract will lay out the responsibilities of each party along with other terms such as the construction and payments schedule. You should link payments with completion of particular milestones and generally take extra care when completing this step.

    Estimated Cost: An example

    Lets assume you agree to construct a 5 marla house at agreed rate of PKR 4,500 for grey plus finishing-then:

  • Rs 4,500 (price) x multiplied by 1,900 sq feet (covered area)

  • Total payable = Rs. 8,550,000 (Rupees eight million, five hundred and fifty thousand only).

    This would be an estimated cost of a ready to move-in 5 marla house. Kindly note this is just an estimate and final rate will depend on drawings, actual covered area, and prevailing rates. Please note that basement prices will be Rs 500 - 600 more than the rate for ground / first floor. So if the contractor in this example is billing Rs. 4,500 for ground floor then for basement it will be Rs. 5,000 per SqFt.

    About The Handyman

    The Handyman Pvt. Limited is a construction contractor formally registered as a company with the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC). We provide complete construction & renovation services and carry out high quality grey structures, finishes and fit out works. You can learn more about our services (and latest prices) by visiting the construction & renovation page.


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