Friday, December 31, 2010

Precast building parts-Query and reply



My reply

Gypsum board  ready made walls were in use for a long time.These are normally used as partition walls in commercial building construction especially for interior work

Precast building parts are being used in many parts of world to speed up construction and also to reduce cost.In our conditions,Ferro cement precast parts can be used for partition walls and for interior work.

Basically house construction is an Engineering work which require an expert from beginning to end.Only after studying site conditions,requirements of client and other factors,the Architect concerned decide on materials to be used for construction.

It will be better to leave the choice of materials to be used for your house construction to your Architect rather than you own your own decide on materials to be used using half baked ideas you may gather from different sources.Any work which require professional expertise not only for perfection of work but also for proper management of costs involved should be managed  by you in consultation with the expert concerned.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vasthu compliance for house in USA-query and reply


I am planning to get my first house in US and it quite frustrating to find anything that complies with Vasthu. I am looking only at the entrance (to be east facing) and kitchen area (to be North east facing). My question is would this be enough. Also, if there is some aspect of the house that is not according to Vasthu is there anything that could be done without redesigning the entire house?

Attached is the map of the house with the picture of Vasthu purush (got from Wikipedia). I don't have the complete design of the house.

Thank you very much for your time and effort.

With warm regards,

My reply

Vasthu is applicable anywhere in the world as it is based on polarity which does not change from one part of earth to another.
For the house to face best options as per Vasthu are the following in that order
But house can be designed in a manner to suit direction of facing of the house.For more details read my following blog entry
If you can send me plan of the house along with directions indicated,I can tell you how far the house is in compliance with Vasthu

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Again on square feet cost-Query and reply


Let me be frank in saying that I am planning to construct only a single floored house with about 1000 to 1500 sq ft area.  It would be grateful if you could tell me the estimation also.  I know it cannot be fixed, but at least I will have an idea of the amount.  As I have no experience in these rates and especially the rates in Kerala, as I was born and brought up in Hyderabad.
Hope you would do the needful.


My reply

Without any data,without using Engineering Estimate methods,a professional like me is not supposed to give any guess estimate.It is against professional ethics to misguide a client using a non professional baseless term called square feet cost
Even the plinth area of house indicated by you is just a guess.Only after preparing a plan of the house by a professional,you will know even that figure
House construction is not that simple as going and buying rice from market.It involves hundreds of materials and lot of skilled labour.

With professional guidance you can get best value for your money with maximum utility for the house and a professional if engaged through out construction will guide you on how to  reduce cost ,if that is your concern.
I have directly built more than 200 houses in Kerala.When completed all these houses had different square feet cost and hence I do not know on what basis such a term is used.
If you tell me how many rooms and other facilities you need in the house,location of place where house has to come I can possibly give a guess
But the golden rule in house construction is simply this:
Do not wait for entire money expected for house construction to reach you.Cost of construction increases at least by 20% every three months.If you do not start construction immediately,you may not even be able to reach your dream house tomorrow.Tomorrow will be too late.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Commencement of construction of house-Query and reply


I am searching for an Engineering firm to help me with plan preparation for home in Vaikom. I need flexibility from the firm in incorporating our ideas. We have some pictures that we have picked up from design magazines that we want to use to guide the design. I am non resident (US) so I need the process of plan iterations and discussions done through email/phone. Also I have my parents living next to the plot to oversee construction so I may not need your help with supervision/ construction itself. Please let me know if that is OK. 

My reply

A house is designed by any qualified and experienced Architect after studying the following
1.Plot and surroundings
2.Vasthu aspects of the plot if the Architect is conversant with Vasthu
3.Modern architectural and structural engineering concepts.
4.Relevant building rules of the location
5.Your budget limitations if any
Elevation of any other house may not exactly suit your house as elevation depends to a great extent on the plan of the house.Only after finalising the plan,Elevation can be considered.It may be possible for the Architect to understand your elevational hopes if you show him some of the elevation you liked.But you have to understand that elevation is dependent on plan of the house which will have to be discussed and finalised at first.

Having your relatives at site may help you in  coordinating with the work.But your relative cannot substitute an experienced building professional as building construction require design details and instructions from a professional at every stage of construction.Plan and Elevation are only starting drawings for construction.More detailed drawings,engineering details are required for proper implementation of work at every stage and steps of construction.

You also need skilled workers who follow best construction practices and drawings of a professional correctly to get work done well.In interior locations,one worker and his co workers do entire works related to construction.But a professional agency use workers with expertise for each type of works and it will give you better quality of work.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cost of construction-another query


How much did it cost to build that home in Irinjalakuda?


