Thursday, June 30, 2011

House design and construction-Queries and replies



Hello  Thomas,

   I am NRI having some land near Kaduthuruthy,Kerala. I like to make 3 to 4 small to medium size houses in that land. if you are available for a consultation please send me a replay.


Joseph C.K

New York, USA.

My reply

Basically such a project require careful planning and professional involvement from beginning to end.

I will have to first visit site and study site conditions.You will have to send me copies of land sketch and also what all you plan to have in a typical Villa.Also you have to tell me type of budget you plan to have for each Villa



Hi Thomas,

I am about to start constructing a home on 21 cents land. The builder I consulted let me know that car porch, sit out and balcony will be calculated as full built up area. I am not so convinced and would to get your opinion on it. Now my plan was to build a 2000 sq. feet home. He says as per his calculation it would come to around 2350 sq. ft. Is he trying to cheat me? Kindly let me know.

I would like to use your service for landscaping too.



My reply

First of all do not simply rely on whatever a builder says.Before starting construction of your house get a professional design from a qualified and experienced Architect

Once you have a professional design finalised you can also get a detailed Engineering Estimate from the Architect which will give you a fair idea on cost of construction expected.With these basic data you can negotiate with a builder for better terms with the assistance and guidance of the Architect

In case you are interested in having our services we can help you from design to  completion of building



Dear sir,

I visit your site Kerala and I try to post a comment and I couldn't. That is why I am sending
this mail to you. I am Sajikumar working in Kuwait. I am going to purchase a seven cents house plot in panchayath
area TVM district. Total 25 house plots are included (almost 200 cents) in that land.This land is 150 meter far from MC road.
4 meter width road is connected to all plots. But I heard 8 meter width road and  waste dumping area should required, if more
than 5 house plots in one land. Otherwise panchayath will not give sanction for build a house in that area. Is it right? please advice me?
or from where I can get the right answer. I will expect your valuable reply.

Thanks & best regards

My reply

Before starting development of plot and division of land in to plots for construction of villas,developer has to obtain sanction from Regional Town planning authority who will have to approve division of plots with all mandatory facilities and common facilities.Check with your builder whether he has got such a sanction for plot development and obtain a copy of the sanction and verify it  with the help of a professional Architect

At present there is no need for obtaining prior Building permit from Panchayath except in special grade Panchayaths.However Building rule provisions will have to be strictly adhered to.

Get professional assistance before you make any financial commitments.WE can assist you if you require our services

Design and Construction of house-Queries and replies



Dear Thomas Sir,

I am Johnson writing you from Dubai. I am in the very beginning stage of preparing a plan and happened to go through your blog.

An architectural firm from Trissur is working on my plan and they have just sent me the preliminary plan.I here by attaching the same . I  would like to have your consultancy service for fixing a best & and a very cost effective  plan for my plot.

My plot is in Puthuppally Kottayam Dist.Please advise me, How can we go ahead in accomplishing  the above?


My reply

On going through plan sent by you I could make out few defects in it.Some of them are the following:

1.For an East facing house both Gate and Car porch should come at Northern half of the frontage.Here car porch come at South side

2.For an east facing house,Kitchen can be at South East(Agni Konam) or in your case it will be better to go for the second option position of Kitchen,North West.North East is Esaana Konam which is ideal for Pooja room and well and not good for Kitchen

3.For a modern Kitchen Store is not required.It is a mere waste of space as Modular  Kitchen will be designed to have storage space separately  for each item used in Kitchen arranged in a manner convenient for house wife to reach for while working in Kitchen instead of old fashioned Store which is nothing more than a dumping place.

4.U shaped stair case is out dated and old fashioned.It leaves lot of un utilisable dark space below.Present trend is to convert Stair case in to a show piece with carefully designed cabinets underneath which can be used either as display place or storage space.Also Vasthu require climbing of stairs from West to East(In this case East to West)

5.At entry to house immediately after a small Foyer a wall comes blocking entry passage.It is highly inauspicious.

