|The gravity wall that I had to construct to make sure
the house is safe
I was on a tight budget when I was looking for land to buy in Uttarakhand. In a span of a year, I must have seen and discarded countless plots in and around the Kumaon region. The sole reason to reject these options shown to us by the dealers was they were way over my budget.
Later I bought a plot in Hartola, which was if not cheap, was importantly within my budget. The snow-capped mountains were perfectly visible and the locality was serene and picture-perfect – something which I wanted to in the location where I was to build my house which later on will be run as Katie’s Cottage, a pet-friendly homestay.
But issues started when I brought my contractor friend and his team of architect and civil engineer to the plot to start the process of constructing the house. The civil engineer told me the mountain was steep and based on the soil conditions, will require more than one gravity wall.
To say the least, building gravity walls from stones are very costly. As I write this article, it has siphoned all the funds I had kept aside for finishing and furnishing the house.
|The huge pile of debris is still lying there to be thrown!
And that’s not all!! Because the terraces were narrow, I had to cut two terraces to accommodate the rooms of my house. While doing so I wasted around 3 months in digging and breaking boulders. You don’t know what’s underneath the soil. In my case it was rocks and breaking them with hand-held tools was quite a task.
Another uphill task is getting rid of the debris that comes with the digging. In the mountains unlike the plains you can’t just dump debris anywhere. So it’s a costly affair.
Cheap land ideally means your plot doesn’t touch the main road or even if it’s a road-touching plot, you will have to invest on making the road – again cutting of the mountain and the issue of getting rid of this debris. Plus carrying material from the road to the site is very costly.
So if you are zeroing in on a cheap plot in Uttarakhand keep in mind the following pointers:
- Make sure the terraces are wide.
- Look for the gradient of the mountain. Steeper the mountain face, means more investment on the foundation.
- Ask the architect if a drawing based on the contour of the land can be done. By cutting the terraces you are actually weakening the strength of the mountain.
- Check how far is the site from the road where the material will be off-loaded by the vendors.
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