My Reply

There is no point in asking how much it cost for some one to build a house.
In house construction we use hundreds of materials and hundreds of skilled labour for various type of works
Cost of all these keep raising day by day
Once you decide to construct a house do it fast.Do not wait till it become impossible  for you to manage funds
Of course qualified and experienced professional guidance can ensure better value for money spent and lesser cost due to proper guidance

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cost of house-Query and reply


I just came across your site.
Could you  please give me the  approximate cost for a 2800 S.feet house with reasonably good finishing including all charges.
to build the same for my cousin in Trichur.
Sree Jayan

My reply

Look. It  looks like very easy to find out cost of constructing a house.On your own you assume square feet plinth area of the house without even preparing a plan and then like going and finding cost of a Kg of onion from the shop, an Architect is expected to tell you square feet plinth area of constructing a house which cannot be done in a day or week or month.

Construction of house require at least an year.During this period of construction cost of hundreds of different material used for construction normally goes up in Kerala conditions.Some times it is not even available

For example take the case of few materials.
Rubble used for foundation work cannot be taken that easily.There are so many restrictions,too many licenses,too many government officials to be bribed to take rubble and transport it to site.

River sand simply cannot be taken or transported.But still transporters try to supply it with the hope of extracting money as they demand from the builder.So they bribe as required to ever willing bribe takers who consider government job as a license to take bribes

Almost all materials are to be transported to site.Even after taxing more than 100%,government  has no hesitation in increasing price of petroleum products and never bothering to reduce cost even if international price of crude oil reduces.Cost of diesel is now more than when international prices were double.Both state and central government consider petroleum products as cash cows.

With each increase in petroleum products, price of every material goes up.During one year period of construction of house,nobody knows how many times price of diesel will go up.

Transporting  river sand is like smuggling activity.So many have to be bribed.Transporter naturally would like higher profit for transporting such a risky material.

Getting good workers regularly for construction work is a big challenge.So if you need workers you have to pay them what they demand even if they are not very good quality workers.Here demand is more and supply is less.

Even with all these you want the contractor (trying to make money by building your house) to commit a firm square feet cost of construction ,that too lesser than what others may quote if he want  your work.

He is not educated or articulate  enough like me to explain the meaningless nature of your so called “square feet rate”.So to get work from you he  will quote lower square feet rate and you  will be only happy to learn or even dream about his possible loss by taking up your construction work!

I have seen several times happiness on the face of my clients whenever material and other input cost goes up just by imagining  his saving of money by obtaining a “square feet rate” from contractor.Like most of Malayalees you will also be happy to think about losses your contractor will make by doing your work.

But if you think that you are smart and your contractor is a fool,you are mistaken.

With varying cost of all inputs of construction like material and labour,he will have to compromise on quality of construction to make profit.He will make you believe that all improper construction practices followed by him are the right way of doing the construction and you do not know what is right and wrong in construction .So you believe him.
Even after doing all quality compromises if he is still not able to make profit,he will ask for rate revision or extra charges when he is sure that no other contractor will come and take up half work done by him
So he will get profit  some how or other by doing your work as he has seen many like you trying to be smarter than him.
Finally when the work near completion with all quality problems which may not be noticeable immediately,contractor will find ways of extracting extras from you and you desperately trying to complete house construction some how.At that point of time “square feet cost” is forgotten by you and by the contractor also.

Square feet cost of construction is simply a lie house builder will have to tell you to get work from you

You should not expect a qualified and experienced house building professional to go to such lower levels of an illiterate contractor (with only one interest-make profit  by hook or crook) to give you such baseless “square feet cost”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Construction–Reply to query


I am a NRI working in Abu Dhabi.  I am planning to construct a new house in my 11 cent plot and the place is in between pattambi and shoranur and it is a remote area.  My plan is 3 BHK with the minimum required facilities.  My family consists of myself, wife and son and my parents.  I need to construct a house which is cost effective but at the same time it should have the minimum required facilities.
Please let us know some ideas and details such as the average cost, etc. because I am planning to apply for a NRI housing loan.
Suresh K.P.

My reply

Cost can be worked out or a guess Estimate can be made only after we have at least the following data

1.Site visit study

2.Study by Architect about your dreams and needs for your house

3.Plan of the house

Even if these data is available every Estimate is only a more nearer guess by a professional with the assistance of data available to him at the time of preparation of Estimate.

House Construction require several materials.Some of these materials may not necessarily be available in time without much difficulty.Cost of almost all materials used  in construction of house changes mostly upward during construction

Trends and technology changes during course of your house construction

Even the most well managed construction organisation find it difficult to get the right skilled workers at the right time and wages payable to them also keep changing mostly depending upon demand supply theory

So how can any one clearly predict cost of your house construction just  by hearing your intention of constructing a house?

