Friday, August 30, 2013

Free Consultation:30,Aug,2013

House Design and Construction


Respected Sir,

I am planning to build a house in  a plot near Thiruvananthapuram.The plot is west facing and at the south west corner,the plot is leveled with soil (Around 4 feet height was filled with soil) before more than 10 months by myself.Now my concerns are given below.The original land was dry and hard.I am planning for a two storied house of around 2000 Sq.Ft

1. How deep should I dig for foundation especially at the south west portion which is leveled?

2. Do i need to put concrete at the base and then use rubble over that for foundation construction?

3.Do i need to perform belt Concreting on top of the rubble foundation?Kindly advice


My reply

As you know very well, house construction is one of the major  investments in your life. There is no point in trying to get bits of information from various sources and trying to act as Architect and Structural Consultant for the house. Get professional assistance in design and construction of house from beginning to end


I am constructing a house with Nadumuttam.  we wish to allow to come all  rain water in to courtyard. Now we are planning to put iron rode for the courtyard roofing.

I want your valuable suggestions regarding courtyard roofing. Which materials are good for roofing and from where it can i bought.

Expecting a positive reply from you

My reply

House construction require services of an experienced Architect/Professional Engineer not only for preparation of plan of the house.But also during construction from beginning to end to give professional advice on every aspect of construction.I will have to visit site and consider all aspects to suggest a solution to your problem

I can also check up on all other aspects of construction including Vasthu compliance and suggest you on works pending to be done on the building.


I am planning to build a 1400 sft single floor 3 bedroom/kitchen/Hall house. I have got a  plan too. I would like to request you  if you can provide some suggestions in the following areas it will be very helpful to me. I have attached my plan here.
1.  How to reduce the coast ? (I have got a home loan of 10 Lakh, and i have 3 lakh in hand )
2.  Will it be profitable if we go for LED lighting?

My reply

LED lighting is not something to be thought of before construction of house. Now a days people use either CFL or LED lighting to reduce cost of power.

Just anyone who knows how to draw a plan in AutoCAD cannot give you this best possible plan of the house which is the most critical factor to give you a better house by design and at lesser cost. Expertise for designing such a plan will not come by attending an engineering /architectural course. It require wealth of experience acquired through years of designing and getting involved in actual execution of work at different sites in different conditions. It also require creative talent and common sense which can get ignited only by learning by working with established experts in the field.

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 read your post in Kerala Architecture website, and writing to you as mentioned in that..Can you advise me on the nominal rates architects  charge in Kerala?

I am thinking of a house with 3-4 Bed rooms and around 1500 sft area.


My reply

Each Architect is different from another by qualifications and more importantly exposure to house design and construction. Creative talent of each person also differs. You have to find out better qualified better experienced better talented Architect for the only house which you may build. Naturally there cannot be any standard rates for professional services as each person differs from other. Even contractors differ a lot from person to person. Hence I think  so called "rates" quoted by different contractors cannot be compared


I am a resident of Mulanthuruthy.I  have a land of approx. 25 cents which is inherited from my father. I wish to construct a house for me there.Sir, I wish to know what type of services you are doing?Basically I am looking for a labour contract(which may require supervision also).From Design till completion of work with the help of an engineer to supervise the construction.This is what in my mind. Materials for the house construction, I wish to choose my self.

Can you please let me know further details towards my above request.


My reply

Trouble with people trying to construct a house in Kerala is that they think they know everything about house design and construction and also think that they can enquire and find out everything they do not know about it.Local contractors and almost every one he come across advise him not to go to professional Architects/Engineers as paying them for such “silly matters” as plan for the house and anything else.All that they need is a labour contractor and nothing else

By getting professional guidance right from preparation of plan of the house, you not only save money but get better facilities at lesser cost.By availing continuous guidance and drawings during construction,you can ensure quality construction as your labour contractor will only try to reduce labour charges even at cost of quality of construction.

How do you know about right material to be used for construction? Do you have the expertise for it and exposure to fast changing technology?Here again you require professional guidance and not just information you can get by talking to any body else.



I am Martin from Kottayam. i would like to do extension for my house. i want to make 2 bathroom and 1 car porch to my house. Can you please tell me how much does it cost?

