Updated FAQs about Custom Home Construction Service

Notes about FAQs

This FAQs are originally come from the interview between Let’s Move Indonesia and us back in 2016. We see the need that this FAQ should be updated so it will be still relevant on 2018.

Q: How long have you been designing and building homes?

A: Sunggiardi Construction as a family business has been around since 1960s. What makes us unique is some of our workmen have been working with us since my father’s era, some are from my grandfather’s!

Q: What do you think are the benefits of designing your own custom home rather than buying one from a developer or other person?

A: Well, for a start, We see our client as an unique entity. Some people want a larger bedroom, others a larger dining room, some people love the idea of a walk in wardrobe where as some would rather have extra bathroom space. Ultimately if you buy from developers or other people, you might have to compromise.

We also found that every culture have their layout preferences. Take example for kitchen. Some culture like to have two kind of kitchen, the other one like to have a borderless kitchen-dinning room, There is also some culture who like to have an open kitchen at the back of the house. Usually Developers design the layout based on their target market. And it might not be you.

If you have a house designed only for you, You might have a home which support your lifestyle. Custom home in our view must be in flow with your activity from the moment you wake up in the morning until you get back into bed at night.

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3 Reasons why home Builder should present 3D Design

How many home builder provide you with 3D Design model? And by 3D model, it is not only front facade 3D model, but space by space, room by room 3D model?

Chance that none of them do that, or if your project have it, you paid these 3D model quite expensive.

On today post, we want to share our believe that why Home Builder must present their project in 3D model starting today.

Well, the simple answer is because 3D is already a normal everyday thing today. And why don’t people start using it to present their project, while once the home builder mastered it, everyone will benefit?

1. The 3D Design is already cheap

By cheap, we mean the software is affordable with advanced features compared to previous years. And also cheap compared to their 2D counterpart. So the main block of not migrating to 3D is because of lack of human resource.

However if the builder invest early, by enough training and experience, 3D will be new normal, like when 2D CAD become normal when replacing hand drawing

2. 3D Design indicate conflicting problems early on.

Building homes need more than one hundred type of materials. Each are placed at the exact place and exact sequences.

When design are still in 2D, the designer must have decent spatial skills to imagine how the design will be realized in 3D. The more spatial skills and experience one had, the more realistic the design.

However, home building project usually unique and different between one another. That way when building, the designer should still come to the project site to solve conflict between materials.

Some architect, as we stated on previous post, might rarely come to the site. So these conflicting problem is usually solved by field team which might have different solution from design intent.

By designing in 3D, this conflicting problem will be spotted in early design phase. The designer then can solve it even before building phase.

3. The Virtual Reality (VR) Era is near

Once upon a time, when building home, the designer give you 2D layout plan. To read it, you must have certain spatial skills to imagine how your home will be. And it might be different since your imagination and the designer’s might be different.

Then, in early 3D era, the interior rendering is a new breakthrough. Nowadays, for some fee, you can have your interior space rendered to give you estimate feel about how the space will be. But this rendering process usually only design only 1-3 rooms, not the overall building.

But on the last 5 years, Virtual Reality is already a realistic thing. The Virtual Reality already enter the gaming industry and in near future professional industry will adapt them too. These VR will use complete 3D model as their base.

When it ready for home building industry. This 3D model, combined with Virtual Reality will be very helpful for you as home owners. It gives you 80% feels of what your building will be so you will less worry knowing what kind of building you are paying for.

Starting in 2019, Sunggiardi Construction have been providing a comprehensive 3D model of the home for our clients. We might not reach VR era yet. But exploring 3D model in notebook monitor is already close enough. at least for now.

And when that era is here. We sure be the first one to adapt in Indonesia Home Building industry.

What the Architect is not Telling You?

When you hire architect to design a home, on your mind, you are hoping that they will design a great iconic home to live.

However, often you will get a great iconic home, but not comfortable to live.

Why is that?