Modification of existing home


I am from near to Tripunithura, Ernakulum. I want to reconstruct my present home which is 40 Yrs. old [ Present Roof is  Tiles ] .
I request your kind advise in this regard, which is at low cost.

My reply

Existing house to be modified will have to be studied in detail by me before I can comment on what can be done to modify the existing building.

Every professional with qualifications and experience in the field will try to reduce your construction cost by design and by technical guidance during construction.A professional Architect is supposed to give you better design with better facilities and at lower cost.

If you tell him clearly about your true budget limitations,he will advise you how to go about the work to limit your cost.On many occasions I have found that client  do not tell about actual financial conditions or fund available and fund that can be obtained from external sources.

Most clients think that if they tell Architect about lesser fund availability,he will have some magic wand to reduce cost.With lesser fund availability if true,you should be willing to restrict facilities you seek in the house  and also willing to accept suggestions of the Architect to reduce cost

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is a plan enough for building house?

From the mails I receive I get a feeling that lot of people have too many wrong ideas about plan of house.Most important wrong ideas are the following

1.Any plan prepared by any one or taken from any website is good enough for plan of your house

2.There is no meaning in paying a higher fees or charges for getting plan of the house prepared by a well known Architect

3.If the plan of the house is ready, builder of the house can manage everything else.No more need for a professional Architect/Engineer.

4.An Architect can make good elevation of the house for any plan

5.If a picture of the house taken from anywhere is given to an Architect,he can make a similar or same Elevation whatever may be plan of your house.

All these are wrong.

A qualified and experienced Architect will have to discuss in detail with you to understand what exactly you need in the house to be designed and built.

He has to see the land where the building has to come up.By seeing the land,he will visualise your house in the plot,check nature of land,surroundings,level of land,Vasthu aspects if he is good at Vasthu also.He will also check up whether there is any restraining factors for building a house as per Kerala Building rules.

While preparing plan for your house knowledge of Architect and his rich experience is used to design the house to get following:

1.Better facilities for you as per your wishes but with lesser cost

2.Better utilisation of every built up space.No unnecessary or unwanted space in the house.

3.Better features of modern architecture and Kerala Architecture if he is well versed with Kerala Architecture.

4.Vasthu compliance for each portion of the house(If he is good at Vasthu)

5.Better structural design to reduce cost

6.Better appearance for the house

For getting all these benefits is it not worth paying few thousands to an Architect?

Even after preparation of plan and Elevation,there are several architectural and structural engineering drawings required for proper and correct implementation of construction of house.Even the drawings prepared by an Architect as plan and Elevation has to be explained with details for the builder to know how to proceed with construction.

So your need for professional assistance and guidance does not end with preparation of plan.Plan will have to be designed in a manner to obtain a good Elevation.You cannot have any Elevation for any plan.Plan and Elevation are inter related.

When I was finalising plan of the house,one of my client told me that a particular builder can do the construction just by getting plan of the house.Then I told my client that he should not engage that builder if he says like that.He does not even know about need for detailed architecture and structural Engineering drawings and periodic on site supervision by the designer.

Only when the construction started and drawings after drawings on details started coming,my client understood importance of having professional guidance during construction.

And now the money part.For the payment an Architect takes , you save much more in lakhs during construction using his guidance and you finally get a better quality construction at lesser cost with proper utilisation of every built up space with definitely more value for money spent by you.

Do not think that Architects and Engineers are costly.They bring their rich experience,knowledge to make a better house for you and in the process in spite of paying them fees,they reduce cost of constructing your house substantially and guide you to have best and latest facilities and trends for your once in a life time dream house.

Do you want to save those fees given to professional and lose both money and better house by design and construction?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Flooring-new trends

Flooring options change often as new materials and trends coming in thereby completely or partially removing from the scene flooring materials which were in use for a long time.

About ten years back,mosaic and mosaic tile flooring were in use.Now you do not see such flooring anywhere.Before that red oxide flooring was very common.Now it is difficult even to find good masons who knows how to lay red oxide flooring well.Plane cement plastering was also used for flooring.

Clay tile flooring

If you look at old palaces,clay tile flooring was quite common.But the quality of clay tile used were not good resulting in wear and tear of the clay tile surface.So,when  I talk of going back to clay tile flooring first question I get is that will it last.

Present day clay tiles are better in quality.It will not  get damaged due to constant movements of men and material on clay tile laid surface.On slope roof,you have to lay clay tiles to give it that old Kerala traditional house appearance.Unlike in the olden days clay tiles laid on slope roof will not get fungus on it as it will be painted with new anti fungal paint which will give natural clay colour for the tiles.There are special tile shield paints which protect the clay tile from effects of sun and rain at least for about 5 years and after this you will have to re paint it.