6.Toilet at South East corner  is not good  as per Vasthu

It will be better if I can visit your site and redesign the plan of the house

Basic Plan of the house will show positions and dimensions of rooms, other living spaces, doors and windows

We will be preparing this Basic Plan in AutoCAD software and you will get a pdf copy by email within a week of site visit.

Based on mutual discussions this plan prepared can be revised and reviewed and changes accepted by our experts can be incorporated in the plan.

This is the most important document for a house construction. A well-designed plan by a qualified professional with good experience in designing and building houses can give you better facilities, appearance and lesser cost of construction.

Basic Plan for the house will be prepared after site visit,taking into account following:

1.       Information provided by you on your needs, desires and hopes for the house.

2.       Vasthu aspects

3.       Traditional Kerala Architecture features

4.       Modern Architecture features

5.       Structural Engineering aspects to reduce cost of construction

6.       Kerala Building Rules

7.      Features of site and surroundings

I require detailed write up from you on what all you require in the house including your dreams for the house.

Our technical knowledge in the fields of Architecture, Structural Engineering and Vasthu will be used while designing your house.



Hi Mr.Thomas,

Got your details from Kerala

Am planning to make a( traditional-modern mix) house in a small plot of land of 4 cent with in a budget of 7-10 lakhs.The land  is reclaimed field in Anchal,Kollam.

i would like the house as small as possible with a hall ,kitchen and front room as ground floor and 3 bath attached shoe-cabinet type bed rooms on first floor(Some what studio-type).

Please advice

Sajith V Pillai.

My reply

What you have sent is not an Engineering or Architectural plan of the house

At best it can be treated as expression of your imagination about plan of your house

Building a normal house of three bed room with a budget of Rs.9 lakhs will be practically difficult.Even if you have only Rs.9 lakhs with you now it will be good to start construction now with a well designed plan of the house prepared by a qualified and experienced Architect.A good design of the house can save you lakhs of money and provide you better facilities with better space utilisation

As cost of all inputs of house construction keep going up everyday,it will be foolish to wait for having entire money estimated to reach you.Even if you can do only foundation of house now,do it now.Tomorrow will be costly.Housing loan is available without much difficulty now offering long term repayment options.If required we can help you on that also

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Design and construction of house-Queries and replies

Review of plan prepared


Dear Mr.Thomas,

Please find the floor plan, site plan and electrical markups and vasthu corrections (not much changes, except few sizing and over all area) ..

Hope and believe this will help you to review and give your valuable suggestions and guidance on the attached plans .Based on this we will proceed further to next stage of scheduling a site visit and further steps..

FYI – We like follow cost effective, natural/eco friendly but classic-traditional-elegant- approaches with innovative and modern techniques.


My reply

On Vasthu,you seem to have consulted typical Kerala ashari who go by wrong ideas and Chuttalavu which has no mention in any of the authentic Vasthu books

Even positions of rooms they follow are different and wrong

For example South east is Agnikonam ideal place for Kitchen.North east is Esaana Konam ideal for Pooja room and well and definitely not good for Kitchen or Bed room

You have bed rooms at south west and North west which are good

For an East facing house,gate and car porch should come at North half.Here car porch comes at South.I do not understand why a passage is given from car porch to house

Even though bed room sizes are quite big,two bed rooms sharing one toilet with two separate doors  is simply foolish and ridiculous.You could have added Dress and Toilet even by reducing Bed room dimensions thereby giving more utility to bed space

Lot of space is simply wasted and there is not enough space where it really require

I do not know why you require a stair from inside for a single floor house

Rest of the comments I can make after a site visit.

Clay tiles  for floor and Hollow Blocks


Dear Thomas:

Happened to read your excellent informative blog and had questions -  Clay Tiles and Clay hollow bricks.
I am yet to start my house construction. I live in Tripunithura.

Clay Tile Flooring
I was thinking about clay tiles for flooring and many folks discouraged me(same story - fungus, slippery etc). But after reading your blog, have some confidence.
In this page, I liked the 2nd picture flooring. Is that clay tiles too? 

Hollow bricks:

Planned to do hollow bricks for my walls. Got discouraged when my  contractor said anyone, especially robbers, can easily slit through exposed hollow bricks. Is this true?
Actually I was thinking of using hollow bricks and then plastering both sides. Would I still get the benefit of heat reduction if I use plastering ?
Also can I can cut down time as well as cement usage if I use clay hollow bricks instead of traditional bricks?