1. a Desire to be the most Unique

Most home architect firm will have one or two principal architect and then several junior architect. It is rare to see middle experienced architect in a firm, because usually after 3-5 years, those “junior architect” will likely quit and open their own firm.

Although, uniquely, these architect are forming sort of alumni association instead of see their ex-co-worker as competitor.

So, with many new architect firm established each year, how to distinct one from another?

Exactly, these architect tend to make their design as unique as possible to gain recognition.

The deliverable of hiring Architect is design. And for more expensive price, we expect to have more unique, more aesthetic, and more functional design. The problem is more unique the designs will also make less functional and practical ones.

If you want to prove my statement, find building which have awarded as great design, interview their maintenance team and ask about their job. You will likely receive many complaints from them. Furthermore, if you go through these buildings, the maintenance team usually have add some features which nullifies design intent but ease maintenance effort.

2. a Short Term Design

If you search architect’s resume, you will always find new building or 3D render pictures. But not once, you can find a photos of 1 year old building of their design.

Even if an articles covered an iconic building finished 1 year ago. They will also use a 1 year old photos. Not recent photos. Why?

Did you notice that most architect never look back or visit their previous project? They always design something new, and more iconic than before. But they might do same mistakes over and over.

If they look back, and visit regularly their previous project and see the problems in their building, they might avoid the same mistakes for future project.

But the building problem usually caused by bad workmanship right?

The answer is Not always.

While cracks and leaks are number 1 and number 2 reported issues in building. The number 3 problem in building is usually design related problems. and while Number 1 and number 2 is usually easy to fix. The building will suffer the number 3 problem in lifetime.

I believe that architect must care enough to think how to design a building which is easy to maintain.

3. not Living Their Design

Architect’s life is hard. You can see that from architecture students. Their life is dedicated to the study and tasks compared to other major. Even after they graduate and work, their life will be mostly spend in office / studios.

In this millennial era, the architect also usually travel a lot to see design in other countries.

With this kind of work, we can see that Indonesian Architect Design is advancing, and can be compared with international class Architect.

However…

I can see that they are lacking in details.

I see that Architect detail is usually based on certain standard. Which is good by the way… if they design common or typical building. But for premium building, I believe that the details should be different. It is unique from client to client.

When designing, one have to think through. How if they actually live in the house. Is the kitchen they design is comfortable to cook? Is the bathroom size is comfortable?

I believe that a good home architect must learn from Homemaker / Housewives as they are the one who are excel in home chores (cooking, cleaning, maintaining, etc). They will have better intuition and reasons to design a livable home.

How to Choose a Home Architect then?

In my book, I stated that first, you have to hire an architect which understand your life. either they live in same kind of neighborhood, have same hobby, or have mostly design the house type that you like.

Then you have to go past their facade.

Every architect can design iconic building. but not all of them can design practicality. Ask them about how chores are done in their design. If the answer is normative, you can tell that they are not have enough experience in personal detailing the house.

Lastly, ask to visit their design, both the one they proud of and 3 years old building. And if possible visit them and talk to the owners (and their caretakers).

Identify the problems, and then talk back to the Architect to ask for the solution. If the architect answer sounds that the problem is minor issues, you should pass on that kind of architect.

But if the architect acknowledge the problem; i.e. they know the problem before even you ask and tell you the story of their research to solve the issues in the future, I recommend you to hire the architect on site.

What Should You do for Fixing Popping Floor Tile

Ahh.. Tile Popping…

Those who has old houses might have encountered this problem in their lifetime; suddenly an explosion are heard from one of your room and when you see, the tile is popping. Or when you walk, you notice that your step causing hollow feedback under the tile.

Tile popping is the most common problem in the house. It makes the owners frustrated. The popping is caused by trapped air inside the tile, which in certain weather condition, receive additional force to blow out.

Because of this reason, some deduce that small dimension tile are more prone to popping and when the next time they building houses, they opt for larger dimension tile. This solves the problem at some level.. It is not explode but still feel hollow.