My reply

Cost of construction or extension of a building cannot be estimated that simple.A Professional well versed with construction will have to visit existing building and assess work involved by taking measurements.After careful assessment of the situation,he will be able to give his recommendations including estimated costing. Indian conditions where the rupee is running down fast and cost increases happen almost every day,any estimate given by any one cannot be correct for a type of work which may take an year or more to complete.

Extension/remodeling work cannot be estimated correctly as most of the buildings in Kerala are constructed by contractors with absolutely no professional knowledge and with intention to make profit some how or other.In a way such persons who think constructing a house or extension can be done within a predetermined figure of cost in spite of all round price increases force contractors to do adjustments to save his profitability.In a situation where house construction clients try to over smart contractors and contractors in turn try to over smart clients,construction quality naturally will have to suffer.


I am residing abroad . My family is there and nobody is to take care of except me. Unfortunately we don't have any deep knowledge about architect and that is why asking suggestions. Hopes you may consider it positively

Please suggest me the flooring tiles(vitrified) extra hardened and durable for my house which is an old one. It is already having mosaic pavements(not tiles) is in worst condition. So i wish to lay vitrified and having confusion still  is that which product is better and useful to me is better  in the range of  Rs 60-65 per sft. Please mention particular product is better  and fulfill my budget.

My reply

If you want,I can visit the house to be renovated and suggest modifications and type of tile to be used.Without visiting site it will not be good to give suggestions

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Free Consultation,25,August,2013

House Construction


Dear Sir, I have plans to buy a plot to build house. But there is rock 3 feet below ground level. Is it advisable to go for this plot? There is paddy field towards one side of the plot and coconut trees towards other sides. There are no trees in this plot.I am worried about water availability as well.


My reply

Rock below is very good for construction of house.Regarding water availability at plot you have to  check up.As paddy field is nearby water should be available


Sir, Now I am in Mumbai. I have some plot in Kerala, Koottanad, Palghat. I want to build a house there  800 sq.ft. only ground floor. 2 Bedroom, 1 hall, Dining Hall, Kitchen 2 Bathroom./toilet
Can you give me . cost for the house.


Dear Thomas Sir,
I want to building a house of 2500 sft at Palghat but due to budgetary constraints, I want to do the work only up to structure & plastering now. How much it would cost for such a work if i use rock for foundation with belt & red bricks for walls.


I am , presently at Chennai, wishing to construct a residential building at TVM as my retirement scheme.its proposed as a 3 storied apartment with 10 studio units with 2300 sft area ground floor on which half will be marked as car parking. first & second floors will be having 4 units each.1.the land is not a solid one and it was calculated around 32 columns are required and each we need to pile around 7 to 8mtrs. Give me a rough estimate for ground floor and other floors per sq. feet.


My reply

First of all a professional has to design your house considering site conditions,your requirements and budget limitations if any.Then only you will know even plinth area of the house.There is no formula of finding cost of construction simply based on possible plinth area.House construction involves hundreds of materials and different type of labour.Cost of all these goes up every day in Indian conditions.No two contractor construct house in similar manner .Then how can there be a fixed square feet cost of construction?.As people like you insist on getting a “square feet rate” before entrusting construction contract,contractors quote a figure and try to adjust and compromise on everything during construction to save their profit margin in highly cost volatile situation


Hello Sir,
My house Construction is going and structure completed,Can i use gypsum plaster instead of normal plaster to reduce the cost? please advise me the advantages and disadvantages of gypsum plaster in Kerala Climatic conditions .
My reply

Gypsum plastering is cheaper and there is nothing wrong in it


We have a family property of 4 cent, is it possible to built two house in that 4 cent.

My reply

Cents is only area of the plot and do not give information on frontage and depth of the plot.Only after checking site plan of the plot,I can comment on this


The precast walls idea is very much relevant for Kerala considering the scarcity of the materials and costly labour. Although you said that the decision on material should be based on the conditions of the plot, the climate conditions in Kerala is more or less the same across the state. SO the general question is - is Gypsum boards suitable for Kerala climate or not. Is there any specific case study done on this? What is your recommendation?

My reply

Gypsum boards can be used for partition walls and interior work


Can you give me some directions about the latest trends in wood works in Kerala. I got some timber last week. I would like to get it sawed this week and I am not really sure about how it has to be done since my housing plan is not yet finalized. It would be great if you can give some general directions about the latest trends

sir my name is plot is 5 ft below the road level.and which type of plan is suitable for this plot with out leveling the road?

