Sunday, March 13, 2011

Queries and replies-House design,construction ,remodeling



Respected Sir,

I am NRI.Name Sebastian Fernandez settled in Oman with my family . In India I am settled in cochin and now I am building a new house in Thoppumpady.
Started the work on 16th Jan 2011 .Till now the foundation work has not finished we have only the labour works in contract , we buy the material.In this mail I am sending the house plan  its about 2500 sq.feet and the land is just 5.45 cents we saw in net all your work and we liked  one picture from  photo gallery-gothic style house,till now we have not confirmed the front elevation so we want your help to draw a good front elevation for our house and guidance, supervision ,interior design now my uncle Aloysius is supervising the work but he need some guide like u . 

So I kindly request you to sent me the reply in this mail id for this mail.regards

Sebastian Fernandez

My reply

I have to visit the site, and study the case in detail before commenting what can be done on design and Elevation of house.Professional guidance before commencement of construction of the house could have saved you money and  effects of wrong design and construction.

I can provide continuous design details and guidance at every stage of construction of house



Dear Thomas
We are planning to construct a house in Vallarpadam, its a 9-10 cents plot. We would like to build a low cost 2 storied house with 3 bedrooms. attached is a plan I found in another website. Could you please look into it and let me know your costs (per sq. feet) etc.??
Look forward to hearing from you.

My reply

A professional cannot simply talk of square feet cost like a non professional contractor without any data.Study of site conditions,preparation of plan of the house and then preparing an Engineering estimate are all required before I can at least make a guess Estimate of cost of construction



Dear Thomas,
I am Shemeena..i would like know about sq. ft. price for building an average kind of home.
Home structure in ma mind is a duplex home….at ground floor kitchen with work area, 1 bedroom with attached, visiting room, hall, common toilet and a laundry , sit out and car porch ….can I build it within a 1000sqft?
At first floor 2 bedrooms attached with small balcony …… that built in 500 sq. ft.?
  Can u tell me the budget around for building in this plan at lower cost(ma budget is 12lakhs)…and please advise me…..
My reply

Three bed room house with reasonable dimensions ,common facilities,car porch will be about 1700 sft plinth area.You cannot build such a house with Rs.12 lakhs.Get a professional design of the house.After that cost can be calculated.Building construction is not that simple for which cost can be simply guessed .



Hi Thomas,
I have got a chance to go through your blog in Kerala house construction web site. Your suggestions and opinion are very much helpful to me.
I have some doubts on the VASTU related aspects and space utilization.
Will you get time to answer few of my questions?

I am planning to construct a 2 storey house in 5 cents land. As the construction costs are too high, I want to utilize the maximum space and reduce unused waste areas.
1.       Planning for a 4 BHK house
2.       Ground floor has 2 attached bed rooms(1 master, 1 kid), A single open space for dining &  living area, kitchen and work area.
3.       First floor has 2 attached bed room, 1 common toilet, a small family living area, 1 study room, 1 balcony, 1 utility space for keeping washing machine and a common terrace
I have some queries regarding the VASTU compliance.
1.       Is there any specific dimension as per VASTU for bed rooms and toilet.
1.       I am planning to have 10x12 for master and upper 2 bed rooms. The kid room of size 8x9.
2.       To accommodate my above requirements, what are the best arrangement to effectively utilize the space so that we can have some compound area outside the house. I have scribbled a layout plan and attached along with this mail. Please bear my little knowledge in these areas.
3.       Is there any VASTU dosham if the main entry/exit door comes towards south? I have prepared the attached plan with entry from East but thinking of alternate plan as well where the Master Bed room comes on the SW side.
Please find attached the plot sketch for your reference. The plot faces towards south having a 4meter wide internal road.
Thanks and Regards,
Krishna Kumar GR

My reply

Plan of the house is the most important document for a house construction
As the person dreaming for the house you might have imagined about how the house should come and with knowledge of drafting it is possible for you to draw a plan.But that cannot be a substitute for plan that can be prepared by a qualified Architect with experience in designing and building hundreds of houses.
While preparing a plan the following factors among many more are taken into account.
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
I can prepare a plan for your house using your drawing as an expression of your requirements.
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 .
Based on mutual discussions this plan prepared can be revised and reviewed and changes accepted by our experts can be incorporated in the plan.
Replies to your queries:
1.As per Vasthu you can have a rectangle as room and there is no specific dimensions.
2.There is nothing wrong in main door facing South if there is road in South side
3.Master Bed room should come at South West for better Vasthu effects



Dear sir
I’m  architect I have seen many houses in Kerala with terracotta tiles they are just beautiful. But I fail to no its technique to get its charm once laid . I visited your website and found the laying of terracotta tiles very interesting .I need your assistance right  from the selection - laying - grouting and finally polishing of terracotta the tiles .i’ll be grateful to u if you help me in this as ur from Kerala & your blog is inexplicable I’m asking for help
1)I stay in Mysore ,unlike Kerala don’t get more options on terracotta  tiles here .so I have on square & octagonal left in the only  factory that sells it .all tiles are hand made & now that dealer says the factory which supplied us has closed down :( sadly even he is selling vitrified tiles..
2)I would like to know how to apply it over a finished surfaced . my house is been constructed 30 years age already no floorings have been put . only cement oxide at present .
3)In some internet reference I read that the terracotta tiles should be dipped in water before laying on floor for 42 days is it true ?
4)The place where I stay outskirts of  Mysore, and my native  is very dusty due to sand mining. So does this effect terracotta tiles?
5)I want the grouts also same colour has the tile so how to achieve it ?Just like how Ar Laurie Baker house have them .Even in your blog i saw that the grouts are perfectly done with same colour .
6)What type of polish should I go linseed oil , or waxing with hand or polyurethane coat ?i kind of like rustic or matt finish ones not the glossy finish looks as the charm of terracotta tile fades in gloss .
Thanking you