So how to perfectly prevent the popping floor?

The Reasons of Popping

To answer those question, we will take a step back to see various reason of why do tiles popped? Apparently there are two main reasons; bad craftsmanship and weather. The craftsmanship problems are:

The sub floor is not level

If the contractors overall quality is low. The preparation of flooring (screeding) might be bad and very rough. If floor tilers / installers are provided with this situation. There is a chance that they are lazy and just install the tiles. This can be easily prevented by make sure that screeding process are made by top quality materials and workers. The desirable roughness is like wall plaster.

Worker didn’t clean the sub floor properly before installation

If the first problem caused by other workers, this problem is caused by the installers. The experienced and high quality installers know that the sub floor must be clean before installing the tiles. Usually they have a helper to do that for them.

However if the installer are working in hurry (maybe because they are paid based on volume, rather than hourly), they might disregard some cleanliness.

Worker using bad quality adhesive or wrong mortar mixtures

Tiles are placed with mortars (mixture of cement and sands). Bad quality of sands (i.e. lots of mud content) usually increase the chance of popping. Or if the worker use pre-mixed mortars (factory produced), they have wrong water content to mix. This is a matter of installer’s lack of experience.

The tile was not “blowed” with rubber hammer thoroughly.

On larger dimension of tile, there is a chance that the tile are unevenly pressured. It can caused air bubbles, and by the time the mortars are dried, these air bubbles will loosen the bonding. Larger dimension might solve popping problems because it might be too heavy to pop, but it doesn’t solve the fundamental issue if it is not properly installed.

Too small gap between tiles.

This is the very common issue for owners who want ceramic tile to look like marbles. On marbles it seems the gap is very small, and concealed. So they want to do it the same with ceramics.

I tell you now that you can handle ceramic tiles like marble tiles. It is two different materials with different material properties. Ceramics need more gap to breathe and have chance to expand / swell. Homogeneous tiles need at least 3 mm of gap between tiles. Ceramic tiles need more.

Unfavorable Weather

If all points before are caused by human errors and less experience, there is one absolute force that cannot be prevented; the weather.

If the area of the floor is directly exposed to sunlight, there are the chances of popping up of tiles because the direct sunlight will result in heat leading to expansion of tiles. Hence if adhesives are not strong, it may pop up and buckled tiles.

High Moisture area is also a common reason for tiles to popping. Because the tiles have risk to be swelled and pop up.

So, How to Prevent?

For bad craftsmanship, it is simple; use experience installer and high quality materials.

Floors are one of most important part of the home and will be highly inconvenient if on short term are broken and have to be fixed. So flooring works must be taken seriously.

But, flooring works are commenced on near end of the project. So the spirit and the resource are likely have been depleted. Some will tend to down-specs (change tiles and mortars to less expensive options) for economising reason. This is a bad move.

The other important factor is the installer. In Sunggiardi Construction, floor installer is regarded as one of highest class workers. Before we trust workers to install floor, they must have long hours as stone mason, and at first, we will test them on service area. With this policy, we qualify that only high quality worker do the flooring work.

For environment factor like heat and humidity, this factor usually affect outdoor area. Ceramic tiles are less durable on the outdoor, so there is no fix or prevention if you still want to use ceramic tiles on the outside.

However, we recommend you to use other materials such as natural stones (andesite, granite, or marbles).

If it already Happened, How to Fix it?

We must tell you hard truth; tile popping is like cancer. Once you have it, it have chance to spread, even if you solve the problems on the origin. On the popping floor situation. Usually, if you knock the surrounding tile, it will give you hollow feedback. So, even if you change only the popping tiles, in 3-12 months, the popping might be occurred again in the area.

When our clients have tile popping problems, we usually recommend them to change the whole floor in the area.

Other reason is that usually there is not enough spare tile to change the floor. So the replacement floor will have different colour.

Should You Change to Lightweight Roof Frame?

