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Architectural Guidance

Topic 1 - BUILDING YOUR DREAM HOUSE IN KERALA


We will explain here step by step how to proceed when you want to build your dream house in
Kerala
Step 1- Selection of Plot
If you do not have land of your own either inherited or acquired, you will have to purchase land for
constructing your dream house. While choosing land suitable it is better to avail professional
guidance to check suitability on account of
1.
Soil nature
2.
Statutory clearances and other building rules compatibility
3.
Vasthu considerations
4.
Level of land whether plain or sloped
5.
Other architectural and technical considerations including shape and dimensions of the
plot
Step 2 - Legal Verification and Documentation
You have to verify the legal title of the property with the assistance of a lawyer experienced in civil
cases You also have to make enquiries with local administration authorities whether the land is
frozen for any public projects or any other objections in constructing a house in that land is
prevailing Proper drafting of deed of purchase of property will have to be done to ensure that your
title of property is clear and without any complications.
Step 3 - Preparation of Basic plan of your Building
This is the most important part in the construction of your dream house A real good plan can make
your house real good with most appropriate design, effective space utilization, substantial savings
in cost, good appearance An improper plan literally make you waste the money spent on
construction with many inconveniences and problems which you will start realizing after you move
into the house. But that will be too late to do anything to improve or correct the damages Always
get your house plan prepared by an expert experienced Architect.
Step 4 - Preparation of engineering estimate for your Construction
Costing is not as simple as multiplying the square feet area of your plan with some square feet
cost which a non professional builder or contractor may quote to you There is no common square
feet cost for a building. Each building is different in material inputs, work involved, specifications,
choices of owner and many other factors You need an engineering estimate giving detailed costing
for each part of the work involved quantified in engineering terms A proper picture of the expected
cost of construction along with various options to control costs should be ready before you start
construction.
Step 5: - Proper selection of Woodden or other types of Joinery
Wood used for your Joinery (Doors and Windows) are going to be part of your basic structure. Care
should be taken with professional assistance to select good quality wood or other type of joinery.
Step 6: - Structural Design of the Building
Steel reinforcements and concreted parts of your building are extremely vital for the stability of
your building. Never leave it to a nonprofessional labour contractor to do as he pleases. It can be
real harmful to your building and its long term stability. Get the design done by a qualified
Structural Consultant and ensure that your builder follows it correctly.
Step 7: - Proper selection of material used for Construction
Do not go by the advice of material suppliers or traders on quality of material to be used for
Construction. Get professional guidance.
Step 8: - Electrical and Plumbing works

An Architect can guide you on Electrical and Plumbing lay out for the building along with material
to be used and proper installation of electrical and plumbing, fittings and equipments. Even while
selecting fittings you need professional advice to choose the best within your budget among
various options available.
Step 9: - Painting
Painting is now an important part of Construction. It can change the appearance and inner good
feelings as well as outer appearance of a building to great extent. Colour consultants are now
available to guide you on colour selection. Your architect can guide you effectively in this.
Step 10: - Flooring
We now have several options for appropriate flooring for your building. Depending upon your
budget the best option for you can be selected with the assistance of a professional. Proper laying
of the Flooring material is also equally important to obtain the best results
Step 11: - Interior design and Interior work
A Proper Interior design can make lot of difference to utility, appearance and even the moods and
comforts of the inhabitants of the building. Get a professional Interior design and go for traditional
Kerala hand carved interior woodden work if you can afford it.
Step 12: - Compound wall, gate and other outside works
Compound wall need not be just a compound wall. It can be a designer compound wall adding
value and beauty to your house. Even the gate, gate pillars can add value to your house if properly
designed and done. Car porch Floor and drive way can be done with designer tiles.
Step 13: - Landscaping
Landscaping deal with designing your outer space around the house in the most appropriate
manner giving utility and appearance adding value to your house
Step 14: - Other services
You have to keep the services of an Electrician and Plumber on call basis to meet any emergency
requirement. It is preferable to have the same professional agency who have done your building as
they alone will know details of the connections