My reply

Without finalising even plan of the house,you cannot get an idea on wood requirement.Instead of trying to get bits of information from any one you come across,go for professional guidance from beginning to end of house construction

Extension/remodeling of house


I have a house which was constructed on 2006 with two Bedroom,One Kitchen,Hall, Bathroom,Pooja Room and a Porch.This all comes to around 1200SqFeet.Now i am interested to extend two rooms.there is slight problem on the kitchen area and i need to extend it and one room more.Can I get to know if any good architecture at Kollam area to better check on estimation cost for these two rooms.
Please give me details to contact.
I will highly appreciate that.

My reply

For getting better design and guidance during construction it will be better to get experts from wherever you can find instead of going only to a local person.Extension,remodeling.I myself have designed several houses in your area and also acted as consultant during construction providing detailed architectural/engineering drawings instructions even though I am based at Cochin

If interested write to me to


Building Permit


Hello Thomas,
There are apartments situated on water front, in Kadavanthra and Maradu in Kochi. Does CRZ restrictions apply to these already constructed flats. From which government office, can I know, if CRZ restrictions has been applied to any Apartment construction, to prevent me from buying them.

My reply

Existing apartments having building number,Electricity connection and all other legal documents properly .Read relevant details of documents essential at our website

Check link.Architectural guidance


I have taken permit to build a commercial building in a panchayat area in ERNAKULAM Dt about 5 years back. As I left for a job abroad I cold not complete the building or renew the permit. the building is half completed . how should I renew the permit

My reply

Apply to same Panchayath for renewal of permit.If they insist for fresh application for permit,apply and get a new permit.As long as your half completed building is constructed within building rules there cannot be any problem for you


My neighbor is constructing an infrastructure with shop on the ground floor and residence on the first floor. The plot area is 6 cents. As per the rule I want the building to be 1.2 m away from my plot including sunshade and water pipe, drainages etc. my quires are
a) am I right regarding the distance from my plot.
b) any rule regarding distance of shop from a neighbors house
c) is written consent of neighbor mandatory before starting construction for the panchayath

d) For getting electricity connection for my neighbour shall I give my consent before or after the construction is completed?

My reply

Normal side clearance required are 1M and 1.2M.Hence he can construct his building keeping this clearance.Only if he want to have lesser clearance from your plot,he will have to get your consent

For electricity connection he do not need your consent


Dear sir,
I have one cent land in EKM in urban area ,What is the max square feet area (Per floor) I can build in this area?The road ends in my compound.How many floors can I build?

My reply

Without visiting the site I cannot comment on it


what is minimum required completion stage of a building (house) and minimum required documents to apply for a building number in municipality?

My reply

Once the house construction reaches a stage by which structure and joinery are fixed and house can be kept under lock and key,you can apply for numbering with a completion plan prepared by a licensed Engineer/Architect along with appropriate application and quoting reference of original permit for building construction


Dear Mr. Thomas,
I am intend to buy a plot along the side of Muvattupuzha River and it is close to Tripunithura Cochin . There are houses constructed recently in the same row. Following are my clarifications.
1) Is the specified location coming under the CRZ rule, the plot is approx. 40 Meters away from the river
2) The fair value search site indicates the specified resurvey number category as “Residential Plot with Road Access”, does that mean we can build a house irrespective of the CRZ rules?


I have a plot which has 5O m away from Mahe river. now i want to construct a house there.. shall i able to construct a home there?

My reply

Approach concerned local authority office with survey No and location plan of the plot to check whether you will be given sanction for construction of house before buying the plot


I would like to know to whom I access to get a fallen riverside to be built with side wall to avoid further soil fall and losing land towards river



I have a plot abutting a river and have plans to build a house there. How much is the minimum backyard(distance form river to the building) required? Also how much is the minimum front yard required? It is a village and the width of the road abutting the plot is not more than 3 -3.5 M

My reply

Approach your local authority to get sanction  for construction


I have a house plot of 2Cent inside Trivandrum corporation.Please explain what are the exceptions available for construct a house below 3 Cent.


I intend to purchase a small (3 cents rectangular 43X30 Ft ) plot in Kozhikode Corporation and would like to build a small house there. The plot is surrounded by residential buildings on all sides and there is free access to the plot from the common access to five houses within the compound. How much space should I leave from the front wall, rear wall and side walls?

