The 45 Stages Of Building A Home In Zimbabwe

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Here Are The 45 Stages Of Building A Home In Zimbabwe:


Stage 1: Architect Drawings are drawn up and approved by the city council. 

Make sure you hire an architect that insists on visiting your stand in order to come up with the house design, this will ensure a design that takes advantage of your stand positioning and orientation. 
Remember that Zimbabwe is in the southern hemisphere therefore your houses (main living areas) should face north in order to get the most sunlight.

The boundary pegs are already found and on view.
Builder gets all required approvals for construction to begin.

Your engineer will study the new house plans and specify where you will require certain beams, structures and re-inforcing, particularly with double-storey and sloping plots.
 
The Engineer will draw technical specifications which illustrate where the structural re-inforcing has to be placed and how it is to be designed.

A copy of each engineer drawing is handed to the Building Contractor, Architect, Owner, Municipality, (for inclusion with your original drawings). The Engineer will inspect each selected area as it is finished before signing each one-off.

GEO-TECHNICAL REPORT: The Engineer will require a report on your plot for samples of soil.
Depending on soil type, extra foundations or re-inforcing have to be built into the structure for safety. Holes are dug all over the site and at different depths. Soil samples are analyzed.
 
Reports on these samples are given to the Engineer who can then establish where the re-inforcing and strength is required. Get the Geo-tech report done whether it is required or not for the safety of your family and your building in the event of poor soil.

Clay is the worst soil type and requires special foundations.

Stage 2: Erect Wooden cabin (this will be used by the guy that looks after your stand and for the storage of building materials. We recommend a 6x3 cabin.

The municipality will require a connection fee to erect a tap for you to get connected to the main water supply and thereby water to site, if there is no water connection a 50 000litre water tank is recommended ($550). It costs $50 to fill such a container.

Temporary toilet erected in place and connected.
The site is leveled and cleared.

Stage 3: Site is surveyed and marked out for building foundations. The exact positioning of the home is marked.

Stage 4: Foundation trenches are dug Plumbing line is dug and run from street to site

Stage 5: Concrete is poured into the foundation trenches with re-inforcing steel where and if required.
Your steel and reinforcing contractor will have drawings from your engineers as well as other plans of your building site. He will know exactly how and where to place his steelwork.

Steel normally comes in long rods which are bent and 'tied' together in major areas for support and structural re-inforcing. Also done in Columns that are load-bearing and in foundations, decking, boundary retaining walls.
 
Steelwork is an essential element of a building and so too is it an expensive one. If any unusual building is envisaged it normally involves steelwork and re-inforcing specialists. Your re-inforcing Company must come recommended, registered and with good references.

Stage 6: Foundation brickwork is built up.

Stage 7:  Soil dug out of foundation trenches is backfilled and compacted.

Stage 8: (Soil is treated with poison for ants (termites)

Stage 9:  DPC plastic damp proof sheeting is laid. (Black sheeting) 200 microns minimum. 
  • Bricks are laid and built up.
  • Re-inforcing steel and wire mesh is placed.
  • Electrical conduit pipes and plumbing systems are installed and left exposed.
  • A cement slab is poured.
  • Brickwork is built up.
The second-floor deck is built up with metal plates on scaffolding in a double-storey or flat roof home Reinforcing steel Concrete is poured and left to cure for a few days.

DECKING If you are building a double-storey then a decking contractor will position scaffolding throughout your new home with large metal plates. After the steelwork (reinforcing) is in place on these metal plates, concrete will be poured or pumped onto these and left for a few days to cure for your second level flooring slab. 

A skilled, expensive and time-consuming job. It will include your engineer, the building contractor and his labour force, the steel re-inforcing contractor, the municipality, the decking contractor, the cement contractor and the hiring of pumps to relay the concrete up and into. 


An extremely large deck should be done with a reputable contractor to avoid any weakness in the mix and avoiding a "Cold Join."

  • And brickwork built up.
  • Roof trusses are placed on walls.
  • Roof Timber is painted with wood preserve.
  • Beam fill brickwork fills between timber trusses.
  • Plastic Sheeting placed on roof.
  • Roof batons are placed.
  • Tiles are placed.

Waterproofing areas of the roof where it requires it.

There are many designs in timber and tile roofs. It all depends upon taste, budget and weather. If you are having a tiled roof the company delivers the timber trusses complete and made up. They are placed on your walls. Batons are laid across waterproofing plastic and the roof tiles are placed onto that. 

In high wind, regions get the roofing company to include in his quote storm clips on your tiles. Inevitably some new tiles will crack and must be changed every so often. Once the roof is finished the roofing company must have in his quote a time period whereby he will come and re-visit and repair the roof at his cost.

Additionally, get the roof serviced once a year to avoid problems later on. Into his quote put down all waterproofing that will be required on and around toilet breather pipes or joins and so on. Another finicky nuisance task especially on a double-storey. 
The 45 Stages Of Building A Home In Zimbabwe
The 45 Stages Of Building A Home In Zimbabwe
The roof structure when finished must be SIGNED OFF by the designer of your roof according to National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act and receive a DESIGNERS COMPLETION CERTIFICATE (Timber Roof Structure) and your ITC ROOF LOADING CERTIFICATE (Timber Roof Structure).

