Sunday, October 27, 2013

Free Consultation,25,October,2013

 Topic 1:House Construction


I made a house 2000 s feet,I have to plan laying full granite,please advise how much it cost and more used colors.


My reply

Present trend is to avoid use of granite and marble for flooring as much more attractive tiles with lesser cost and with anti slippery properties are available.If you need advice on flooring and other finishing works of house, please get back to me to


My name is Sony ,currently working in Saudi Arabia.  I

I am planning to build a small home in , Pathanamthitta District.  My plan is a small home of maximum 1500 Sq. Ft. built up area.  I prefer a small home because of the future cleaning maintenance cost & problems.  Moreover, i think,  for a small home i can use good quality materials for plumbing, electrical accessories and a good interior works also.

As per my plan, 03 Rooms (with 02 attached bath) a kitchen, work area, common & family living space, in this 1500 Sq. Ft. area.

Could you please advise me an approximate cost per Sq. Feet separately for the Structure, Electrical and Plumbing works with normal standard materials & specifications, to finalize the basic plan size for the home.  I know that you can't provide an exact cost without any details, and this cost is just to decide on an area to finalize the size of the home only.  

I plan to proceed on a plan, after deciding on a final area of the building.  This is important for me because i don't like to go for a home loan and i would like to make it on cash payment basis.

If you can provide me a vague idea of the cost involved, it will be of much help for me in this primary stage.



My house work is going is 2000 sq. ft. including car porch. 3bedrooms attached, one common bathroom, living dining etc.'we have given it on contract basis for 1600 per sq. ft. It will be around 34 lakhs...wish to know whether this price is too high?
My reply

Three bed room single floor house may cost around Rs.30 Lakhs(Guess Estimate).There is no such standard square feet cost of construction applicable anywhere. Each contractor in Kerala build house in a different manner to suit his profit and no two contractor build in the same manner with same quality and specifications. Even the Architect will know plinth area of the house only after finalisation of Basic Plan of the building.So how can you predetermine plinth area of house before preparing plan of the house?


I own 18 Cents of land and want to build a 10 storey building and a space for commercial property. The plot is in rectangle shape 23 M X 35 M . The 23 Meter is facing the road and the 35 Meter is on either side.
Looking forward to your comments on whether this is possible and how much estimate would I need to mobilize on a budgetary basis to start with the plot.

My reply

When you plan to build a ten storey commercial building it is a major project which require expertise and assistance from building professionals

It is better you first contact a good Architectural firm who will have all kinds of experts in Architecture,soil testing,structural design and professional construction management.On our side we can  act as this professional agency for design and construction management.We can be contacted at email


About clearance required for the proposed building from nearby roads and allowable plinth area for construction in a floor you can contact town planning section of your local authority with specific details of plot like Survey No and Location sketch


I like to build a house with maximum cost effectiveness.From certain articles i have read that by using old materials like brick and wood we can reduce cost of construction.Is it effective?What percent of total cost can be reduced by that ?


My reply

As per Vasthu,it is better not to use old building materials used in old houses as such parts are likely to bring bad effects of old house to your new building
.Even if you go by engineering standards old building parts might have crossed its life to a great extent and hence they are likely to get deteriorated when compared to new materials used

Cost reduction can be brought in to building design and construction by following advice of an experienced building professional who can guide you properly after considering all aspects in a professional manner

Topic 2: House remodeling and extension


Myself planning to renovate the house and add a room to the terrace side of house . The ambiguity is the type of roof to be used for extension , whether we will b in need of RCC slab or is there any alternative to it keeping in mind the difficulties for doing it (i mean the RCC work ) .would like to know whether truss work with false ceiling will help or not .so that the work is quick and less headache compared to RCC and will it be apt for our climatic conditions and heat insulation properties
reply will be much appreciated !!


My reply

Renovation and extension of existing house is a tricky affair.Compromises in quality and structural stability of the building  done by the previous builder will be the major problem faced by the team of persons who attempt to do remodeling or extension of existing building.In all probability,house owner will be unaware of the problems as previous builder would have used all the nice words he knows to talk of quality of his construction even while trying hard to make profit in his construction contract while also trying to adjust to the limited funds available as per contract in the face of galloping cost of all inputs.