On flat roof surface old method of plastering exposed surface is not that good.With sun and rain lashing the flat roof surface,it will get a big coat of fungus and gradually plastered surface will whither away thus causing wetness damaging concrete surface gradually and if the concrete laying was not done properly(That is the usual case with workers trying to do an easy job and contractor trying to reduce costly material content to increase profit and “very clever”owner of the house who tried to save fees payable to professional engineers or a professional agency giving house construction work to that “square feet cost”contractor.In almost all cases owner of the house simply believes lies told by contractor to hide his improper methods of concrete laying, as he himself does not know much about proper laying of concrete)

Instead of plastering the exposed surface of flat roof concrete,if you lay clay tiles it will act as permanent protection against rain and sun for concreted surface.Clay tile laid will reduce a good portion of heat being passed on to concrete roof as it absorbs heat.This will result in better cooling inside house.Of course clay tile can also cause fungus formation on top of it.But if you polish the exposed  clay tile surface after laying and apply anti fungal polyurethane coating,it will not attract fungus growth and clay tile will remain in tact braving sun and rain.On exposed roof surface you can also apply anti fungal  tile shield paint.But it will not look that good .

Inside bed rooms you can go for clay tiles as it will be more environment  eco friendly and definitely more healthier for you to move around or even sleep over bare floor .All other flooring materials except of course wooden flooring will not be eco friendly.

Wooden flooring

With cost of granite slabs going around Rs.200/-,using teak wood flooring will not be comparatively costly.There are agencies who will take up complete teak wood or other wood flooring on turn key basis including polishing using imported polishing material which will make the floor last for years without any damage.Of course you should not pour water over wooden floor surface or wash the floor with wet cloth.It will damage polishing.You can definitely use wooden flooring in areas where traffic is less like office room,bed rooms etc.

Other tiles

Granite and marble is on the way out of flooring.At least that is the present day trends .Marble is practically gone out and granite will move out shortly.Developments in technology has brought in materials like Naturoc tiles of NITCO and similar tiles from other manufacturers.These are available in thicker thickness thereby making it easy for bending edges like in granite.There are varieties of tiles which has got both anti stain mirror finish and rough surface.With rough surface tiles that can be bend at edges,these tiles make ideal choice for stair steps in place of granite slabs used earlier.

Tiles of various design and colour combinations now available and your Architect can custom design your toilet walls and floors using design specifically developed for you.

Outside wall tiles

Your compound walls and outside exposed walls can be given special exterior wall tiles with new design combinations.Similarly good design interlock tiles are available for laying  in the compound and car porch

Monday, December 13, 2010

Query-Flooring options


Hello Mr. Thomas,

I came across your blog and felt that you are an expert in house making. I would like to get few suggestions from you regarding the flooring for my house in Cochin,Kerala. My house is on 10 cent land and I wanted to do flooring on the ground floor as well as the top floor too. Could you please suggest me what kind of flooring or tiles would be reasonable and look attractive and how much the entire flooring would cost me?

I could find out from your blog that you often suggest clay tiles but could you also point out to me the bad points about the clay tiles also? If you could give the good and bad points of all types of tiles and how much each would cost me I would appreciate it.

I also wanted to do an exterior flooring like walkway or landscape outside my house which covers another 10 cent land also. Could you please give me an estimate how much it would cost me? Please tell me how much should be my budget for the interior flooring and the exterior flooring separately.
I would appreciate your suggestions and thanks a lot in advance. 
Mercy Joshi.

My reply

There is a blog entry-Flooring options which give comparative details for various flooring options.Link is this
After this blog entry  new varieties of vitrified tiles have come to the market.A super glossy stain free version and Naturoc tiles with rough surface which can also be used for stairs with edge curving
It will be more beneficial to you if I can visit your site
I can assess work so far done and give you suggestions not only on flooring but on all balance work to be done.I will give a detailed report in writing about work so far done,Vasthu aspects and suggestions on work to be done

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Query-Looking for land and villa at Cochin

I am a distant cousin of Jairaj Iyer living in the UK.  I came to know about Jairaj's purchase of land and the house construction at Koratty.  He had sent me the link to his blog and the house looking amazing, its really our dream house in India.  
Jairaj told me that you helped him finding land. I am interested in looking for options available on the availability of land closer to Jairaj's land.  Could you please let me know on the availability of land and prevailing prices in the area?  This is for my settlement and not for just investment.  But the problem is I only visit India once a year and not planning to visit until later in the year.  Am not sure how we could progress with my interest.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

My reply

Compared to other areas close to airport of Cochin  and Cochin city,area where Mr.Jairaj is building the house is relatively less costly and the nature and surroundings are calm and peaceful, typical Kerala village life.