If you can please give more details on following or provide a contact person and number, that would be helpful.

I would like to get more details on pricing and transportation etc..
I live in Tripunithura and from where can I get these tiles and hollow bricks?  From Trichur, I guess?

What is cost per sf? What could be final cost(approximate) per s f including additional works required (acid wash, urethane etc.).
Also are skilled workers available? where are they located?

Hollow bricks:
My engineer says I need 20 inch walls. That said, what type of hollow bricks do I need? I also need roofing bricks.
Please give an idea of cost per block, transportation cost and details, availability, how soon you can ship to Tripunithura etc. After how many days can I get the bricks?

Please provide details or a contact person with number.


My reply

Clay tiles do not get fungus after proper polishing.Clay tiles laid on my office  flat roof eight years back are still without any fungus.Clay tiles are not slippery like ceramic or vitrified tiles

What you have indicated are Kurudy clay tiles used for  construction of walls and even as filler for roof concrete.There is no harm in it having hollow inside and no thief can open it easily.You can use these blocks or solid /hollow concrete blocks for construction of wall.Semi wire cut bricks though costly are better for construction of walls from the point of strength

Heat inside house can be reduced by better design by a well qualified experienced Architect who can design a house with better ventilation and easy flow of light and wind

Cost of tiles will have to be checked up with manufacturer/supplier

No body uses 20 inches wall for house construction.For load bearing walls 20 cm thickness is sufficient.For partition walls,10 cm walls can be used

Building Permit


Hello Mr. Thomas.

Thanks for allowing me to post a question. I am constructing a home in Kothamangalam that comes under Panchayat area. My home is just less than 3000 sq.ft. I am building only one floor and has some plans to build upstairs for rental in the future. So my questions are -

1) Do I get a separate building number for my upstairs unit? The stair case has direct access from outside as well as from the ground floor unit.

2) My Architect says that I need to leave 4 ft width for my stair case as per new regulations in cochin area (he is from cochin) when I make that as a passage to the rental unit. so he think it might get extended to panchayat sooner. But I am not happy giving almost 8 ft for stair case room. Do you think this will be an issue for me in the future?

3) If I don't get a separate number, then I don't need to worry about the staircase width rite? I don't need to give any approvals to rent out my upstairs unit if its part of same building number. Does it has any difficulty in getting a separate electricity connection and all?

4) If I get 2 building number for the same building, will I be avoiding the luxury tax (3000 sq.ft+)? <3000 for first unit and ~1000 sq.ft. for upstairs unit.

Please provide your valuable suggestions.


My reply

1.You can get a separate building no for upstairs if that is an independent dwelling unit.You will have to show ground and upper floors as separate dwelling units in completion plan or simply inform Panchayath accordingly if your house s under construction are in panchayath area

2.Outside stair can be kept in clearance space as per building rules and hence you do not have to leave extra space for it.

3.If you get a separate building no for both floors,you can get separate Electric connections

4.When you have two building no's panchayath tax will be less for both house units

House construction work after plastering(Interior works)


Dear Sir,

My house construction is going on in Changanacherry,Kottayam( dist.)now the plastering of walls is going on,this is a 2 storey building,I would like you to do interior design including kitchen and bed room cabinets,wardrobes etc.,please clarify the details you need from my side

hope to see an early reply


Krishna Kumar

My reply

We can take complete Interior work for the house which include following

1.Plumbing work with expert workers from Cochin with latest technology inputs

2.Electrical wiring again with our expert workers

3.Putty work before painting

4.Enamel painting/polishing/wall painting

5.Interior wood work like modular Kitchen,cupboards etc.

