Thursday, February 23, 2012

#Kerala House Construction-Replies to your queries



I came to know about you from your website and I am very happy to read all your article about House and Vasthu.My plot is located in Ernakulum, Vazhakkala. I am planning to make a home in my plot. I have a plan with me. I am sending it with this email.  I am also sending a sketch of my plot.  The total sq.ft. is coming more than 3000 including the car porch. I want it to be reduced to come below 3000.

Hope that you will revert me soon.

My reply

Plan sent by you has got both Architectural and Vasthu defects

As plan of the house is the most critical drawing which can make you gain or lose lakhs of rupees, it is very important that you get the best plan for the house and  not any plan available from anywhere

First step in construction of house is preparation of Basic Plan of the house

Site visit  before preparing plan will be better though plan can be prepared if you can give complete measurements of all four sides of plot, directions of each side and positions of roads near plot.

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, without any extra charges

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.

Once the plan is finalised,we will prepare an Engineering Estimate giving item wise detailed cost information .This calculated Estimate is the near correct costing you can get for house to be built and it can be prepared only after finalisation of the plan. If you have any budget limitations, if such information is provided in advance design of the house can be suitably modified to reach near your budgetary cost.



Dear Sir,

I am a Malayalee staying in Malaysia.

I intend to renovate my single floor terrace house and intend to incorporate

traditional Kerala architecture.

Would you be able to help me?

Looking forward for an early and favourable reply.

Padmanabhan Nambiar.

My reply

House renovation is basically much more costly than building a new house.While building new house we can design everything fresh.With the old house built by some body else you don’t even know how the construction was done.As you start chipping and demolishing parts,you face new problems not anticipated earlier and this creates a situation where cost of renovation/remodeling cannot be properly guessed or calculated.

In some cases remodeling can change the entire house from the point of utility and appearance.Only area where you cannot do anything will be foundation level.In most cases foundation height in old houses will be quite low and nothing can be done to raise it to a desirable level.

First step required when you think of remodeling is to get your house to be remodeled examined by a good Architect.He will be able to tell you whether it is worth going for remodeling.I remember in many cases where the client thought that remodeling was a good option,I have found it to be a waste of money and efforts and advised client accordingly.In most cases it is sentimental attachment getting higher than reasoning and wise judgment

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#Kerala-House Design and Construction–Replies to your queries



Raveendran   has left a new comment on your post "Building Permit":

we are a group of government employees. we want to construct a 6 storied flat project having 20 units within 5-10 kms of Ernakulum town. what are the requirements for access roads and floor area ratio.

My reply

I cannot give a general reply to this question.First of all you have to identify a specific plot or plots where you think you can build such an apartment complex.Then you will have to get both technical and legal evaluation of the plot.A professional agency may also help you  checking documents status of the plot.Probably you can refer to following link in our website

which will give more necessary information for you.



Hello sir,
I want to build small farm (cost effective and sustainable.) at sawantwadi ( sindhudurg,Maharashtra)
Place falls in same region as Kerala..Here you will find more or less same kind of construction since it is in Konkan region.
My architect/contractor is working on project.I have attached preliminary drawings given by him and BOQ.
In BOQ,He has not included roof trusses and roofing material since we are still looking for various options.
I have following queries
1) He has tried to develop plot according to Vasthu principle.Is it proper accordingly and kept plot 2 vacant either for sell/future expansion.
2)I have very limited budget.How much will be cost of this house?
3)Will you be able to provide me rate of items to cross check it with my contractor.
4)Since we are looking for roof truss which is preferable to build timber/metal? What is cost of building it?
5)We are also looking for MCR roofing tile .Contractor said that it is sustainable and long lasting but cost is bit high.Is he correct?
6)We are going for exposed laterite construction.He said skilled workman take 22 Rs to place one stone of laterite.what is exact labour rate?
I found your blog very informative.
Thank you.

My reply

Please understand that job of an Architect is not simply guess expected cost of construction without any data or decide rates for work by any contractor for any type of job at any place.A professional Architect operating near your place may guide you on these provided he handles the job from design stage itself and you proceed on his advice/instructions from the beginning of construction



Dear Mr.Thomas,
I have gone through your website and very much impressed on your attitude towards constructions.  I am planning to construct a traditional home in Ottappalam, Palakkad.
I have already appointed an engineer for design works and its under final stage (he will not any other works other than designing works).  My question, will you be able to provide me the following services?
Preparing estimates for A-Z works.
Supervising the construction works.
Look forward to your response at the earliest.
Best regards,

My reply

Yes to your questions.But the plan will have to be acceptable to me.I cannot work with a non professional plan.