For buying land you or some one close to you has to look at possible options and decide.If you are not coming to India in the near future,you have to entrust some one for that.If that decision making can be done and then funds can be arranged we can do rest of the job like technical/legal evaluation of land and and legal title of land,land purchase documentation,obtaining permits,designing and building house.Living in UK you can watch your house construction progressing with blog which you will create and maintain with  regular inputs on progress of construction,

This is the best safe option for an NRI as we handle your property purchase and development with all care,assistance and guidance  that can be expected from a  dedicated professional which a NRI can possibly dream now and mostly dismissed as only a dream.It is no more a dream.It is really possible!

Query on second Floor extension


I own a house at palarivattom Junction which was constructed at 1976 as a single floor and developed 1st floor in 1990. Now i am planning for a second floor above first floor which should be weightless as well as look like a fully build home. My requirement is as follows

1)    Can you undertake the task of planning the second home
2)    If you plan to undertake the work ,by what time will you finish the work
3)    Cost of raising
4)    Only concern of mine is weight issue,what all steps will you undertake for completion without affecting a hole in my pocket
5)    As the building is around 35 years old should i need to elevate a new column structure?

My reply

An additional floor for the existing 35 year old structure can be done only if the original foundation of the building is designed for three storey construction.
Column beam structure will be required for three storey building.But column beam structure cannot be put on top of existing structure as you have written.Column beam structure has to start from the ground level itself.Without a site visit,I cannot comment much on existing structure.

Time of completion of a construction project does not fully depend upon the building contractor.Funds should be available in time.Proper man power for umpteen items of work involved in building has to be available in time and they should work continuously as most of the construction workers take up few projects at same time to ensure continuous work for them.Materials required for construction should be available as and when required.

When you want to build ,you should be willing to spend money for it.If you start worrying about making hole in your pocket,construction work will not progress well to completion.

Cost can be calculated only after obtaining necessary data and finalisation of design.It cannot be simply guessed without any data.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our services and free consultation

You can  have free consultation from me on Kerala Architecture, Vasthu aspects and anything related to house construction.
Having built more than 200 houses directly and designed many more houses, my knowledge and experience can be used by you to get a better house by design and professional work during construction

Write to me to
you will get reply within 48 hours


1. Architectural Services
For building your dream house in Kerala or for building any other type of building, we can design your building by providing you effective guidance and design for
a)Preparation of Plan of the building
b) Elevations both two dimensional and three dimensional
c) Submission drawings to local authority
d) Engineering Estimate specifying cost for each item of work
e)Structural Engineering drawings for execution of the work
f) Detailed architectural drawings for the work
g) Interior design
h)Landscape and exterior work details
i) Site visits as and when required for guidance and supervision
2. Real estate assistance
For purchase of land or building in Kerala, we can provide you the following services:

a) Locating land or building for purchase with the assistance of our Real estate division ( in and around Cochin only).
b)Architectural, structural and legal evaluation of the property to be purchased
c) Verification of title documents of the property by legal experts
d) Documentation of the property purchase
e)Assistance for registration of the property and after registration formalities
f) Periodic maintenance of the property if the property is in and around Cochin
3. Construction of the building
We can take up construction of the building with complete professional care and guidance anywhere in Kerala and outside state(on case to case basis) subject to acceptance of terms and conditions of our construction division directly by using our trained work force, with complete supervision and guidance by our architects and engineers.
4. Vasthu consultancy
We can guide you on Vasthu before developing plan of the house and during construction also.
We can also inspect your existing building for Vasthu compliance and suggest suitable modifications to obtain better Vasthu compliance.
5. Interior design
We have a team of experienced and qualified Interior designers with complete man power and infrastructure to implement interior work with all the goodness of traditional Kerala Architecture and with modern technology and innovations.
6. Remodeling, Interior and furnishing of your existing building
Your existing old building can be made new(renovated) with remodeling, interior modifications and furnishings by our experts
7. Land scaping and other services
Our experts can convert your vacant space into more useful space and enhance its appearance and utility. Land around your house can be converted into more useful space with better appearance and aesthetic look.
Any other services related to your building also can be referred to us.
We have qualified experts with experience in building more than 200 houses in different parts of Kerala and outside state and we have designed and remodeled much more houses.  
Mail your enquiries for our services to

Or call us 

00 91 9388701702
00 91 9497736072
00 91 9388701707
00 91 4842536895
00 91 4846571155

Fax-00 91 484 2531671

Every effort is taken to provide you authentic information on Kerala Architecture and it is features and  relevant information on building a house in Kerala. VIRUVELIL group of Companies , V.H.Thomas or any person interacting through this website on behalf of VIRUVELIL group of companies will not be responsible for the authenticity or correctness of the information provided through this website or conveyed by email to any person contacting us for information, assistance, guidance or for any commercial activity related or followed after any enquiry or request for services /assistance/guidance