Nowadays, if you have an 25 years old or more home, or are building new home, you will encounter a very common decision; should you have conventional wooden truss frame as your roof structure, or using modern Lightweight Steel (LS)?

And as you search the internet, you will find many articles, encouraging you to use LS. However no one state the downside of the LS.

So, this is 5 fact that you should know before your meeting with your roof contractor:

#1 Lightweight Steel is not Always Cheaper Solutions

That’s what most contractor will tell you. However price are highly relative. Sure, Lightweight Steel is cheaper than Wood Frame, Steel Beam, or Concrete, but it is not on all condition

If your home roof has short span (less than 8 meters), LS is a suitable choice. But at longer span, the frame will need certain modification such as strengthen and careful calculation, which at certain point, using LS will be a disadvantage.

So take extra caution with the word “cheaper”

#2 Lightweight Steel is Fast to Install

This is a fact. LS will always be faster to install than other material, except, steel. However, most contractors will do a beginner mistake such as cutting the materials with wrong tools which came into fact number 3

#3 Lightweight Steel is not that Durable

Most Roof contractor will say that LS more durable than traditional wood truss. Is it? Yes, because woods are prone to wood infestation right?

Continuing from fact #2, LS is a metal, and metal will corrode in time. The LS are coated to make it more durable to corrosion.

However, if you cut with wrong tools, you remove the coating and it is exposed. And in 10 years, if it is stood on humid area, the corrosion will spread and weaken some point.

So in conclusion LS is more durable than Wood truss with termites infestation, but less durable than termites-proof wood truss or the area without termites.

#4 Most every Lightweight Steel Contractor don’t know what they are doing

Most LS contractors are opportunist who see that there is rising demand due to . Then they have someone; a worker who have a little experience in roof construction and then work together as roof contractor service.

Most project will have short span (i.e. shorter than 8 meters) and their work will be okay. But on complex problems, they will use guesstimates, not scientific calculations as their base. And this is highly unsafe.

Since they do not know how to calculate, they will heavily use standard tables without understand the concept behind the standard. When they have competitors, they will try to win with reducing the price, and reducing the specs into minimum requirement regardless how unique the project is, sacrificing client safety on longer term.

So when hiring roof contractor, be sure that they can show you the scientific calculation of the roof.

#5 And did you know that Lightweight Steel is not a Steel?

Yes. You heard it right. Even if it has steel as its name, LS is not steel. LS is made from Zinc and Aluminum. It has the same composition with Zincalume Roofing (if you have heard Spandex or Bondek).

As it is not a steel and it is lightweight. Do not think that it is as strong as steel. In fact to hold the same weight, LS will need bigger dimension than wooden or steel.

Bonus – Should you change your Roof into Lightweight Steel Truss Frame?

With that 5 facts, Let us conclude whether you should use LS for your home:

  1. For new home, use LS with proper calculation. Have your architect or contractor to keep roof pattern simple.
  2. If your home have termites infestation, change into LS
  3. If you want to build new home or have existing home which have tropical design with exposed roof frame, you should still wood. If you are using LS, you should change the overall design of your home as well.
  4. If your home have been around for 20 more years and has no indication of termites, have professional to check your roof condition, make decision based on the inspection. If it still good, you can call pest control to prevent termites instead.
  5. If your home requires a roof with 10 meters span or more and you are using ceramics or concrete tile as roof cover, you can use LS with proper calculation and work method. Our standard for ceramic and concrete tiles are 80cm per frame with using C75 with 1mm coated finish thickness, while the frame are subject to calculation.
  6. For rare cases where your home requires a roof with more than 10 meters span, consider using real steel profile.

Why There is no Quality Post in Construction?

If you are googling for construction related articles regarding construction in Indonesia, e.g: What is the difference between concrete and steel for structure? Chance is you get very low quality articles who do not answer your question.

Furthermore, if you are searching down the google search result, you can find several website offering the exact same, low quality articles that you read minutes ago. Why is that?

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Home Contractors vs Developers

“What do you do for living?”