My reply

For 3 cents and  less than 3 cents,relaxation in clearance space is available.Approach your local authority to find exact clearance applicable in your case with specific details of the plot

Interior work


Thank you for providing useful information. We are constructing a house and I would like to know your opinion regarding the material to be used for kitchen/bedroom cupboards. Currently we are considering plywood as per our contractor's suggestion


My reply

For Kitchen cabinets it will be better to have the structure done by good quality marine ply and front portions done with teak wood or Mahogany.Ply wood or low quality marine ply can reduce life of your cupboards


Sir I have an independent double storey house in Chennai- i would like the traditional Kerala style woodwork with Charupadi  in my balcony - will you be able to help me- and how much will it cost.

My reply

If we get exact measurements of living spaces with a professional plan,we can design and supply interior wood work

Nalukettu type Houses


What is the design principle of nalukettu? How many types of nalukettu are there? What should be the measurement of courtyard ?Can you explain?

My reply

Normal features of a Nalukettu house are

1.Poomukham which is an extended sit out projecting out to front side of house

2.Chuttu verandah-It was around the house initially

3.Nadumuttom-A central court yard,usually square in shape.It also calls for at least a four feet wide passage around it for movement around the area.Open to sky is the olden norm.

If you have one Nadumuttom,it is called Nalukettu.Two Nadumuttom house is Ettu kettu and four Nadumuttom house is Pathinarukettu

In the present conditions leaving so much space is not economically viable.Keeping central portion of house open to sky is also not  workable

Monday, August 12, 2013

Free Consultation:29,July,2013

Design of house


While searching building construction details in net I have seen your website and would like to take an opportunity to ask your advise for our new house construction.

My name is Nizzar .I am planning to build a new house and basic lay out is made by a relative.Its attached here with.Its facing to north side where a panchayath road is passing.Land is muddy and people saying piling may be required even we planned to build in single story.

Kindly look in to the plan and advise .What are the things to be considered before starting the house.I am planning to give a turn key contract once design finalised.

I may be required your assistance to develop a interior design for this house.I am working abroad and don't know even much more to ask.So kindly advise in details.


My reply

Getting the most appropriate plan of the house is the most critical aspect of designing  and building a house.A Plan made by a relative need not be that good.Plan attached by you is  not good in every aspects.For developing a good plan,apart from professional qualifications,wealth of experience gained by designing and building houses in our land is essential and that cannot be foregone just to keep a relative happy.In most cases house is the most important investment in life of a person.Lakhs of your hard earned money cannot be wasted simply to keep a relative or friend happy.

We can revise the plan or rather prepare a fresh plan for your house,provide complete detailed drawings and instructions from beginning to end of construction


I am going to buy an apartment in is under construction and floor plan can be changed... Can you help me to arrange the rooms in proper position if i send my floor plan to you?

My reply

Yes.Send your existing floor plan in pdf format.


Vasthu aspects


I have a plot, that approach road(only to my plot) around 180 ft. long ending at north side of northeast corner. Also northeast corner degree is 110 deg. ( that can be corrected if required). pls.give your reply


My reply

Plot at the  end of  a road is not auspicious as per Vasthu.If you can ,try to avoid building your house there

Architectural guidance



I am a third year student of Architecture from Nagpur.Content in your mail helped me a lot in my project...

I wanted to know some of the modern buildings in Kerala which are climate responsive...or traditional features of Kerala architecture are very well depicted in it .

Waiting for your reply sir


My reply

Climate plays an important role in designing of dwelling house.Architecture of the land takes inputs from climate,terrain and living habits of people in the area.Kerala has south west monsoon starting in June going up to June with continuous rains.Also,another spell of rains starting in October.This call for sunshades  around the building above window level,preferably slope sunshades.Continuous rains is the reason why Kerala Architecture preferred to have slope roofs with clay tiles on top of it.Clay tiles reduces heat inside house.More windows provide better lighting and ventilation and make living more comfortable in humid atmospheric conditions of Kerala summer

Remodeling of house


Hi Sir,

I have gone through some of your blogs and tips and thought it is ideal to seek guidance from you for my needs.

My house is near Tripunithura and my primary aim is to get professional help in modifying / beautifying (of course to know the possibilities too) my house and to get the estimate for the same. It's a 3 bedroom , two storey house and I would like to add a study and upper living room to it plus interiors.  