Stage 10:  Conduit and electrical frames are placed in walls ALL conduit MUST HAVE draw wires visible in each conduit for pulling of electrical wires through to their respective connections. Even if these conduits are not required immediately draw wires must be in place.

Areas that must be included in the ELECTRICAL QUOTE are: Conduit from house to gate for lights gate motor and intercom any other exterior lighting or power points like alarm systems, pool pumps, electric fencing and so on. 

The electrical CABLE running from your home to the roadside and connected to the main service MUST be in the quote. The cable is expensive and will come as a shock in the final stages. 

The cable should be placed at a depth whereby it won't interfere or get damaged at a later date by any digging up of the garden for a pond or swimming pool. Quote must include and install all-weather proof protection boxes for all outside wires and plugs. 

Included in the quote for telephone conduit with draw wires from the room or rooms where it is to be installed all the way to the road connection. This is often overlooked and can be very painful towards the finish when such a minor but necessary job has to be done.

Count all plugs, lights and switches interior and exterior on the electrical plan and make sure they are quoted in detail. Lighting is inclined to be neglected but is an essential element of your new home and for its smooth running day and night.

Your electrician should have a book showing fittings for the home to choose from or you can order light fittings from a store of your choice.

Outdoor lighting must be waterproof and buy the brightest you can afford. The gate lights and outside free-standing lights can be adjusted with an automatic light sensor which turns them on in the evening and turns them off in the morning. Dimmer switches make a pleasant touch in indoor lighting, especially in the bathroom and bedroom. 

Downlights always look good and the light is good too.

Think about where your furniture will be placed, especially televisions and beds. Imagine where you would want a PowerPoint and for what. Make sure there are enough power points within each room to avoid using multi-adaptors.

Stage 11: Floors are screeded - A light cement and sand mixture is placed and "floated" onto the slab for level flooring.

Stage 12: Window and Door lintels are built-in as the brickwork goes up. Window and Door Frames are installed.

Stage 13:  Exterior Doors are installed. Entrance doors must preferably be solid wood.

The sculptured doors with different designs on them look beautiful on any home (if you can afford them).
 
One can buy all sorts of different doors but commonly moulded hollow core doors are used for the interior.

Fire doors are used for entrances from your garage into the home. The carpenter fits the window and door frames to the specified areas.

He hangs the doors into the door frames and if necessary uses a PLAINER to shave off pieces of the door top or bottom to fit AFTER the tiler has been and gone. He drills and gauges the cavity for the locks within the doors and fits the hinges, handles and locks etc.

A carpenter is a busy man without a doubt and his job is also to cut, nail and wood glue the skirting boards around the bottom of all the walls AFTER the TILER has laid his tiles. 

A tip is to paint, varnish or stain the skirting boards if they aren't already BEFORE they are nailed down, otherwise, some poor soul will have a very long and fatiguing task painting them down on the floor.

Stage 14: Interior and Exterior Walls are plastered.

Stage 15: Glass is fitted into windows.

Windows can make a luxurious home look very plain indeed. Send for catalogues of available window sizes and shapes and so on. In most cases you can get windows specially designed for your home bearing in mind frames must be inserted between glass (if it is a large window) for safety and strength.
A window sill can be wide or narrow, painted or face brick, quarry tiled, plastered or wood. Aluminium frames are less maintenance and don't rust. 

A timber frame will look shabby quite quickly unless you are fastidious in varnishing, sealing and cleaning. Your glassing contractor measures frames and fits glass. Different glass textures can be chosen for different rooms. 

For example, a downstairs bathroom would require a FROSTED GLASS. Glass can be tinted for glare.

Stage 16: Ceilings are installed Conices are installed If you are having a tiled and timber roof then the carpenter will install RHINO BOARD (ceiling board) onto the walls. 

He will then plaster this ceiling board with a thin coat of RHINO LITE for a smooth finish. These boards are not large enough to cover the space of an entire room so CEILING BOARD TAPE is used to tape the sections together. The RHINO LITE is plastered over this. This sets very hard and when dry can be primed and painted.

The carpenter places the CONICES (the ornamental moulding) onto the ceiling and the wall. This seals the gap between the two. The cornices are nailed and glued into place. If there is a slight gap where the plastered wall does not meet the Conice evenly a FILLER is smoothed into the gaps and once painted won't be noticed. Flat roofs do not require cornices (a saving) and only if you specifically want the decorative look of them. Concise fitting is a lengthy, messy job indeed. 

However these days some beautiful WOODEN cornices are available and are neater and easier to fit and work with.

Stage 17: Baths and showers installed It is essential to waterproof all showers.

Stage 18: Waterproofing a flat roof involves using a bituminous primer which is laid onto the roof and then a torch is fired onto that, melting the primer onto the cement as a waterproofing system.

Stage 19:  Drills holes through the ceiling for electrical light fixtures

Stage 20: Electrician pulls his wires through conduit pipes.