“I am a home builder / contractor.

“Cool! By the way, I have a land in xxx <somewhere> which I want to sell. Do you want to see it?”

This kind of conversation is happening all the time. It seems that public perceived contractors as a person who buy land or old buildings, construct it, and sell it for high price.

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Managing Expectation – The Iron Triangle

Dear Clients,

I am writing this post to introduce you to Iron Triangle thing.

When hiring us, your main consideration is that you cannot do the design and construction by yourself. Even if you can, it might be more difficult rather than hire a specialist and leave the problems with them.

However, on hiring, you will also have tendency to maximize the outcome and minimize the cost. You will often choose that contractors that can deliver you a product which can minimize your cost, on your desired high quality, and finished as soon as possible.

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5 Indicators if your House is Your Home

The word “Home Sweet Home” is used often anywhere. But do you really have a home instead a house?

Sunggiardi Construction compile 5 indicator, when you should call your house a home:

1. a Home is the place where you are longed for every day

Do you spend your days in your office? or even you travel a lot in your life? Staying on first class airplanes and luxury hotels? Do, despite of everything you had that day, you still miss your house, your bed ? If the answer is yes, then your house is your home.

Because no matter how extravagant a place you are in right now, your home is different, in a better way , that’s move us to next point:

2. a Home is suited to your lifestyle, not the way around

Your home might not the most luxurious place in the world. There are more building more luxurious than yours. You liked some of them and loath some. But you know that those place has no personal touch for you.

All hotels provide more or less same wardrobe configuration. But your home’s wardrobe should be different. Your wardrobe should say more about you. If you a woman and for example, you like to collect bags, then you should design your wardrobe to facilitate more bags than shoes.

Or, maybe you like cooking, your kitchen should support that. If you like to hang out with your family on your bedroom, your room should be more spacious than bedrooms on other houses.

If you like to hang out in your bedroom, but because it is small, you are hanging out in living room, maybe that’s not your home yet.

No Matter How Luxurious your Walk in Closet, if it is not personalised, then it is not a part of your home

3. You should be able to shout to the world that your home is the best investment you ever have, just not financially.

Creating your home might cost you a significant wealth. It is one of largest cost you spend at your lifetime. And financially, your home are deteriorating each day, causing additional cost to maintain it, making it is not best investment available.

However, good homes soothe your mind. And your mind is the one who makes all wealth you have are there. So creating a home means that you reward yourself of the achievement you make all these years, furthermore, you make a sanctuary for your mind to achieve more in the future.

So it IS the best investment, just don’t calculate it financially.

4. a Home is a place where your best memories are made

A home should have soul, It is not only because your family lives there, but because you create memories there. Your home should be a witness of your joy and sorrow. A witness of your struggle and success. And a place for celebrating all best things you have in the world, on personal level.

Because in the end, you will forget about the restaurant or grand hall where you got your lifetime achievement awards. But you will hardly forget a bed where your children grew up, space where your dreams are made, and where your older relatives dying. All of them, good or bad, are personal memories, your best memories.

5. a Home is a place where you can leave the world behind

If you come home with all burden like stressed at work, have many deadlines, or unresolved issues on the day. Your home should make you think less of those.

Yes, you can’t forget all of your problems, but your mind need rest, so they can face the world again with fresh ideas and solution. Only a home can help you do that.

Bonus : Can you Change Home Over Years?

Some people in their life are moving from houses to houses just because they easily get bored. So can we change home over years?

We believe that home are organic following your life. You might not have enough wealth at start. So you might start on small house, where you fill it with memories and personality. Gradually, when you accumulate enough, you build a larger house and claim it your new living spaces. On those cases, where you typically moves once or twice, we might say that both of your house are your home. It only get upsized.

But if every one or two years you move out on more or less same houses. Then, we would say that you have not found your dream home yet.

We at Sunggiardi Construction believe that a lack of personality is what made your house is not your home. So we suggest you to consult with us on how to make you a home that you dream about.