I'm not sure if you or your company take up such low budget work  :) It would be great you do ! 


My reply

Without visiting the house, no one can give an estimated cost of modification. Square feet area of construction will not give you exact cost prediction. It has no technical basis even though  non professional contractors work on that basis to get business as they have no other choice

We can take up Interior work. We have complete man power and capability for taking up all type of work related to house. Here again, I can comment on possibility of we taking up work only after a site visit .If you have limited budget, you will have to select more essential items of work to get the work done within the budget.

Remodeling/Extension of a house can be attempted only after you get the house inspected by a professional Architect and discuss with him on your requirements of modifications,additions.In most cases,remodeling work will be costlier than the estimates you get as it will be practically difficult to estimate cost involved correctly.As you dismantle portions of old building,new problems and defects in earlier construction will come out and rectifying such problems can push your budget up!


Dear Mr. Thomas,

I got your reference, while doing a bit of R&D on house construction in Kerala and found blog to be absolutely informative. I recently bought a plot with an under construction house and I am planning to complete the construction.

Attached herewith is the layout and the current pictures of the house. Looking at the layout itself, I could make out that the house is not designed by a professional architect, which turned out to be true. In any case, I cannot complaint about it, since I knew about it before buying the house.

I would like to engage your service hereon in completing the house, including construction, tiling, plastering etc.


My reply

We can take up balance work on the house including following type of works:

You need advice and guidance of a qualified and experienced person to know various options available to you, latest trends and ways and means to decrease cost while improving utility and appearance of the building.

Look at some of the pending works

1. Putty finish for walls and painting

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

3. Plumbing and sanitary works

4. Electrical wiring and fittings

5. Interior woodwork like modular Kitchen, cupboards and Interior lay out design

6. Furniture work with woodcarving

8. Land scape design, arrangements and much more

To assess work already done in the house and to suggest/advise on pending works to be done I would like to visit your site.

After the  site visit, we will give our suggestions on work to be done, modifications possible and Estimate for pending works to be done. If our proposals are accepted, we can take up balance work using expert workers from Cochin

Construction of house


Respected Sir,

my proposed house is 1800 sq. ft. ground floor 1200 sq. ft. and first floor 600 sq. ft.

i need some advice on roof. how much mm tore steel and concrete overlay is needed

for ground floor to accommodate a first floor and and how much it will cost per square feet.


My reply

Engaging work of construction of your house to a contractor who have no professional qualifications or expertise, will land you in trouble

When you engage work on square feet cost basis to a contractor you fail to understand following facts:

1.No two contractor will do construction work in the same manner with same quality standards. In fact they simply do not bother about quality of construction or professional correctness of the work

2.Primary object of a contractor is to gain maximum profit within the agreed cost figure agreed. Price increase of input materials and labour during construction period will reduce his profit margin and to save his margins he will have to compromise on quality of construction

3.Contractor do not know professional specifications of work involved, engineering standards and  even on structural engineering aspects which deals with reinforcement required for beams, columns and roof slab

Only option before you is to have continuous monitoring of construction work by a qualified experienced professional who will give detailed Architectural/structural drawings for each stage of construction and occasional site visits to ensure that drawings and instructions of work are followed correctly by the contractor

We can take up such consultancy work for your house construction. If interested, we can give our terms for such work. Please let me know location of your site


Individual Villa or gated community Villa

Dear Mr. .Thomas Viruvelil,

When I searched for the plots two options were available

1, individual plots

2,Gated /walled community type plots of developers 

Which one is better?

Please give your valuable opinion


My reply

Both individual villa and gated community villas have got advantages and disadvantages.Gated community provides common facilities provided by developer like community hall,park,swimming pool,gym etc. and gives security for the residential villas in the colony.

Disadvantage mainly is that the Villa will be practically constructed without much quality checks as most of the builders act like a marketing office subcontracting entire work to agencies who are not answerable either to ultimate user of the house or even to the builder as they simply do not bother about quality of construction.In addition such villas are usually over priced as clients without patience to buy plot and construct villa will be using this gated community facility.

Even when you build independent villa in any part of Kerala,there will be a residential association or neighbour hood group who try to help each other by joint community activities.

By buying plot suited to you ,designing house as per your needs with professional guidance and constructing house by taking assistance from professional agencies,you will get better value for your money, lesser cost and better quality construction