Stage 21:  Plumber lays his pipes.

Stage 22: Window sills are placed.

Stage 23: Ceilings and Cornices are painted

Stage 24: Walls are painted inside There are different interior and exterior paints for different areas in the home.

Stage 25: Walls are painted outside If your home is face brick then a brick sealer is painted over the bricks

Stage 26: Baths and Basins are installed completely including toilet roll holders etc.

Stage 27: Geysers are either placed within the roof on a lintel or inside the home within an area specified on the house plans. 

The PLUMBER must be responsible for laying the pipes for sewerage, storm drains, drain pipes, downpipes, guttering and connects to the municipal mains at the road verge. He should be responsible for the fitting of your baths, toilets, basins, taps and geysers, including the supporting brickwork/framework around such items.

Thoroughly go through his quote making sure he includes everything to do with the plumbing down to the last tap and plug filter. Ensure he is responsible for the brickwork around the bath or shower area. Make sure that the baths fit snugly onto and into the brickwork leaving no movement or hollow sound when the bath is tapped. 

If this is not supervised correctly your bath will move and when you lean on the bath edges whilst getting out of the bath the grouting will crack away from the bath as it moves to leave cracks where water will soak down between brickwork and bath and this could lead to leaks through ceilings in double-storey buildings.

He must also include fitting of your roof guttering and downpipes and connection to ground pipes. Some plumbers leave this out of the quote and then you end up having to sub-contract to finish the job which becomes a necessary evil with a cost that will surprise you. 

He must also include the connecting of the washing machine and dishwasher. A finicky connection if you don't know what you are doing.
Inevitably sometime during the building process one or more of his pipes will get pick-axed in a digging operation or accidentally cracked. 

Try and get him to agree to replace or repair accidental damage to the pipes and if so make sure the repair work is to satisfaction (otherwise you may have to fork over some more money to repair the damage to his pipes).

Once all plumbing is in place check all taps and pipes for leaks etc. Switch all taps on and off and flush all toilets, see they perform as they should. Get him to show you where and how to switch off the mains water in case of a pipe bursting within your home. Make sure he puts this within your property at an accessible point. Make sure all underground piping is laid in an area where they won't (at a later date) be dug into while building a pond or swimming pool. 

Do not let the plumber install the exterior sewerage pipes where they will be ON SHOW on the exterior of your boundary wall because he was too lazy to dig a little deeper. Try and get the plumber to lay the pipe through the boundary wall at the bottom otherwise you may have a very long sewerage pipe running down your front boundary wall which might not look as good as it could have where your home is situated above your front boundary wall.

Make sure the geyser is installed according to the safety regulation and even get the plumber to put this in writing. Storm guttering one can use PVC or an aluminium seamless gutter in a round or square shape. Seamless guttering is very quick and looks very neat indeed.

Make sure Garden taps are included in his quote and any sprinkler systems you may want.

Stage 28: Plumber places gutters, gulleys and downpipes.

Stage 29: Plumber connects up.

Stage 30: Floor and Wall tiles.

Stage 31: Curtain Rails are installed Skirting laid down.

Stage 32: Lights and switches are fitted Stoves etc. are fitted and connected.

Stage 33: Electrician Lays cable Electrician connects up.

Stage 34: Kitchen cupboards are installed Get the best you can afford for kitchen furnishings. The kitchen is the busiest area in the home and requires adequate space.

Stage 35: Built-In cupboards are fitted.

Stage 36:
Balustrading, security gates are fitted Get various quotes for metal work you require. Burglar guards, security gates, driveway gates, dog control gates, fencing and automation. If affordable get the biggest and fastest motor for your driveway gate as the cost is negligible and you might want to put in a heavier and higher gate at a later date. 

All metalwork should be galvanized without exception. If not you will have a rust problem very quickly, especially at the coast. Rusting burglar guards are dirty and smelly and become very hard to repair once the rusting process has begun.

Stage 37: The site is cleaned up and rubble removed.

Stage 38: Alarm is installed.

Stage 39: The driveway is paved Driveway gates are fitted.

Stage 40: Washing Line poles are cemented in place.

Stage 41: Landscaping and the instant lawn is laid.

Stage 42: A 3 months maintenance period has then lapsed and any defects in the home are rectified.
BUILDING FAULTS A new building will suffer from plaster cracks and in most cases are not serious. The dried plaster forms hairline and perhaps in some cases larger cracks mostly around windows and doorways. 

In some cases, the cornices will lift from the walls after movement or 'settling' in of your new home. Most of these cracks are horizontal. A good filler and touch up is all that is needed.

However, more serious cracks caused by foundation movement are much wider and normally run in the vertical. These should be seen by a qualified person or inspector who will advise you what action to take to rectify the problem.

Stage 43: An inspector from the Municipality Local Authority will do a FINAL INSPECTION to see that your house has been erected according to the plans specified and you must give him the original certificates for safe-keeping.

Stage 44: Local authority issues the homeowner a CERTIFICATE OF HABITATION.

Stage 42: Move IN!


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