6.Furniture work with hand carving if required

7.Flooring and toilet wall/floor tile laying with latest trend designs/patterns

8.Landscaping work and any other related work

It will be beneficial to you if I can visit site,take measurements,assess work already done and suggest improvements and check vasthu compliance

Please send me plan of your house in pdf  clearly marking directions and positions of roads

Right now we are doing similar work for another house at Changanassery for which work up to plastering was done by somebody else.Plumbing work is in progress there

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

House Construction in Kerala-Queries and replies



Dear sir,
I want to build a single story house consisting 100 Sq.ft. in Harippad Kerala. Please let me know approximate amount will be incurred only for building

My reply

For building a house first step is preparation of plan of house.Then using Engineering estimate method it will be possible to get approximate indication of cost

There is nothing like a square feet cost of construction.I have written a lot on this in my blogs.Read more

Assistance for  Project work


Hello Thomas Viruvelil sir,

I am into my 5th year, B.Arch and I am a student from SPA Hyderabad.

Your work is interesting and of great help.

I am greatly interested to work on a Heritage Hotel, and I am doing my prelim. studies on this subject. It would be of GREAT help to me, to have valuable inputs from you regarding this.

I am so interested to know if there are similar projects to work on and study; and to have a nice experience,of the subject.

I am in search of "suitable" buildings "old and traditional" which fit into the slot to develop through an adaptive reuse. Had gone through the GOVT.rules about classification of Heritage hotels, and realised I need to have a building aged before 1935 or so for a project like this.Hope that you guys could help me with this aspect at the earliest.

The other topic I have in my mind is a "Heritage Homestay" for the tourists. It would be nice if you help me out with possible sites and which are suitable for such a development. And even more helpful if i could get some inputs about any old homes or palaces that are going to be renewed or converted to hotels. :)

I wish to have some valuable inputs regarding this.
Waiting for a positive response.

Nikhil Dev VN
5th yr.B.Arch. SPA JNAFAU HYD

My reply

It will be better and more meaningful if you can visit Cochin for effective interaction with me and  during the visit I can suggest buildings that can meet your interest for specific study

Assessing soil condition


Dear Mr. Viruvelil Hormise Thomas

My name is Gino Itty George. I am currently designing a house in Thottackadu, Karuckachal, Kottayam. My client wasn't able to procure sufficient details of the site and I am a bit worried. What would be the soil condition of that place? He says he has rubber plantation nearby. Will the site have Laterite soil or Alluvial soil? And in each case what type of foundation would be applicable?

Waiting for your reply.


My reply

I need to visit site to give you  my assessment on the site conditions

Info On Mankara,Palakkad


Geenius.a  has sent you a link to a blog:

sir,thank you 4 your info.can u kindly give some information about mankara a small village in Palakkad.

Blog:  Kerala
Post:  Kerala Architecture

My reply

I have not visited Mankara and hence I am not familiar with the place

What is special significance of Mankara as far as Kerala Architecture is concerned?

House modification and interior work at Cochin


Dear Thomas,

I am Jos John, your classmate in Trichur Engineering  college. During the year 89 we met each other when you came to o/e/n Mulanthuruthy when I was working there. Now, I am working in Doha and coming for one month vacation From June 29. I require some modifications and interiors after checking the Vasthu of the house and quotation  to do the job. Now, it is locked and nobody is staying there. Please reply.

Jos J Athanikkal.

Senior Project Manager(E & I)

GALFARAl Misnad Engg., & Contg., WLL.
Doha, Qatar.

My reply

I have to visit site before I can comment on what can be done on the house to improve utility and appearance of the house

New house construction at Trichur


Dear Mr Thomas:

Please accept my compliments for the great service you render to people like me with no knowledge or experience in building homes.

We have a plot of land admeasuring 5 cents near Trichur (Kerala). We wish to construct a single-storied house (with foundation strong enough for another floor in future) admeasuring around 1,000 sq. ft. or so - 2 BHK) at an estimated all-inclusive cost of Rs 10-11 lakh at 2011 prices.

I will appreciate it if you kindly let me have a couple of suitable designs with dimensions, features and cost (where applicable) at your early convenience and oblige.

Thanking you and with best regards

Dr KSB Nayar, Ahmedabad

My reply

Design for your house has to be specifically designed to meet your plot conditions ,requirements and budget

Any other plan of the house prepared for somebody else may not suit you.I prefer to visit site and discuss with you in detail on your needs for the house before attempting to design your house