Topic 2 - BUYING LAND IN KERALA FOR HOUSE CONSTRUCTION


When you want to buy land in Kerala for the purpose of constructing a house, several aspects has
to be considered and verified before you make a decision on land purchase
Technical aspects
First of all, try to buy original land without any filling during the last ten years. Construction cost
especially foundation cost can go high with concrete piling even for two storied building if you buy
filled up land which was originally marshy land with clay . When you buy land in Cochin most
places of Cochin are filled up land without even a trace of sand for several meters depth
Plot should have free access to road with at least seven feet width and preferably not less than 10
feet width. If you buy land without road wide enough for easy passage of truck, transporting
construction materials to site will become very costly
As per building rules you have to leave 3M from front road and from sides 1 or 1.2 M if the side of
the plot does not have any road or even private passage. In the case of passages ending with dead
end coming in sides, you will have to leave minimum 2 M in that side. Otherwise for a regular road
on sides, you will have to again leave 3M on the sides also. Thus a plot having roads on all sides
will have much less space for building when you have to comply with Kerala Building rules. In the
case of a normal two storied building you will have to leave 1.5 M on the rear side also
Plot should preferably have larger length in the side where it faces road. Do not simply go by area
of the land usually referred in Kerala as cents. One cent is an area of the land which is equal to
435 square feet. A plot with lesser dimension in the side facing road with larger depth will be
inconvenient for construction of the house and due to lesser frontage your Architect will not be
able to design a house with better front appearance for such a plot

A plot should preferably have not less than 12 M frontage for small plots. But for bigger plots
frontage length of about 25 M will be better. Even though too much depth will not be of much use,
for smaller plots again 12 to 15M depth is preferred when you have an almost equal or nearer
frontage length. For bigger plots again depth of about 20 M is preferred
You have to check up with local authority whether the plot is included in any of the government
schemes. If so you may not get building permit after buying the land for construction of house
As you may not be fully aware of all aspects it is better to get the plot inspected by a technically
qualified person experienced in construction of houses before you decide to buy the plot
Vasthu aspects
As per Vasthu plot with road facing the following directions in that order is best suited for
construction of house
1.
East
2.
North
3.
West
4.
South
However Vasthu stipulates ideal positions for rooms for houses facing each direction. Even for
house s facing south, there is no problems expected if you follow instructions for South facing
house as per Vasthu while preparing Plan of the house by properly placing each type of room of
the house
You should avoid buying plot where a road or passage ends. This plot is expected to bring all sorts
of problems and misery to those who live there
There are several other aspects to be considered as Per Vasthu before you buy a plot of land.
Hence it is better to get the land inspected by a Vasthu consultant before you decide to buy the
plot
Legal aspects
You have to get all documents related to the land verified by a lawyer experienced in civil cases.
The following documents will have to be obtained in original before making payment for the land in
addition to what additional documents a lawyer may call for after examining documents related to
the land which you plan to buy
1.
Original deed
2.
Original previous deed if the property was not divided earlier and copy of previous deed
if the property was divided prior to earlier transaction
3.
Land tax receipt in the name of seller issued by concerned Village office
4.
Possession certificate issued by concerned village Office in the name of seller
5.
Location certificate issued by concerned Village office in the name of seller
6.
Non encumbrance certificate for 14 years issued by concerned Registrar office
You will also have to get services of a reliable document writer for carrying out all formalities
related to purchase of property. If you can get the services of a professional agency like ours who
will arrange and coordinate all the above by various agencies together, it will be better and less
troublesome for you as a buyer of land
Topic 3-DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF HOUSE
I keep getting mails from Keralites living in different parts of world saying that he/she intend to
construct house in Kerala. Most of them simply ask me how much it will cost to construct a house
without even bothering to tell even the place for construction. Most of them simply think that
construction of a house is as simple as going and buying something from the market. It is
definitely not that simple
1. Prepare a list of what you need in the house
Starting point for construction of a house is preparing a list of what all rooms, facilities you need in
the house. Try to make this list after detailed discussions and obtaining inputs from all members of