Dear Mr.Thomas,
Thank you for your prompt response.  The design part being done by a reputed professional (a qualified civil Engineer with 15yrs experience) whose several homes were telecasted in Kairali TV & Amirta TV.  But, his service will be available for designing part only. He will not do any constructions or supervision. So, I don't see any chances for rejection of his designs  by you.  I do not want major changes in the design, as design was made according to my idea & concept.
If it is acceptable to you I can forward you the designs & drawings as soon as they are ready.  The basic design only prepared now. He has to prepare the elevation, electrical & plumbing drawings, 3D elevation etc. As you said in the blog, I have given his own time to do the job.  I am planning to start construction in August 2012 only.  Before that I have to complete necessary requirements, legal formalities and of course, my home works also.
Please give me an idea about your service charges.
Look forward to your response.
Best regards,

My reply

Telecasting of interviews in channels is not an indication on capability of an Architect.Even I get several such calls.But they always put a condition that I should pay so much as advertisement charges.Charges goes up for more popular channels.I always refuses such paid telecasting which will appear to viewers as genuine promotion of "good work"..Any one who is willing to pay continuously to channels can get  frequent  telecasting!

Unless I see the plan,I cannot comment on merit of the plan

If the plan prepared is found lacking on verification of Vasthu,Architectural and structural Engineering aspects,I will have to revise it.Plan prepared for a house by any one will not be the same.More qualified and more experienced in executing work directly will be able to give you better design as  each work done will make the professional more knowledgeable.

I have directly built more than 200 houses in different parts of Kerala and outside . Designed ,acted as consultant for many more buildings.Still I encounter new problems with new projects and I realise with each new projects that my knowledge is limited.

I will never claim that plan prepared by me or my design is the best possible.Some body else may be able to do a better design.



Anonymous   has left a new comment on your post "Building Permit":

Hi Thomas,

The person in front of my house, has re-constructed his house and has put up a new bathroom which is in front of my main door. And over that he  is using the old styled pit(newly dug out) instead of a septic tank which again is near my front boundary wall. Can I take any action against him, please advice.
PS: The plot is in a municipality area.

My reply

Your neighbour should use a proper septic tank and not a simple pit to dump human waste and that septic tank should be located 15M away from your water source.If he  construct violating this or any other building rules conditions,you have every right to complain to local authority concerned in writing  and they will take appropriate action.



Dear Mr. Thomas,

I have been going through your website and blogs recently. I really appreciate your point of view regarding Sq. Ft cost of construction.

Let me come to my point first.

I have seen your residential projects work for individuals in your site, but almost of them are big houses/villas, floor area ranging from 2500- 4500 sq. ft. I would like to construct a house with 1350-1400 CARPET area. I plan to build a decent villa with good works like kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, good elevation, interior work etc. Do you undertake construction for said area??? If answer is Yes then I will give you rest details.

Hope to get a reply.


My reply

In fact large houses designed and built by me are not even 40% of my total work.For a professional, large or small houses do not matter much.We are here to provide services to those who need it.In fact I have designed and built  nearly  90 houses with plinth area as little as 300 sft consisting of sit out,Hall,Toilet,one bed room and Kitchen for a charity organisation for free allotment to poor people of course with least possible cost employing all cost reduction techniques without compromising on quality of construction.


Dear Sir,

I have just gone through the question and answers related to house tax. While answering one question regarding luxury tax, you have answered that you have not come across with anyone paying continuous luxury tax. Could you kindly clarify . Please let me know how long we have to pay luxury tax for houses having area more than 3,000 sq. ft. ?

I shall be thankful if you would reply to me.

Kind Regards


My reply

I am regularly building houses above plinth area of 3000 sft in different parts of Kerala and I have never heard that any of my clients are paying so called Luxury tax even though some people keep on talking about it.

After the building construction is completed,concerned local authority will fix up yearly Building tax for the building.Naturally for a higher plinth area house ,higher building tax will have to be paid.This is the only continuous tax applicable for the building

Concerned Village Office charges a one time tax on the building.In places like Cochin most of the house owners have not received notice for such a tax even though in interior village areas such a tax is collected.

For clarifying your doubt and check on the matter,please check with concerned local authority in your area.




I have a 2.5 cent  plot  near railway station, its more than 70M    away from the railway line, but  one side of the property is    railway's property. Is there any issue in developing a house in the    plot. I got the permit from the corporation, is there any issue occurs while TC numbering the house?


My reply

My understanding is that there is restrictions for Building house within 30 M of Railway property.

If the local authority has already issued Building permit to you considering all related matters,there cannot be problem for you in future

In any case it is the concerned official of the local authority who can give a clear answer to your query.Please check with concerned official of the local authority

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#Kerala-House Design and Construction:Replies to queries

NALUKETTU HOUSE IN 30 Feet by40 feet plot


  Is it possible to have a nalukettu type house in 30* 40 site? Can you please name good architects for our house construction?