We do not accept responsibility for loss or damage arising from the use of the information provided through this website which may be creative work/technical data without our consent/involvement and guidance. We have complete, unchallenged copy right for all information, data, pictures, design details provided through this website. Any dissemination, use, review, distribution, printing or copying in part or full of information, data, pictures design details provided through this website is strictly prohibited

Any activity followed by information provided by our websites,blogs , by email or in responses to queries to V.H.Thomas should be carried out  with our assistance,involvement and guidance.We will not be responsible for any effects/damages to your property or any other adverse results by following our instructions without our involvement/guidance/assistance

Our Websites

Query-Cooking facing North and Clay tile for flooring


I have visited your website, very informative and descriptive. I would like to have clarification on two things as follows:
1.       Is it permissible as per Vasthu to keep the cooking stove on the northern side of the kitchen, i.e. the cook facing North?
2.       My house construction is going on and the property is a developed area, hence the sand is wet after 4 ft. is it advisable to do clay tile flooring on the ground floor as we are very much interested to do the clay tile flooring, but fears the possibility of fungus due to the moisture.
Also, grateful if you can suggest any reliable dealers of quality Clay tiles in Trivandrum.

Soja Silvester

My reply

As per Vasthu you should keep cooking stove at East side of the Kitchen and cook facing East only.There is no other alternative position.Kitchen should preferably be  at South East corner of the house and if that is not possible you can have second option position of Kitchen-North West
Sand wet at a depth of 4 feet is not a problem for using clay tiles for flooring.Clay tile is laid over concreted surface and hence there is no chance of water getting into it from the ground.Present day clay tiles will not absorb moisture as much as you may be thinking.At exposed surface,polishing and poly urethane coating will make clay tile practically water resistant.
I am not aware of clay tile manufacturer location at Trivandrum

Query–Locating land and building house

Dear Thomas,
I am very much impressed with Viruvelli group. It has very in-depth details about your profile and would like request to find me a land up to 20-25 cents near-by to Tripunithura, Ernakulum, eventually then build my dream home.
Basically , being a malayalee, I had a great appetite to live in Kerala since my young age, but could not do so. However I feel now a great need to settle down back in India and have preferred Tripunithura, just to get the great niche of its cultural influence. My kids like India in a great way and has so far influenced them with Indian cultural values. We currently live in United Kingdom in tiny town called Basingstoke which has nice lush green natural views.

Looking for nice piece of land suitable to construct cost efficient home with a solid soil as you may agree (unfilled soil) measuring from 20-25 cents. Having basic facilities like access to road,water,electricity,drainage, free from vehicle noise,dust. Distance from Tripunithura can be up to 5-10 km, as I don't want live in proper town center. My budget is around 1.5 lacks / cent. Its just a great wish..I have no real great idea about real estate values, hopefully you can give good advice and help me out in this situation.
Kind Regards,

My Reply

If you have a budget of Rs.1.5 lakhs per cent,if you need good solid soil,good water, better environment,it will  be better if we locate for a you land nearer to Cochin airport.
Tripunithura land value is almost double of your budget and is more crowded and with lesser facilities.
In a similar case,Mr.Iyer who is Director of a Dutch MNC and his wife who is Vice President of Citibank approached us for locating and purchasing land nearer to airport,with low land value.

We have located for them land at a distance of 11KM from Cochin airport,did all  technical,legal verifications and documentation formalities,obtained building permit,Electricity connection and  complied with all other formalities.

House construction is now in progress  and Iyers can watch progress of house construction from any part of world just by clicking on following link:

This land is in a peaceful beautiful village area,with good water,solid soil land and a real beautiful landscape all around nearer to Cochin city with all advantages of village life.
We can do something similar for you

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Query on Sand Piling


I would like to build a house(ground floor & first floor) in a land .but the land is not strong ,my engineer suggested to me about sand piling.How is this method  it is good.Please give me your valuable reply.


My reply

First you have to conduct soil test in your plot by an approved agency with qualified Engineers.Then soil test data will have to be tested in soil test lab.After this results obtained will have to be checked and studied by a Structural Engineer specialised in the field.Then only it can be decided whether  sand piling will be sufficient.
If an Engineer simply says that sand piling has to be done without these steps of action,it has no meaning
Go through my blog entries at
You will get more details and essential matters you should know at beginning of construction

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pile foundation

A lot depends upon soil and nature of land where you intend to construct house especially for foundation work of your house.

In places like Cochin where majority of land is marshy in nature which is filled with laterite soil  to get a feel of land,there is no other alternative other than going for concrete pile foundation even when you construct an ordinary house.