My reply

You can buy roof tiles from Kapindia,Trichur.They will supply you clay tiles and will arrange workers for the job
go to
Read my blog entries at are detailed descriptions on laying of clay tiles in other blog entries




My reply

After structure work also you need continuous guidance of a professional along with design drawings
I can provide design details required by you.But there will be charges



I am an architecture student in the SRM university Chennai.I am taking part for a paper presentation competition.The topic is "A style of architecture that can be an immediate solution for todays context"....I thought about taking up vernacular Kerala style including vasthu sastra principles.May i have your suggestions and your guidance as in if the topic is a right choice


My reply

Yes.I can assist you.Go through our website and nearly 30 blogs
Come back to me with your specific queries.You can even come to cochin for direct discussions with me



Dear Thomas,
Myself, Ajith Anirudhan, a native of Thiruvalla, would like to know the approximate cost of building an economical house in a blend of traditional Kerala/modern architecture with 3 bedrooms(bath attached), 1 drawing room with dining hall extended, kitchen and a work area  in my 6.5 cents of land. The building can be double-storied. My requirements may sound vague, but please consider this as a request as I need to apply for a bank loan to construct my house and need to know an approximate loan amount to apply.


My Reply

House construction is not that simple as you think
If I simply say some figure,no bank is going to give you loan based on that
They will require documents as indicated in my blog entry on House loan.Link given below



Hello, Thomas,
I have taken your details site, would like to construct a home, plans and other things are already submitted for Cherthala Municipality approval.
Can you just give me an idea about how much is the square feet rate now.?  I would like to get the pricing for the following;
Total construction how much square feet? What all work will include
Only structural work how much square feet, and what all work will include in this.
Total area of the House is 3500 sq. ft.
Please reply

Right now we are completing a house of plinth area 3200 sft at Cherthala near railway station.I have designed and built directly more than 200 houses in different parts of Kerala and designed much more.
Term square feet cost has no technical base as each house will have different cost per sft when completed depending upon location,design,nature of work involved etc.House construction involves hundreds of different materials with continuous cost increase and several type of labour involved.Only professional designed and monitored house construction will have appropriate architectural and structural design.Contractor will use material  and labour to the minimum to get more profit after quoting "square feet cost"
Term square feet cost is simply a term used by non professional contractors to get the contract knowing very well that once work starts extras can always be obtained from the owner of the house and by the time house some how gets completed,both owner of the house and contractor will not even remember original" square feet cost" quoted by the contractor.
Click on this link to see details on house being built by us at Cherthala
Please send your plan for me to check and comment.We can give a detailed item wise Engineering Estimate made using professional engineering methods.This will be more correct compared to crude "square feet cost".You can get more details on costing for house construction  from my blog


Mr Thomas,
Still my questions are unanswered, I accept you are a professional in your line, as a client I have a minimum expectation that you will be able to provide a rough figure on the running charges per sqft which are prevail in the market, I thought you can give some base idea about that based on your experience in this field. Hence I mailed.


My reply

Recently for a project where I act as a consultant,my NRI client wanted a square feet  rate contractor  who has to follow strictly my drawings,structural  and architectural design,and continuous instructions.So called square feet cost of contractor will change in such a situation as in normal case without supervision by a reputed professional he can use half the steel required for concrete,lesser materials and labour.
A person like you who is fond of square feet cost is not bothered about such profit made by contractor at the expense of structural stability of building.(building will not fall down or crack immediately).Contractor who came said Rs.900/- for structure and plastering without wood.My client immediately said he will give work if rate is reduced to Rs.700/- Contractor immediately reduced it.
I called contractor  to a side and asked him-Why you are reducing?
His reply was this:This square feet rate is only a lie told at beginning of work to get work.Once the work starts I know how to get more from him.After the work starts,no body else will come to do the work if I leave the work.This same chap will pay any extras I demand saying one or another reason.Finally when work get completed,owner will forget about the original square feet rate
After foundation work itself he demanded several extras and owner told me:I will pay it.Let work continue
.If you want some one to tell you only what you like,then why you need a professional?

Preparing appropriate plan of the house is the most important cost reduction step in house construction and definitely not getting low square feet cost quotation from some irresponsible contractor
Just any plan drawn by any one will not be good enough.
You require the best qualified person with rich experience to prepare appropriate plan of the house.

If you go to a shop selling rice and ask for price of 1Kg rice,you will get a reply
If you ask the shop fellow what will be the cost of 1 Kg rice after 18 months he will look at you with a surprise look.
House building require hundreds of material with ever increasing price and various type of labour again with increasing cost.Then how can any one predict cost of house which you may complete after 18 months?
Without even sending me plan of the house you are going on asking me "square feet cost".Probably you want to cross check "rate" given by somebody.After getting a reply even if it is a lie you will be happy.

Golden rule in house construction is simply this:
Do not wait for entire money as may be estimated or guessed by any one to reach you.All estimates are going to be wrong.
Start with whatever money you have.Even if you can do foundation it is great.Tomorrow cost of foundation will be too high.
Always get professional guidance not only in preparing a plan of the house,but from beginning to end at every stage,every step.You will be able to understand defects in design and work only after work is completed.A professional can see it in advance.After work completion,no Engineer can correct improper work done

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