My reply

Traditional Nalukettu type construction may not  be viable or suited to present day life.It had several features which may appear to be waste of money and space in present day house construction.

Poomukham,Chuttu verandah,Nadumuttom are some of the essential features of a Nalukettu type house construction.When you add these features to your other essential requirements for the house,plinth area of the house will go up.Naturally such a house will require more land area also.Hence going for a Nalukettu type construction of house should be left to those who have more land and more money to spend on house construction.

Even for a 30 feet by 40 feet plot,you can have a small Nadumuttom and name sake Poomukham and Chuttu verandah.But when you have limited space available,it is better to leave such extravaganza



Hi Thomas,

We will be visiting South India Again,As my husband and i were helping some poor villagers as well as the unfortunate,we have decided to build a Home in Kivelur(near Thiravarur) via Nagapattinam.There was little village called Thevur.As we intend to retire,we would like to build a Modern Home (we have adopted a daughter of Indian origin ,thus the land will be purchased under her name) what will cost be the cost 2000-2500 sq. ft.preferbably 2 storey with 4 bedrooms,4 toilets etc.Materials used to be durable ,budgeted not fancy..

We will be much appreciated if you can kindly worked or recommend someone reliable in that area near Nagapattinam.An Architect,reputable builder etc.Our budget is around 1crore.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Kind Regards.

Ally Elliott,Australia

My reply

I am not sure whether you will be able to buy land in India in the name of your Indian origin adopted daughter as she must be citizen of another country by now.

In case you are able to obtain land with clear title in your control,we can design and build your house with professional care and guidance




Am looking for designing and constructing my house in Cherthala

I work abroad ( Abu Dhabi  ) .  i will be in Kerala first week of march by then i want to finalise the design .

Please let me know if you take up projects in those area and the rates for design n construction

Tell me the cost of construction for a normal decent house. with vitrified flooring and teak wood

.Am looking for a simple neatly designed house.

Only then i can finalize and proceed further...

Awaiting your reply


My reply

We are not non professional contractors to talk of a  baseless square feet cost.We go systematically in a professional manner in designing and building houses.

First I have to visit site,take site measurements,study site conditions and check Vasthu aspects of the site

Next step is preparation of the most important Basic Plan of the house

After this using Engineering methods we will prepare quantity estimate for structural work of the building giving item wise expected cost based on present cost indications

Cost of building is not simply "square feet cost" as usually referred by non professional contractors.Hundreds of materials and different type of labour are required for house construction.Cost of all these keep raising every day and technology also changes fast especially for finishing materials.

If you ask for price of a Kg of rice after one and a half years, no rice seller will tell you the cost.But you want me to tell cost of constructing a building which may get completed after one and a half years with hundreds of materials and different type of labour.How is that possible unless i am willing to say a lie to you?

No contractor has the capacity to reduce cost of material or labour.They can definitely reduce material and labour to be used to bring down quoted price.But the damage they do to get higher profit will affect structural stability of your building to be constructed which you can never improve or correct even if you are willing to spend any amount of money,later.

So in house construction,simply do not  depend on a non professional contractor who may give you lower "square feet cost" to get extras and revisions from you as the work progresses and reduce use of material and labour to increase his profit.

Are you willing to go for systematic professional methods of designing and building your house or you simply need a "square feet contractor"?



i read your blog and visited your are doing a great service to us sir.i have a question to you sir

why don't u encourage interlock bricks for house construction?do wire cut bricks and inter lock ones have any disadvantage?i like to build a house using one of these for exterior alone.please advice


My reply

There is nothing wrong with interlock bricks which may reduce use of  mortar ,cost of plastering and thus reduce construction cost.But it is difficult to get interlock bricks manufactured with quality.

Semi wire cut bricks available here are generally of good quality and ideally suited for house construction.But due to shortage of clay to manufacture these bricks,cost of these bricks are going up high.



Anonymous   has left a new comment on your post "Building Permit":

Hi Thomas,

Have 5 cents plot in Cochin which is facing a 3 Ft road. We are in the planning stage for constructing a house there.

1. Do we need to leave 3M on the road facing side ?
2. Do we need to leave 1.5M on the rear side evenly? Is it OK to have an average 1.5M on the rear side? Reason behind the question is that there is a bend on the rear side with which we can leave 2 Ft as per the plan in our mind.

Thanks in advance

Can I construct a Six Floor House Building in a 10 cents of land leaving three metes in the front and back and 2 meters each on each sides

Respectfully Yours

My reply

Such Anonymous persons are less likely to be replied.Why cant you write to my email id rather than hiding behind Anonymous tag?