Scientific procedure to ascertain the nature of foundation required will be like this

1.Conduct soil test at the plot

If the plot is small a soil test at center of the plot will be sufficient using rig which goes down to something like 40-45 feet taking samples of soil or whatever you have down the line as the rig goes down.Samples thus taken will be tested in soil test laboratory and the results obtained will be given along with plan of the house to be built to a structural consultant.

2.Structural Engineering design of foundation

A structural consultant is an Engineer specialised in Structural Engineering at post graduate study level after his basic Engineering graduation.He will study soil test results and  architectural plan of the building and suggest foundation details for the house.This structural design for foundation of the building will tell you about what exactly you have to do to obtain a safe foundation in your plot which has weak soil conditions

3.Options possible

Exact nature of foundation will be decided by the structural consultant.But I can tell you about various possibilities that may be suggested by the structural consultant

1.Sand piling

If sand is available in your plot at depth not more than 20 feet,you can go for sand piling in the excavated area for foundation which is basically ramming the  foundation area with pile filled with sand and 1/4 inch metal up to a depth of 20 feet or where you can find sand.This is the cheapest option of pile foundation only if you are lucky to have sand at a depth of 20 feet

2.Manual concrete piling

You may not be lucky to get sand at 20 feet at most places in Cochin.Even if you dig down to 45 feet or more,in most places you will find only mud(clay) with absolute no trace of sand.So you will have to bore holes at places in foundation as per suggestions of structural consultant  and fill concrete of a richer variety after putting in place reinforcement as designed by consultant preferably with welded tying of round stirrups.

3.Compaction concrete piling

This is better option technically and cost wise.Here you bore holes to desired depths,fill concrete and then by force ram down reinforcement as per design.But this compaction may cause slight vibrations nearby and your neighbor may object to it.So you will have no other option other than going for costlier manual method.In places where your neighbour do not object you can go for compaction method

Sometimes your structural consultant may suggest doing sand piling in the entire area where the house comes in addition to concrete piling at corner points and other places where he finds it essential .This will be much more safer as it will strengthen entire area and chances of floor going down after flooring  work can be avoided.

After the concrete piling you will have to do so many other works to complete your foundation work. See pictures of compaction piling.

Even in hilly terrain like Nedumkandom in Iduki district even though land may be quite strong with laterite,there will be big slope in land terrain.Some times it may not be possible to level the land.So there also foundation cost can go up trying to level foundation.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Query-Single floor or two floor house?


I am planning to build a house  (3 bedroom) in 10 cents of  plot. Could you please advise the construction cost for  single story or double storey  house which one is cheaper?
Looking forward for your reply.

My reply

A three bed room house can be built in a 10 cents plot in single floor .If the soil nature is stable,it will be cheaper to go for single storey.In places were soil  is weak,foundation cost will be higher.It depends upon location of your plot,soil and landscape nature.Without sufficient details on nature of land,I cannot give a clear answer.In a location were foundation cost is likely to be higher you can go for two bed room at Ground Floor level and third bed room at First Floor

Query on “maranachuttu” and Vasthu


My Name is Murali, I am working at Dubai.

sir i went through your  web site.  (
but still i could not understand the how can we find out the "Maranachuttu”. I request you to can you please explain to me.

My reply:

As per Vasthu studied and understood by me using authentic books on the topic,there is no "Maranachuttu"
Only local asaris talk about this so called "Maranachuttu" which in my opinion is baseless.
They find out perimeter of the building in a measurement system existed earlier called,Kol  and divide perimeter thus obtained in Kol by a particular number.If you get a whole number after division,the perimeter is considered as inauspicious or "Maranachuttu".If the divided figure is exactly midway like say,3.5 or 4.5, the perimeter is considered as auspicious or "Uthamam"
This is equivalent to giving divinity to a measurement system existed earlier in Kerala called "Kol,Angulam and Viral" which in my opinion is baseless.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Queries on plot area , flooring and building upstairs of existing building

I was thinking of posting queries i  receive by email and my replies for some time now as these answers can be useful to so many others also.Here is the first such queries and replies.I just used name of the person without giving details  of identifying the persons.

1. Plot area


My name is Alex. I got your mail ID through net. I have a doubt about area measurement. My Plot is 5 Cent or sent i want to know sent means how many square meter. Please sort out my doubt.

My reply

Cents is only area of the land.For all practical purposes length of the plot in road facing side is very important.If you have more length in that direction utility of the plot will be better
one cent is 435 sft.Divide sft by 10.76,you will get M2

2.Flooring-vitrified tile and clay tile


On the flooring i read your blog post regarding clay tiles with polyurethane it easy to get this coating done? will it last.. I was thinking of using vitrified tiles for flooring..