In one typical case where I did a remodeling and extension of a building done by a non professional contractor only after I started work on the building house owner came to know the following;

1.Height of walls are one feet less than usual wall heights of building which he never bothered to measure and check while taking care of only “square feet plinth area”

2.Height of doors were again one feet less and quality of wood used were inferior even though it was promised to be “best quality”

3.Quality of construction was very poor

4.Architectural or structural design of the building never even thought of

As unexpected problems will crop up while trying to do remodeling,cost cannot be estimated correctly and all estimates can go wrong

In view of these and more problems one may face while trying to do remodeling/extension,please ensure that the building to be remodeled is inspected thoroughly by a well experienced building professional and take his views on these aspects:

1. Whether the remodeling/extension considered by you is worth proceeding

2. Possible cost implications  at least on a guess basis without going through Engineering Estimate methods

3. What exactly can be done on the building without costing too much

In this case,I can only suggest remodeling/extension work possible only after visiting and studying existing building.You can call me on 9388701702 or email me


We bought house in Thiruvalla.  it need some renovation. Is your company  undertaking such renovations. or can you suggest somebody who will do such works and are reliable.  Mammen

My reply

We can take up remodeling/extension,interior wood work and design and supply of interior furniture for the house,landscaping with professional quality and best workmanship.We can also arrange traditional hand carving work for interior and furniture for the house


Sir, I am renovating my family home which is a traditional Nalukettu. We are planning to lay "Clay tiles" on the floors. We are doing it so as to get that traditional look. Would appreciate your opinion on this.


My reply

There is nothing wrong in using clay tiles.In fact it is better and healthy as clay tiles are environment friendly.After laying tiles,apply anti fungal polyurethane coating to prevent tiles getting affected by fungus growth over it

Topic 3:Vasthu compliance


How can one identify a Vasthu Expert? All proclaim that he is an expert?


My reply

Interesting question! You can get good books on Vasthu.Read them and get basic ideas on Vasthu.This will help you to avoid getting mislead by those who claim to know Vasthu without actually knowing much


My bedroom is in the Agni kone and I am facing terrible illness after marriage. Please advise me what is the remedy.

Megha Agarwal

My reply

Using South East room(Agni Kone) of the building as bed room can create lots of problems.Avoid using that room as bed room and convert it as Kitchen.It will give you better life

Topic 4:   Building Permit


i already constructed a house,i left 5m from panchayat road and front side there is one pocket road around 20 meter is private road.From that road i left only 2meter.And behind the house, corner of work area (only corner) i left only 1 meter.I am staying at panchayath area.Expecting favourable reply.

My reply

To me ,it appears to be fine.But your local authority is the right agency to check and confirm compliance with building rules


I have got a building permit from Trivandrum Corporation on 2010 January to construct a two storey total 1500 sq.ft. area.
My construction was done very slowly due to financial reason. Now 2013 September completed my house. But I didn't extent my building permit.
Now I am planning to submit my house for assessment to get TC number.
Shall I submit this as normal, or there is any penalty will come due to expired permit, if penalty is there, how I can avoid that.

My reply

If the building is constructed as per building rules,there cannot be much problem for you.If any penalty will be charged for not getting extension in building permit in time has to be decided by the local authority only


I am from Kasarcode dist.I had purchased a flat in Kasarcode for which i have not received the building number yet.

There is some case going on with the building owner due to which the building number is delayed.

I have sold the flat and would like to know is there any problem on doing registration process to the new owner to whom i sold my flat.

The building owner has promised that as soon as he finishes the case he will issue the building number to all the flats in the 5 storey building.

My flat does not have Electricity meter.Is that because of the court case.?

In short i would like to know is there any problem in going ahead with the sale of my flat.I mean registration to the new owner buyer.

The building owner is very helpful and cooperative gentleman and my friend.

Kindly advice


My reply

It is not wise to buy an apartment or any type of property unless and until all legal documents are found proper and satisfactory by a legal expert and  construction found good enough to buy by a building expert

In your case I think title of the property is in dispute and it is not wise to invest your money hoping that documents will get cleared later by the builder.Without approval of the building by the appropriate local authority(numbering of the building as you refer to),Electric connection and water connection cannot be obtained


hello sir my self Jestin from Trissur dist. .have only one property (5 cent) in my name in an agricultural area ( padam).but there is no agricultural work carried out for many years.can i get permission to construct my house over there.please give your advise .


Want to ask you something: I have a 18 cent land which I bought an year back. In the deed, it is mentioned as land, but in the possession certificate, it is 'NILAM'.


I have 25cent land, before it was agriculture land . Now I have plan to construct a house and I don't have other land.
Please give legal advice regarding this matter.


