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Posted at: Mar 10, 2018, 2:44 AM; last updated: Mar 10, 2018, 2:44 AM (IST)GROUND REALTY

Quality checks to ease building woes

Jagvir Goyal

Often, a house builder is at loss about the quality of materials he is buying to use in the construction of his house. In such times, IS Mark seal, if available on the product, acts as an assurance for the buyer. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has issued countless IS Codes, specifying the standards that each material must meet before it is gets IS mark. Let’s look at some important IS marks for different materials:

Right steel

Each type of steel has its specific use. In the construction of a house, High Strength Deformed steel bars are used these days. These are called HSD bars. This steel should conform to IS 1786. Manufacturers’ certificate in this regard should be checked from the supplier by the buyer before placing the order on him.

Perfect paints

Plastic emulsion paint when used on exterior surfaces should be IS 5411-Part 2 marked. For Interior surfaces, it should be IS 5411-Part 1 marked. Wherever synthetic enamel paint is used, it should be checked to carry IS 2932 mark. There is a difference in enamel paint and synthetic enamel paint and synthetic enamel is preferred. The difference can be checked by checking the IS mark. While synthetic enamel paint carries IS 2932 mark, enamel paints carry IS 2933 mark. Though rarely used in houses except in government buildings, in case you wish to use cement paint like Snowcem on external surfaces of the house, it should carry IS 5410 mark on the bags of dry paint powder.

Storage sense

Polyethylene water storage tanks (PVC) tanks, are in common use these days for water storage at the top of the roof of thehouse. These should be IS 12701 marked.

Get the right gauge

In most of the houses, in addition to the external panelled doors and glazed window shutters, wire gauge shutters are also provided. Wire mesh of suitable mesh size is galvanised and fixed in wire gauge shutters. Rolls of this wire mesh should be checked to carry IS 1568 mark to ensure their proper specifications.

Checking chinaware

The chinaware used in various sanitary items is called vitreous chinaware. Chinaware water closets and wash basins are used in the bathrooms. Specifications for vitreous china in general are covered by IS 2556. Further parts of this code lay specifications for specific items. Chinaware water closets should, therefore, carry IS 2556-Part 2 marked while chinaware wash basins should be IS 2556-Part 4 marked.


Many types of plywood are produced by the manufacturers these days. Of these, the plywood purchased for use in the house is general-purpose plywood. This type of plywood or plyboards should carry IS 303 seal. Decorative plywood with veneers panels or cupboard shutters, it should carry IS 1328 mark.

Vitrified tiles

Vitrified tiles are most commonly used these days but there is no specific IS code for vitrified tiles. IS 15622 code has been issued for press ceramic tiles but this mark is not used by vitrified tile manufacturers who test their tiles as per International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and European Standard (EN) test methods.

The house builder should not just check the IS seal on the material but should further see that correct IS number has been used in the IS seal to ensure good quality of the material.

Flush doors

Use of factory-manufactured flush doors is in trend these days. These doors are either hollow or solid core type. Hollow- core-type flush doors should carry IS 2191-Part 1 mark on them while solid-core-flush doors should carry IS 2202-Part 1 mark. Both types of flush doors carry plywood face panels for smooth finish.

Wooden boards

Wooden particle boards or wooden block boards are used for making cupboard shutters or kitchen cabinet shutters. The wooden particle boards should always have IS 3087 mark seal while the wooden block boards should carry IS 1659 mark seal.

GI pipes

Galvanised Iron pipes are commonly used in houses for water-supply arrangement. These pipes need to be IS 1239 marked. This code has been prescribed for mild steel tubes. Before use mild steel pipes are galvanised by providing them with hot dip zinc coatings. Hot dip zinc coating should be IS 4736.

Door closers

Door springs are now out of fashion as these result in closing the doors with a bang. Hydraulic door closers are more popular these days. These hydraulic door closers should be checked to carry IS 3564 mark for their smooth functioning and being leakage proof.

PVC pipes

PVC pipes is a general term used for all types of pipes such as HDPE pipes, UPVC pipes, LDPE pipes. HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) pipes should be IS 4984 marked while UPVC pipes should be IS 4985 marked. Whereas LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene pipes) should be having IS 3076 mark.

Stainless steel sinks

These are commonly used in the kitchens and can be checked to be IS 13983 marked as this IS code lays down specifications for domestic purposes.

Sanitary pipes

Earlier, Cast Iron pipes were used for sanitary and drainage work. These days, Unplasticised PVC SWR pipes are popular. These pipes should be IS 13592 marked. The fittings used to connect these pipes carry a different IS mark. These fittings should carry IS 14735 mark on them.

IS mark for cement

Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) or Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) is used in the construction of houses. OPC has three grades-33 grade, 43 grade and 53 grade cement. IS mark for 33 grade cement is IS 269. IS mark for 43 grade cement is IS8112. For 53 grade cement, IS mark is IS 12269. Generally, OPC is not available in the market and PPC is used. IS mark for PPC is IS 1489-Part 1. Always check that the cement bags carry the IS mark with correct number while buying cement. White cement  should carry IS 8042 Mark.


Burnt clay bricks are most commonly used in the construction of houses. Prepared at kiln site, these bricks carry kiln's mark but not any IS mark. However, their quality can be checked as per specifications laid in IS 1077 for bricks. Even the brick work can be checked as per specifications given in IS 2212 for brickwork.

— The writer is former HoD and Engineer-in-Chief, Civil Engineering Department in a Punjab PSU


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