On the road facing side you have to leave 3M unless you have plot less than 3 cents in area.Where the rear side is irregular in shape,you can leave 1.5M in average but with shortest clearance not less than 0.9M.

But on clearances,it will be difficult to comment without physical verification at site.Apart from KBR provisions,local authority may impose other restrictions also.So it is always better to check with concerned officials of local authority

Renovation of Existing House


       I am from Valanchery(Malappuram dist.).living in Dubai. I want know
about renovation charges of house.i think its 1500 sq. feet.
thank u.

shabu faizal.

My reply

To start with, I will have to visit villa to be remodeled and study work involved for remodeling/extension.After the site visit, I will give a report on what exactly can be done on the existing structure to meet your expectations/needs

Just by giving piece meal info on any aspect of construction will not be sufficient. You need qualified and experienced professional guidance on every aspect of construction work. You will save more money and will get better facilities in the building at lesser cost. Professional guidance cannot be replaced with anything else.

Based on this initial evaluation of work, using measurements collected from site and your old drawings related to the house if any, I will prepare what we call a Basic Plan for the modified house which will show positions and dimensions of rooms, doors and windows of the remodeled house only. This Basic Plan if required can be revised without any extra charges to meet your requirement fully, subject to our acceptance of your change requests.



I am Roshan from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I am working in a company here.
I came to know about you from website and i am very happy to read all your article about House and Vasthu.

My plot is located in Ernakulum, Vazhakkala. I am planning a make a home in my plot. I had a plan with me.

If you can check this drawing as per vasthu and please give some suggestion about it. I want to reduce the sq. ft.  Can you suggest some option for it. Kindly send me your service cost also.

With Best Regards

Jeddah Graphic Center

My reply

On initial check plan sent by you has following defects:

1.As per Vasthu bed rooms at South East and North East are not good.Kitchen at North West is the second option.

2.Dining and Pantry area do not have ventilation or natural lighting.

3.It looks like an apartment design.Apartment and Villas are designed differently.Space is inadequate in some areas and wasted in some other areas.
I would suggest a total revision of the plan keeping your requirements as such.

#Kerala House Construction-Replies to your queries



Anonymous   has left a new comment on your post "Vasthu compliance":

I have only 8 cents of land, Is it necessary to define a position for house by vasthu specialist?

My reply

Even in 8 cents or even lesser area plot,a Vasthu expert can  suggest you an ideal location for house



Dear Mr. Thomas,

I am Saju, I need to construct a new home at Amaravila ( TVM Dist. ) which is comes under Panchayath. My property belongs to only 3 cent. a panchayath road passing in front of this property & it cover almost 15 mtrs one side. I need to construct a new home by demolishing the old & I have the following doubts.

1. If i need to give a clearance of 3M from this panchayath road to the basement of new one ( If provided i have lost a huge area, since a well also comes under this property at the other side )

2. If i have obtain any consideration for this from panchayath or any other authority..

Please reply to this,

My reply

If your land has area 3 cents or less there are relaxations in building rule conditions applicable to you

It will be better if you go and meet concerned persons in the Panchayath with your land documents and check up exact clearances applicable to you as in addition to KBR provisions,there can be local restrictions imposed by local authority.



Good day.I'm Arun basically from Thiruvalla

I saw one of your post in internet regarding about your consultation service based in Kochi.i believe your post was 2 years old and  not much sure still you are on the same business.

i was planning to buy one house plot in Kochi,Eroor. can i avail your consultation service to complete the procedures and formalities until finish the registration .? especially land and its document verification.

My reply

Yes.We continue to offer complete professional services for land/property purchase.Please check following links in our websites:



Hi Sir,

This is shafeeque from Kannur. I'm working in IT company at Pune. We plan to demolish our old home and would like to build new one. Our home designed with plenty of wooden material and its having lots of wooden for "machu" . What is your opinion about using old wooden material instead of purchasing new one ( as per people old wooden material are very strong). and what type of material we can use from my old home.

Also can you construct home at Kannur. If yes please let me know your contact number so that i can contact you

My reply

Wood used in old house will have to be physically checked to see whether it can be re used.Over a period of time any wood looses its quality and start deteriorate.If the wood used was of extremely good quality,it may last more than other wood

As Per Vasthu,while building a new house no part of old house should be used..We can design your house in any part of the world.Taking up construction directly by us will have to be decided based on merit of each case.In cases where we do not take up direct execution of construction,we may act as designers/consultants.



Can u please advise if it is possible to take an additional room with bath  approx. 13x 13 and 5 x 5 on the first  floor of an old hose of 40 years with minimum cost ,Rs. 80000/=.using hollow  bricks and cheap materials for roof and doors . and if you have any office at Trivandrum

My reply.

First of all it is not advisable to construct first floor of a 40 year old house without checking structural stability of the building by a qualified and experienced Engineer.