My reply

As a first step,you have to apply to local authority for building permit.If the documents related to plot show it as agricultural land,matter may be referred to a committee by local body for taking appropriate decision.You can present your views before committee for a favourable decision

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Free Consultation,23,October,2013

Topic 1:House Construction


Hi sir

My name is Denson .I am working abroad I have given a contract to build my house 

Now foundation works are going on

The soil there is almost black in color and don’t seems to be strong enough

They dig to 3 ft. and put some rock pieces to 6 inch and on that they put crusher sand and add water to fill gaps .they informed me that this will make the foundation stronger 

After that they started the rubble works till the ground floor 

Now they are filling it up with the soil from the foundation to fill the gaps in the rubble work 

But I expect them to use crusher sands as per your blog 

I have already asked him about this and he told me this is the normal way and I don’t have to spend extra for this 

Now they are planning to build a concrete belt at the ground level 15 cm thick and 45 cm wide with iron bars and start pillar at each corners

And again continue to build the dry pack rubble work to 2 ft height above ground level 

Please explain me if this technic is ok or not 

Thanks in advance 



My reply

Design and Construction of house is one of the major investment in the life of majority of people.Some how a wrong impression has gone deep in to minds of people in Kerala that there is a fixed “square feet cost” for house construction irrespective of nature of land,design of building and location.

Due to this any person trying to build a house seem to think his smartness is getting the lowest “square feet cost” from the contractor without knowing what exactly should be proper engineering standards and quality aspects of house construction.If some one can get plan of the house without spending anything that also is treated as “smartness”

Only a qualified experienced building professional can get you good design after studying carefully site conditions,measurements and your needs.A good design can give you better facilities at lesser cost.Amount you spend for getting a good design is never a loss but it will get you better value for your investment in house.

Starting from developing proper design for house,you need continuous drawings,design details and instructions of a good building professional till completion of the building.You should not leave Engineering specifications and details on construction to the mercy of the contractor who is eagerly waiting to pay back to you for forcing him to accept lowest “square feet cost”.Whatever you may try or think ,contractor knows how to make profit.But in the process your investment will be at risk as quality and engineering specifications are likely to be compromised.


Dear Thomas,

I made a villa through a reputed builder sometime in 2007 and invested around 40 Lakhs and within 4 years leakage and poor quality started surfacing.

After seeing the buildings in Europe that are constructed in 1875 or early 1900 still strong, wonder how can we get construction of that quality or at least a house with its base infrastructure holding for at least 50 to 60 years for next generation, unlike to fix every 3 years or so that too on the basic construction itself.

Please advise whether any such construction companies or contractors exists in Cochin who strive for quality in his work and not trying to make maximum profit by keeping compromise in quality.

I am thinking to have a plot and build two townhouses and need some advice from you based on your knowledge about market, peers who are good.

My reply

Keralites look for a contractor who will construct house with "lowest  square feet rate" and not with good quality and with engineering standards to ensure structural stability. With price increases almost every day ,contractor will be forced to  compromise on quality and Engineering standards to protect his profit.

When I tell people that there is no such thing as “square feet rate” applicable everywhere irrespective of soil conditions,design of building and quality standards,people talk to me as if I do not know anything about house construction.I get phone calls simply telling me to give cost figure over phone for the building they plan to construct.Without any data if I do not tell cost,then I am supposed to be ignorant of house construction!

We do not build apartments. We design  mostly villas and take up execution directly only in cases where we are fully comfortable with the client as most clients try to put the contractor in to trouble also

We can start design process and we will take up direct execution only if we both  feel comfortable. Construction wherever taken up is directly monitored by me

Our company do not take up many housing projects at a time.When we take up the work we ensure that all Engineering standards are maintained and quality and structural stability is never compromised for maximising profit.Even when we may loose money,we try to keep up our reputation.There is not even a case of quality problem in more than 200 houses directly  designed and built by us  so far.


Dear Mr. Thomas

I got your details from the net..we are planning to build a house in Ernakulum .land area 10 cents. our plan 2825sqt  double story  house.or 2600 sft built up area in Ground floor area. This land we need to piling (this is paddy field). . I  want to ask single story or double story is  expensive. If this 2825 sft full in single story what would be the contraction coast. if it is double story  what would be the contraction coast.How much is now good quality work per sft charge .if our plan 1975sqt in ground floor and 850 sft in first floor or 2825 sft in ground floor which is the cheaper. I need your advice please get back to me all the details.

Mrs. Rajan

My reply     

Even an experienced Architect will know square feet plinth area of the house only after Basic Plan of the building is finalised. Then how can you pre determine square feet plinth area without even initial plan for the building?

10 cents is only 4350 sft and built up area possible depends upon outer measurements of four sides and positions of roads nearby as you have to comply building rules applicable .

Foundation design can be decided only after soil test data is available especially if the soil is weak. 


