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

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