Any meaningful cost calculation can be done only after preparing a plan of portion to be extended.Once we have the Basic Plan of the building ready, we can calculate cost using Engineering Estimate method.Again building on old existing building will call for so many unexpected cost elements.Without visiting site,I cannot comment on feasibility of the work.

We have our office only at Cochin .But we can handle work anywhere based at Cochin and hence no need for an office at Trivandrum


Monday, February 13, 2012

Kerala House design and Construction-Your queries and my reply


Anonymous has left a comment on my blog entry Building Permit seeking to know clearance required to be left while building compound wall facing Panchayath Road.

Leaving such comments in blogs will not get you a reply.Any one can write to my email id seeking replies for any matter related to design and construction of buildings.I will reply back.Write to this email id

My reply

Before building compound wall for your property facing a public road,you have to apply in writing to the local authority and obtain their sanction.The local authority will specify clearance to be left from road  while constructing compound wall facing public road.



Dear sir,

I am looking for a plot in Palakkad. We are currently in Bangalore and we are trying to buy a land and built a house, preferably located within 5kms from Palakkad town.Our budget is maximum 25 lakhs and with a plot size of minimum 5 cents. We would not be able to be there during house construction. Would you be able to help us on this regard.


My reply

It will not be possible for us to locate land for you at Palghat as we are based at Cochin.But if you locate a plot,we can do legal , technical,Vasthu evaluation of the plot and also assist you in documentation process of registration of plot.

Thereafter we can design your house and build it also at Palghat with professional care and guidance.



Anonymous   has left a new comment on your post "Replies to your queries#Architecture":

I am an NRI Mechanical Engineer like to build a 2500-2800 sq. ft. house in Cochin and on the look out for 8 cents of land (which is my budget) and identified few plots.
Appreciate if you could let me know the best possible size of plot in 8 cents to have a good architect designed house
I understand that the house can be designed to suite the plot but prefer to buy a plot where in design can be flexible.

My reply

Especially in a place like Cochin you may not get a plot of sizes of your choice.Apart from dimensions of all four sides of plot,land level,Vasthu considerations and  positions of road nearby also matters.So you have no other choice other than designing your villa suited to your plot.For our services contact me on email



Anonymous  has left a new comment on your post "Answers to your queries #Architecture": 
I would like to build a Home around 2000-2200 Sq. ft. in Trivandrum in 5 cents, Would you please recommend me a Builder & Designer and what would be the cost per Sq. Ft ? need your assistance.

My reply

Here again I could not reply to this person directly as he has not given his email id.I have about 35 blogs.Opening each of these and replying in time to such comments posted in that blog itself is not practically possible.Hence all enquiries/comments/requests for advice has to be sent to my email id

I cannot suggest or recommend any builder/contractor or designer in any area.All I can do is do what I can do.In your case,I can visit your site in Trivandrum,study site conditions,your requirements and then design your house.Obtaining a proper most suited professional design is the most important and critical part of building a house.Once you have the best Basic Plan for your house from  a qualified experienced Architect with lots of exposure in designing and building houses,you will save lakhs of rupees and the available space in your plot will be utilised in the best possible manner.

Some people insist on having large size rooms without any relation to its utility aspect.Rooms will have to be larger only to the extent required.More than the physical size of rooms,how doors,windows and space is  utilised by the Architect is more important.

As a lay man you will never know what size of rooms will be better.Most of the people have ego problems while dealing with a designer of the house.They think and talk as if what they think is the right dimensions or right requirements for the house! Even before developing your requirements for the house you need to have professional guidance.Talk with your Architect openly and frankly.Allow him to guide you properly rather than thinking that whatever you think or understand is  only right.

After the design is finalised we can either build your house directly in Trivandrum or act as consultants if you can get good contractors willing to work as per our design and  instructions.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Design and Construction of house in Kerala:Replies to your queries



Dear Sir,

Good day to you

Cost figure which you put up on is not at all affordable to me.

My maximum budget 20-24 Lakhs. 

So in that budget i need a house. And i intend to start by 1st of July, 2012 and looks to complete in 31.05.2012.

Ranjith O S

My reply

Cost of construction of house to be built is not in the hands or control of me or any body else.Nobody can predict cost increases in hundreds of materials to be used for construction and increases in labour charges.

If some body says I will build a house only if some body can guarantee cost within certain amount is like saying you will buy rice after one and a half years only if the price per Kg is say Rs.23/- No shop is going to supply you rice at price decided by you.You have to pay ruling price of the day.

Similarly for house construction,you have to pay ruling price of day for all inputs that go in to construction.