Dear Sir,
I am writing this mail to clear one important query of mine.
I purchased a house 7 years back with the flooring completely done with granite.
Around 4 years back, I noticed that the stone in the ground floor started to develop minor cracks which later lead into pits.
On seeing this I consulted a granite sealer company and applied the sealer for the entire ground floor.
Now 3 years later, the floor is developing pits and showing signs of decaying.
The kitchen granite floor which had comparatively less problem is also now showing the signs same as the other rooms.
To my wonder, there is no problem in the first floor.
I would like to get your reply for the following doubts.
1. Granite is heard as lasting for life long, then why this problem is due to?
2. Is there any remedy to rectify the problem, if there is, will it last long?
3. Is it possible to do any repair for the kitchen which shows minor cracks?
4. If replacement of granite is required, can I do with Granite again or some other option?
5. Which is the other best options which I can rely for long years?
Kindly reply for my queries.
Looking forward for your reply.

My reply

I can make a comment on the problem only after a site visit to check and assess the matter. During the visit I( can also comment on other features of the house and Vasthu compliance of the house

Based on the information given by you I can only make guesses on the problem and cause for it

In all probability, floor before laying granite might not have been properly compacted and floor concrete done properly. Due to this granite might break whenever there is contraction beneath. That may be the reason why such breakage is not happening in first floor.As I told you earlier this is only a guess and for finding exact cause I need a site study


I have one land which was purchased 8 years ago which is soft clay land. Surrounding two sides of the land there is paddy field 2.meter below. I would like to construct double story building (2900 s ft.). I approached a 25 years experienced (non professional) contractor and 10 years experienced architect. They suggested to construct 22 columns for this purpose and  also the beam with 1.5 meter plinth concrete. My question is whether this foundation is enough to hold the structure or column should be till the top floor.


My reply

Both opinion given by those whom you consulted are wrong and are without any basis. A real professional will make such recommendations only after obtaining sufficient data to arrive at a decision. These two gentle men have made guesses and suggested foundation again based on their guesses. In the case of soil with suspected weakness in strength you will have to conduct soil test at points suggested by an expert. Soil test data should be given to a structural engineering specialist to suggest and design proper structural engineering design for the foundation. He will also require Architectural design of the building to decide on appropriate foundation design for the building.

A house is one of your most important investment in life. Do not attempt to do it based on loose comments of so called "experts" which you may come across.


  I saw an advertisement  about a builders in Trissur in a magazine. They are not a big group. They build house for a very low of 4-5lakh.They are saying its some modern way of home making. I remember the name is some institute  or some thing like tat. con u just help me out from tis. if u saw tis mail please reply


My reply

House design and Construction is one of the major investment in your life. Do not attempt to do it based on vague ideas given by some one


I have no idea about the cost of constructing a house, but want to build a two storey house In this regard I just want to know what would be the approximate cost of the building 


My reply

Cost of construction house can be estimated only after site study, study of your requirements and after preparing Basic Plan of the house with these data


I plan to construction 1200sqft double story home in Trissur district. I have a one land 25 cent before it was agricultural land .I don't have a other properties .how I can proceed construction activities please send me legal formalities


My reply

Apply for Building permit with your local authority. If the land in records show as paddy field, they will refer the matter to a committee comprising of Agricultural Officer,Thahsildar and local authority Engineer. The committee after visiting plot will take appropriate decision


Dear Mr. Thomas

I am a dentist based on Thiruvalla working in Saudi.
I have read many articles from your web and like your prof approach.
Went through many homes u constructed too through pics on web.
I am planning to construct a home in Thiruvalla and hope u can carryout the task with ease with your vast experience and manpower.I wish to construct a single storied home

My request is another. My resources are fixed and limited.I need a home within 2500sq ft.My budget shall be around 40 lakhs Can u fulfill my ambition if we start the work at the earliest? No one can start a project without knowing the budget unless he is immensely wealthy.


My reply

Plinth area of the building  can be known only after finalisation of plan of the building. Just by knowing possible plinth area of the proposed building no professional can guess cost. Square feet cost is a non professional term used by non professional contractors to canvass business

Any Engineering project can get an estimated cost only after basic design parameters are available. You are asking me to predict cost without any data thinking that there is something called 'square feet cost of construction" applicable any where without even time boundaries. I have been telling through my blogs that it is a wrong concept

As of now I can give only a guess estimate for a 3 bed single floor house. It can be around Rs.30 lakhs

Cost depends to a great extent on proper design giving you more value for your money and land available. For getting this benefit you need services of a qualified experienced person

Topic 2:Land Purchase in Kerala


Dear Thomas,

I would  like to know the land price in Ayroor which is in Kozhencherry, People are trying to mislead me with false values and I came across your site and thought if you could help me.

