Thursday, September 30, 2010

Again on cost of construction

If you go to a shop selling rice and ask for price of rice for a Kg,you will get an answer from the seller who might have been selling rice for many years.If you ask him what will be the price of rice after a month,possibly the rice seller will look at you with a smile or contempt in his face(depending upon his mood) and will ask you whether you are mad to ask such a foolish question.If you continue to press for an answer saying that you have been selling rice for many years,why cant you tell approximate cost after a month,the shop fellow will tell you to get lost.

People keep on sending mails to me and say that he is planning to construct house and what will be the square feet plinth area cost of construction.They add these words of praise to me some times:”You have been designing and building houses for so many years.So you must be able to tell”

Rice seller is not able to predict cost of rice after a month.Then how can any one predict cost of constructing a house which may  get completed  after a year or more? House construction involves not one material but hundreds of material and different types of labour.How can any one predict cost of a house to be constructed?

.Everyday price of materials and labour keep going up continuously.If any contractor quote a firm price,to keep his margin he will have to compromise somewhere and if that is not possible,he will be forced to leave contract mid way  as no body will be willing to build your house by spending money from his pocket.All estimates are sort of guesses.

Trouble with those who go for house construction in Kerala is that they have lot of wrong and foolish ideas and concepts about house construction.First and fore most is the thinking that if some one has money to build house every body related to house construction will come running for the cake.Those who come running will be crooks in the field.They know how to cheat  the client and run away with profit.
Another important wrong concept is that if you simply know square feet plinth area of a house cost can be known by multiplying square feet plinth area in to that "rate"
I have directly built more than 200 houses ,designed and acted as consultant for many more.All through this work,I have never come to know about that magical"rate"
There is no such thing as square feet plinth area rate which will be known before construction starts.Only way of finding it out if you are so much fond of finding that "rate"will be to add up all your expenses after completion of your house construction and divide by your square feet plinth area.Even then it will be the "rate " for your house construction and any body else building house will have a different" rate"
If you have decided to build your house,first important cost reduction exercise is to get a professional design,assistance and guidance through out construction.That will save you lots of money , better utility,lesser wastage and maximum facilities for money spent.
There is an Engineering Estimate method by which we calculate quantities of each item of construction and multiplying such quantities thus obtained with unit rates currently used ,you will get almost near cost of structure of building.

For finishing work there are umpteen options now and the options will change and innovations will come even during the progress  of construction. of your house.
Time of construction also depend upon many ifs.Funniest part is that nobody knows answers for all those ifs.If everything goes well smoothly you may be able to finish structural work within 6 to 8 months depending upon favorable answers to hundreds of ifs

For any good builder of house in Kerala ,there are more work than  they can handle and hence there is no need to quote low price and get work some how.If some one is willing to quote lower price and get work by talking nicely and sweetly to you,that is a clear indication that you are being led to danger taking advantage of your greed to pay less and get more for less money.

Earlier there were only Thiruvalla and Kottayam people who were happy to cheat others by not paying or paying less.They get sort of thrill in cheating others and they consider it as their capability,being able to avoid payments   legitimately due to some one.For such crooked minded people Indian rupee has different values, if it is their money and if it is some body else’s money.Their money is more valuable and other man’s money and his efforts have no value.Now this sort of thinking is spreading to even other parts of Kerala.In my native village we used to call this as policy of Thoompa(spade).A spade can only take things.It never gives away anything.

Once we start respecting value of other man’s efforts and pay others what is legitimately due to them you get  quality work,loyalty,sincerity and dedication from  the man at the receiving end.That will definitely help you a lot in life as well as in building construction.


  1. But there should be some way of knowing the cost of construction in adavance, whichever way that you call it is. It may never be the exact cost but will approximate to the actual i.e, estimate. The rice seller should be able to predict the price in advance based on his experience. Which will be an approximate cost unless there an no surprises that are anyway not in our control. This is how all projects, constructions work in this world.

  2. There are calculated Estimates based on Engineering Estimate methods.But people want predictions without any data-no plan,no site visit.I was referring to this general tendency where some one ask for cost just by telling "i am planning to construct a house.What will be the cost"