All that you can do is to bring down your requirements for the house to bring down cost component if you have no way of finding finance required to meet your needs for the house

There can be lot of cost reduction and possibility of getting better utility for every bit of built up area if you are willing to have and pay for professional design and guidance through out construction.

Are you willing to go ahead or you want to wait for  a non professional contractor to say false promise about cost of building house to start construction?



Dear Sir, Good Morning

It’s really nice to hear from you, always am watching yours articles and suggestions. Sir, my house construction was going on now flooring stage – please advise me the reasonable rate of Verified tiles & Granite fixing (fixing charge)per square meter.

Mahesh Kumar.T.K


Abu Dhabi – UAE

My reply

If I tell some rates for fixing flooring material,will your contractor agree to do work for that rate?

Rates of labour charges can be compared only if the way of fixing tiles/flooring material is similar,work man ship is similar and if availability of such labour in all areas are similar.But all these vary from place to place, from one contractor to another.

Generally all construction workers and contractors try to cheat owner of a building to be constructed mainly because he has practically no knowledge or very little(mostly wrong) knowledge on building construction.Unless you have a professional to advice and guide you throughout building construction,workers and contractors will take you for a ride.Their objective is simply to make more money..In that process of making money they do not consider anything as wrong.Quality of your construction and structural stability of your building will be irreparably damaged in their quest for making money.All that they will do to make you feel confident is to talk nicely and advice you wrongly to meet their objective of making more money.

After structure work of building is completed,most of house building owners think that most important parts of construction is over and you simply need some workers to complete balance work.You need continuous guidance and assistance of a qualified experienced professional to get things right at this stage.



Respected Thomas Sir,
I would like to construct a house in Sreekariyam in Trivandrum,
keeping construction costs as low as possible. Sir, do we have to use
wire cut bricks or are ordinary bricks strong enough for double storey
buildings. I came across the term" Manufactured Sand" what is
manufactured sand. Is it better than river sand or vice versa? Also
how much does it cost? Some people say river sand now available is not
pure river sand instead sea sand is mixed with some other sand and
thus we may be cheated. How can a layman like me know the purity of
river sand that I purchase? If we do not get river sand are there any
other alternatives for a)concrete work b) plastering work. Any other
tips to reduce Electrical and plumbing cost? What do you think of
Anthenkudi tiles for low cost flooring?

My reply

I have commented on difference between River sand and M sand several times earlier.But still I continue to get queries on this.

Manufactured sand ( M sand ) is made at metal crushers using rock pieces.If properly crushed to size of river sand and cleaned to remove quarry dust,M sand is better compared to river sand for concreting and brick work.

For plastering till such time packaged plastering sand is available in market,we have to use lower size river sand only.

Trouble with river sand is that it has several impurities like mud, and even chemicals discharged from factories near rivers in it.Some of these chemicals present in river sand can cause deterioration of building parts over a period of time.So technically it is better to use manufactured sand for concrete and brick work

I have not heard about “Anthenkudi” tiles and hence cannot comment on it



I myself Manjumol. from Oman. I am working as a cardiologist in a hospital.

Sir, I came to know about you from website and i am very happy to read all your article about House and Vasthu.

My plot is located in Ernakulum, Kolenchery, Pattimattam. I am planning a make a home in my plot. I like my friend house and she has given me the drawing also.

If you can check this drawing as per vasthu and please give some suggestion about it. Kindly send me your service cost also. My house is faced to North.

My reply

Thank you for your nice words on my work.

Plan sent by you have several architectural and Vasthu defects.Some of them which came to my notice at first checking for GF Plan  are the following:

Vasthu defects

1.For a North Facing house Kitchen should be at Agni Konam(South East).Bed room here will be dangerous.

2.Other Bed room at North East is also not auspicious as North East is Eesaanaknoam ideal for Pooja

3.Kitchen at South West is bad.South West is ideal space for Master bed

Architectural defects

1.Living room has very little space for Sitting.TV is kept in a Home Theatre and not in middle of sitting room as per present trend

2.Light at Living room  and Dining is not adequate and U shaped old style stair case blocks whatever little light that can come to Dining space.Living,Dining in single hall creates problem for privacy.

3.Toilets are too narrow with 140 and 150 cm width.Present trend is to have spacious toilets

4.Rectangular shape plan will not give opportunity for a good Elevation and better ventilation and lighting

5.Dress in Master Bed is a dark area with no access to light

It is better to go for a design with modern architecture features combined with traditional Kerala Architecture.We can design a house suited to your needs,budget,Vasthu considerations of the plot.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kerala House design and Construction:Replies to your queries


Yovan has left a new comment on your post "Kerala House Construction-Answers to your queries":

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!Yovan

My reply

Thanks for your appreciation

House  and land for Rs.10 lakhs



I am Sundaram from KSA want 2 build a new home(2000 sq. ft.,4bhk,gf+1,some free space for children play/garden) at Palakkad,what are the basic to select a plot,how much land require for this specification,I am planning to get a home loan,initially I can invest 10Lakh,also Vasthu must,please give me an idea about this modern architecture mix with Kerala designs.what will be the construction cost per sq. ft. at present condition.