My reply

Vitrified tiles cause negative energy.Most of the vitrified tiles available in market are skidding in nature which is again harmful for movement.
But now improved vitrified tiles with matt finish and antiskid surface like Naturoc series of Nitco are available.But these again are not healthy for walking ,sitting and sleeping over.
Clay tiles are made from mud in earth and hence extremely environment friendly and healthy to live on.After laying, clay tiles can be hand polished to make it water and moisture resistant.Present day clay tiles are also wear resistant to a great extent.After this hand polishing using mansion polish you can also apply poly urethane coating over it to get better look and weather resistance.Polyurethane finishing coating material is manufactured by several companies including MRF and available in all leading paint shops.


We are located in Palakkad. We have a two storied house with the top floor left as an empty hall not done up yet. We are now considering to convert it into a separate house upstairs. which stones are best to make the partition these are interior non load bearing walls we are talking about. Can you please give suggestions which are cost effective and easy to acquire as well as to work with

My reply

You can build on top of existing floor if you have foundation strong enough to carry an upper floor.While building upper floor you can build only exactly above walls in ground floor.To some extent non load bearing 10 cm thickness walls can be put  even  without having a wall to support at lower floor level if your Structural Engineer allows it.10cm walls means going for semi wire cut bricks only.You can also have gypsum board partitions.
If you want I can visit your site and study your site conditions and guide you on the matter

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Building a house-is that so simple?

I get at least two or three emails everyday each saying like this


I plan to construct a house with following rooms.Please reply  and inform me cost of building the house


Some persons write like this


I am planning to build four bed room house with 1500 sft .Please tell me the cost

Tell me what is the current cost of constructing a house


After building more than 200 houses in Kerala directly and acting as designer/consultant for many more houses,I cannot give an answer to these questions.

Some how people seem to think that house construction is very simple.They think that If you ask some one in the field of construction ,he will tell you cost of building the house immediately.

How can anyone predict the cost of building a house without any data? Without site visit and study of soil and nature,without designing at least a plan of the house,how can any one predict cost of building a house?

House construction involves purchase of lot of materials which cannot be purchased and stored at site at a time.When you buy these materials,you will have to pay ruling market price if you want the material.Even if you take the case of labour involved,there are so many different types of labour is involved in building a house.You will have to pay them ruling rates on the dates of hiring labour.

In such a fast changing situation when there can be situations of material and labour not even available when you need them,how will you simply predict cost of building a house?

Even the process of building a house will  take not less than an year.During this period so many changes can happen in  in price, availability of material , labour,technology,trends are possible.Even Ambani took seven years to build his 100 crore house in Mumbai.Naturally time taken is not due to his inability to raise 100 crores.But work require time to get completed in spite of money you may have.

To complete building a house you need more than money.You should have the capability to manage these factors or people to reach your dream home in the best possible manner

1.Your designer/Architect

He may be having many works at a time.Unless he puts his mind sincerely in your work you will not get best out of him.Just money alone will not get you the best out of him

2.Your builder and his team of workers

They will also be having other works going on simultaneously.After your work is over,you are least bothered whether these people continue to get work for sustaining their lives.But they will naturally have to adjust to keep other works going on and other works coming in to remain in the business or field of work.

3.Your material suppliers

4.Your financiers , friends and relatives

5.People who give you free advice

Actually they create more problems during execution of work.If you start listening and following those free advices,you will land up in a mess.

Square feet cost of construction

Let me ask you one simple question.Who is talking about this so called square feet cost of construction?No professional will commit that at so much square feet cost a house construction can be completed.

For all the houses I built when completed each of them has got different square feet cost,if I bothered to write down all expenses from beginning to end and divide total cost by square feet plinth area. in the end.

For each house soil conditions will be different,nature of land will be different,access to  building materials production centers will be different,design will be different,needs of house owner will be different.In short every parameters will be different.Then how can you say that there will be a uniform constant square feet cost of construction?

Only non professional contractors without any technical knowledge will give you a quotation with square feet cost.He will try to minimise his costs during construction by compromising on quality aspects knowingly and sometimes without knowing also..He want profit by hook or crook..He knows very well that you do not know much about construction.That is precisely why you did not bother to get assistance and guidance from a professional.It is easy to cheat some one who has only very little and mostly wrong ideas on building a house.You are actually such a person.I have seen contractors cheating clients by knowingly talking about bad and wrong practices in construction as the right thing to do.You will simply believe him. .

Even though he might have given some square feet cost indication initially he will find ways and means to collect extras from you.In the end you will worry only about completing the house some how.If a contractor is doing the work,even if you want to change him in between it will not be possible.So you end up paying whatever he demands and that sweet low square feet cost he told initially to you to get the work from you is silently forgotten by you and the contractor.

So all those writing to me asking for square feet cost want me to tell a lie.I simply refuse to tell that lie.