I have a 10 cents plot which my father inherited to me and since I am not staying in Kerala, I am not aware of the present value of the plot.


My reply

Best option before you will be to try and act as a buyer instead of seller.Then you will know at least a slightly exaggerated cost of land .Your actual cost will be between this buyer cost and seller cost

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cost of house construction and usual queries on house construction


Lots of people are confused about cost of constructing a house and even on how each structural part of the house has to be constructed.

I do understand that most of the houses in Kerala were constructed by local contractors without much of a design of the house. Person who construct the house used to think that being rich enough to construct a house, contractors or construction workers should simply follow his instructions and wishes and they can only talk and advise him in a manner pleasing him. This procedure was fine as long as house construction was comparatively cheaper. Now house construction has become a costly affair and every effort should be made to minimise cost and maximize utility of each built up area. Again availability of experts with knowledge in house design and latest techniques and trends in house construction is slowly changing the scenario. But still house owners find it difficult to seek informed advise of the experts and quite a few of them expect the expert to follow their ideas even when it is wrong and harmful to the person who spends money.

I used to joke with my clients that I can harm their interests simply by keeping quiet and not correcting their wrong ideas on house design and construction. A true professional is not the one who simply obeys and agrees to all wishes and ideas of the client. In fact a true professional should make the client understand what is good for him with the available resources like funds, land and other parameters of plot which cannot be changed.

I get quite a lot of phone calls from many people almost every day seeking information on various aspects of house construction and definitely not much on house design. I also get quite a lot of mails mostly as anonymous comments on blog entries seeking information. Whenever I get mails directly to my mail id given below, I try to reply directly. For anonymous comments to blogs, I can only reply through these blog entries. Naturally replies get delayed a lot. My email id is given below:

Most people think that house design can be done by the most important person in the process, the house owner. Quite a lot of people degrade an Architect or building professional to someone who should draw plan of the house as he is told by the person who spends money for the project. In my view an Architect should talk in detail with the client to understand his needs and make him understand what all can be done by optimum use of limited resources.

Somehow or other people tend to think that there is a fixed “square feet cost of construction” irrespective of location, nature of plot and design. Without even preparing a plan of the house they fix up on their own expected square feet plinth area of the house and ask me to tell the cost just by knowing square feet plinth area of house guessed by them. Let me ask you few questions:

1.Have you found out even two contractors who construct building with exactly same specifications, method of working and technical details?

In most cases these non-professional contractors do not care about technical specifications, engineering details and try to build the house with as little materials and labour to save their profit. I cannot blame these contractors for trying to compromise on quality and structural stability of the building. In fact owner of the building force them to do these compromises. In a situation where cost of hundreds of materials involved in construction are going up almost every day and labour is turning out to be costly and not available with each passing day, what else contractor can do to protect his profit?. I have never seen a building owner who is happy about contractor making profit. In fact he will be happy only if the contractor makes losses. At least that is the Malayalee way of thinking.

Only if two contractors are building house with same quality standards engineering specifications you can compare their so called “rates “This never happen. Then what is the meaning for this “square feet rate”? Material and labour required for same plinth area houses will change with design and specifications to ensure quality of construction. How can rates for those different design different specifications houses with same plinth area be same?

2. Are you insisting on a qualified experienced person checking up construction at each stage for protecting quality and engineering standards? It never happens. Contractor will be the first person advising you” not to waste money on that Engineer”

I have enquired with many contractors why you still quote a square feet rate knowing very well that it does not mean anything. They always reply that without quoting such a rate (knowing very well that it has no meaning),they will not get work!

Again people ask me by mail and by phone calls details of construction specifications like what steel bar to be used, what depth required for foundation, what no of piles required .These questions cannot be answered just like that. As owner of the house, you are not supposed to decide on engineering details simply by making enquiries to whomever you meet in your everyday life.

An expert in house construction should guide you through out house construction from concept development to finish of the house. Contractor should be given work only if he is willing to follow drawings and instructions of a good professional who will protect your interests and not that of the contractor.

Only a professional experienced in house construction can advise you what is good for your house construction considering all technical aspects and data's carefully


Always ensure to get qualified experienced professional advice. More experienced person will have more exposure and ability to guide you properly. Even a fresh technically qualified person is of no use as our education system never produce professionals capable of handling jobs

I would prefer your enquiries directly by email and better not by phone calls. My mobile no is

9388701702 and email id