S.Meenakshi sundaram,

Saudi Aramco Total Refinery & Petrochemicals,

My reply

For a 4 bed Villa,2000 sft plinth area will be a bit less.But if you are willing to be satisfied with dimensions of rooms within that plinth area it is fine.I am not aware of land price in Palghat.But present construction cost which is going up fast everyday will demand a minimum of Rs.30 lakhs if you start construction immediately.

There is no such thing as standard square feet cost of construction of a building.You can know about square feet  cost of  construction of your house only after you complete construction and definitely not before you start construction even though non professional contractors may compete with each other to promise you lower sft rate.This is a promise to be broken  after you get in to his clutches after starting construction.Such sft rate contractors do not bother about proper architectural,structural design of the house and reducing material and labour involved is the easiest method they will adopt to reduce their cost in addition to demanding unending extras from you.

Most probably only house you construct in your life time should have proper architectural,structural engineering and Vasthu compliance and hence you should never attempt to build your house without professional design and continuous professional guidance through out construction.



Hello Thomas Sir,

My house construction is going on and presently the plastering is going on which will be completed in next1-2 weeks. So am looking for good and cheap flooring options. I saw your website 'Kerala House Construction, and found it very useful. First of all thanks a lot for the info provided in the website.

I have taken a home loan and so my budget is minimal. So am not looking for high cost materials like wood/granites for flooring.

I was planning for the entire flooring with vitrified tiles. But then read about clay tiles and their pros and more importantly their cheapness.Can you please suggest if going for complete floor tiling with clay tiles would be a good idea or a combination of clay+vitrified tiles is fine.

Can you please suggest me good and average costly clay tiles and vitrified tiles presently available in market, their price and brand. Also which would be suitable for  a particular area in house like clay tile/vitrified for a particular room. .

Also for bathroom/Toilet, plastic door frame+door or wooden one  is good?

Please provide your valuable inputs for the above queries.

Sreekumar S (Kalesh)


My reply

Thanks for your appreciation

Flooring materials like Marble and Granite are now going out of trend and use of these materials for flooring is practically getting out.One reason is availability of more attractive floor tiles with better finish and more comfortable for movement.You can go for different varieties of tiles of Nitco or Johnson.These companies have display show rooms in Cochin  from where you can select flooring material suited to your taste and budget.

If you can afford Granite flooring,you can as well go for teak wood wooden flooring.Cost wise both will work out same.

Clay tile flooring will be cheaper and more environment friendly.It will be healthier for your body also like wooden flooring.But clay tiles for floor are now getting difficult to procure due to shortage of clay.

Plastic doors are good if your toilet size is small.Just like designing a house,you should now get professional advice in planning Toilet size and how each space in toilet is properly planned for better utility.All well planned toilet can have wooden door frame and shutter as water will not get splashed on to it.In cases where water is likely to fall continuously on door ,you can go for plastic shutter.For Frame either use wood or concrete.



Hello Sir,

My cousin brother (Civil engineer) is the taking care of the house construction.  Even i would be just browsing and exploring all these different options. Doing that i saw your blog  and so thought of asking your opinion, since getting an expert advice keeps us at peace & confidence. Saw your projects in FB and they are truly very good sir.


My reply

Just because your relative who is a Civil Engineer is taking care of your house construction do not mean that he should know everything about house construction.

Even after building more than 200 houses directly in different parts of Kerala,designing and acting as consultant for thousands of buildings in Kerala and outside,I still do not know many things about house design and construction.With each new project I face new problems and thus I continue my study.

There is no harm in getting another expert visiting your site just because your Engineer relative is involved.Such an assessment of work done and  work to be planned will help you as well as your relative Engineer.Ultimate objective is to get maximum utility for your hard earned money.



Dear Sir,

Good day to you,

I have gone through the blog and read some of the replies by you, although i have impressed and likely to ask the following

I need to built a house @ 10cents (land already have in possession) Ground Floor+1st floor

I  expect to make a minimum of 2000sqft all and my budget is minimum RS.20lakhs and Maximum is Rs.22Lakhs.

Kindly advise and awaiting your swift reply,

Ranjith O S

Ettumanoor (Now in IRAQ)

My reply

You have Rs.20 lakhs with you.Start construction related activities with that money in hand..First and foremost,get a good design of the house.There is no point in waiting for entire money you think of to reach you to start construction.Every person who built house has started with whatever money they had.If you are sure of not getting any more funds through loan or otherwise,tell your Architect frankly about the money you can really manage to organise.

But the funny part is that in their anxiety to save money for building,client never tells about actual financial condition to the Architect.At least that is my experience.Client tells a low figure but do not compromise on his needs for house and facility as if the Architect or contractor has a magic wand to stop every day going up input costs.

Start construction fast before price increases kill your house dreams!



I am  Anish
I have doubts about my house construction.
1) Is Rock sand(parappodi) is better for wall(construction)?
or we use river sand+parappodi?
some of my friends told me that it(parappodi) will leads to crack in future(virichchil).
2)for plastering shall we use MSAND?
or river sand is better?
3)which is better to use river sand or parapodi+M sand mix for concrete in roof?
4)for building walls solid brick is enough or need to use natural brick(ISHTIKA)?

My reply

River sand was used regularly for construction work in Kerala earlier due to abundant availability.Now it is difficult to get and very costly also.

There is no harm in using M sand which is manufactured sand crushed to size of river sand.As it do not have any impurities usually present in river sand,it is better for use for concreting and brick work provided it is not quarry dust but manufactured sand itself.Quarry dust can only be used for filling and not for brick work or concreting.

For plastering it is better to use river sand with lower size or plaster sand available in bags specifically manufactured and sold

Red bricks are now again very costly and hence there is no other option but to go for solid concrete block instead of red bricks.Ensure that you use good quality solid blocks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kerala House Construction-Answers to your queries


Dear Sir,

My house is an old house( one part is more than 80 years and other part is around 45 years). Some rooms are very small, dark and not useful. I don't think it is made by planning. Now my father is planning to renovate it. I want my house to be with the same old structure but inside should be modified with rooms and other facilities. I want to know whether that is possible or not.If possible how much it will cost.

Ancy Varghese


My reply

Unless structural stability of the building is checked by a professional,it cannot be ascertained whether the building is worth renovating.Normally modification/remodeling work on an existing building will cost more than building a new house as work involved cannot be properly quantified or estimated.

House construction is an Engineering work involving hundreds of materials and different types of labour with almost daily increase in their cost.So no one can exactly predict cost of construction which may get completed within one or more year from commencement of work.Even the Engineering Estimate prepared by an Engineer after carefully calculating work involved for each item of work can also give only an approximate indication  of cost.

All these talk of some fixed “square feet cost” is simply a lie used by non professional contractors to lure ignorant client.After the work starts client can not do anything else other than pay the contractor never ending extras demanded by him.With ever increasing input costs,contractor also cannot do anything else.

Better get the work done with qualified  experienced professional guidance so that you will not be taken for a ride by the contractor whose only objective is maximising his profit even compromising structural stability of the building.

Constructing Building on land described as Nilam


Hi Sir,

We are planning to construct a house in Trivandrum in the property which we inherited. The problem is that it was a paddy field before 30-40 years and is remained as barren land since i know. In the documents it is written as 'Nilam' . Is it possible to construct a house in this land. If so, what should we do first and whom should be contacted.

please give me advice in this area, as we don't know anything detailed in this aspect.


My reply

First of all  check up with concerned building Inspector  for your land area( described by  Survey No)with Corporation of Trivandrum or concerned local authority as the case may be by showing the copy of Deed whether there will be any objection for obtaining permit for Building Construction

If there is objection,you can apply to a concerned committee comprising of Agricultural officer,Tahsildar etc. for waiving objection on account of land being described as paddy field.The committee will visit plot and after ascertaining the present status of land,will give you sanction to build house..

Trying for Cost reduction while building house


Dear Mr. Thomas,
I am Benny Joseph working in Saudi Arabia. Just now I started to make a home for me. The area is 2350 SFT.As soon as started work everybody says it will cost me around 4,000,000.My budget is for 2000000 only. I planned for a two story building with 4 bed room,living,family living,kitchen and work area. In the first floor we planned for two bed room and one living room plus one balcony.Altogether it will be 950 sft only.I already decided to put concrete windows and door frames except front and back doors to save money. If I do just stress roof on first floor without concreting will it help to reduce construction cost.
Do you services available in Northern Kerala.I am from Kannur.I am planning to come for a three months vacation in August. Can you do the construction if that case what will be your terms. Basement is already made.
Waiting an early reply.

With warm regards,

My reply

See,this is the problem.While building a house you should not listen to “everybody” They will put you in to real trouble.They have nothing to loose in giving “advices”

What you need is qualified experienced professional advice.Even for reducing construction cost your Architect can give a cost effective design and advise you on how to get best value for your limited funds while building house

Our services are available for any one anywhere in the world.For locations where it is practically impossible for us to take up construction directly,we can act as designers and consultants during progress of work guiding you and your workers to get maximum value for your money