the family. Of course later while discussing with an Architect he may suggest changes and
improvements on this wish list based on his knowledge and experience in designing and building
houses for many
2. Site visit by Architect
Site visit by an Architect is essential for him to properly visualize your dream home. An
experienced Architect can see in his mind how the house should look when completed. If the
Architect is well versed in Vasthu, he can also decide on appropriate positions for each room as per
Vasthu requirements. A well designed plan is the most important aspect of construction of a house.
Even if you pay more for a good design by obtaining a better qualified and experienced Architect,
you will save lakhs of rupees and can avoid inconveniences and wastage of space that can occur
due to improper design
3. Finalising the Plan
Based on initial requirement details given by you, Architect will prepare a plan showing positions
and dimensions of rooms, doors and windows. From the plan drawing you may not be able to
understand properly features of the Plan. Hence it is better to get a detailed briefing from the
Architect on features of the plan, advantages and disadvantages of the Plan. It will also be better if
you obtain a second opinion on the plan from an equally qualified and experienced Architect and
try to discuss points raised by second consultant with the first consultant so that you can be sure
that the plan prepared is the best considering your site conditions, requirements and financial
arrangements
4. Engineering Estimate
Before finalising on the plan try to get an Engineering estimate giving item wise costing at least for
the structural part of the building as interior and finishing works can be estimated after completion
of structural part of the building depending upon your financial condition at that stage. On the
finishing work to be done you will get a clearer picture after the structural work as you can
visualize better works required at that stage. If structural costing is not within your reach you can
revise the plan at that drawing stage itself rather than waiting for changes after commencement of
work
5. Selecting a contractor for the work
While a selecting someone to carry out the work you should try to get someone associated with a
professional Architect who will follow procedures of work strictly as per quality standards of an
Architect/Engineer with proper structural design for each steel and concrete parts of the building.
You should not simply go for the lowest quotation as it can be costly for proper construction of
your building in the long run
Like above points there are several matters to be carefully implemented during design and
construction of house. You can mail me for free consultation on any stage of construction of your
building by writing to
vhthomas@viruvelil.com
You will get a prompt reply from me
Topic 4-HOUSE LOAN
Building a house is the greatest investment for any one especially Keralites. While venturing into
the greatest investment of life, most of them do not plan it properly, do not collect information and

study about how to go about building your house. Many simply think it is like buying a commodity
from the market and hence simply go on enquiring from contractor to contractor looking for that
contractor who will quote lowest rate without bothering much about small writing in the bottom of
the offer-Conditions apply
As i have written many times earlier, once you decide to build your house or even feel the need to
build your house, you should straight away go for it with careful study and preparations. You need
a true professional who has not only qualifications in designing and building houses, but a wealth
of experience in designing and building houses with an open eye for acquiring knowledge on new
developments in the field as technology developments come faster in this area.
Cost of construction even with professional Engineering Estimates can only give approximate
indications as all input costs for building a house keep increasing in Kerala conditions. You need
professional guidance to avoid unwanted expenses and to choose right material and workmen to
get best appropriate and most economical results.
In my opinion even if you have sufficient funds with you,it will be better to avail house loan which
give you repayment period from five to twenty years depending on your age when you apply for
housing loan. The simple reason is that you get money now to build your house at cost prevailing
today. Tomorrow cost will definitely reach unreachable levels for you if you simply postpone your
house construction. When you avail housing loan you will have to make installments of payments
after few years when real value for money used by you for construction has come down much in
terms of the purchase capability of the money. So when you avail of Housing loan you get higher
value money and as years pass you repay money with much lower value.
There is no point in searching for that bank which offers 0.5 or 0.25% fewer rates for loan.
Whatever may be the rate of interest banks tend to collect over a period of years almost double
the money you have taken as loan of course with lesser and lesser value for repayment money as
years pass.
Let us see what all the documents bank will ask for processing your housing loan in Kerala
1. Original deed which shows that you have absolute ownership for the land
2. Encumbrance certificate to be obtained from concerned Registrar office where you registered
your land purchase deed for the past 13 or 14 years(it may vary from bank to bank).This will show
history of ownership of your land for the past 14 years and will show if there is any liabilities on
the land duly registered with concerned Registrar office.
3. Land tax receipt in your name clearly showing you as the possessor of the land as per the deed
issued by concerned Village office paid up to date.
4. Possession certificate in your name issued by Village office for the land
5. Location certificate for the land issued by Village office
6. Original or copies of all previous land deeds for the land at least for the past 14 years
7. Copy of Building permit issued for construction of building by the concerned Panchayath.
8. Copy of approved Plan duly approved and sealed by concerned Panchayath prepared and signed
by your Architect or licensed Engineer and you.
9. Original of Estimate for construction of the building preferably signed by a Chartered Engineer.
( Banks will pay only 70 to 80% of the cost indicated in this Estimate. So you have to give suitably
prepared Estimate in consultation with bank officials)
10. Building tax paid receipt (up to date) if the land has any other existing building .
Topic-5. Complete service package for building your dream house when you are away
If you are a nonresident Indian dreaming to build your dream house in Kerala, major constraint
you will be facing is, Who will do it for me in my absence?
This is where a professional agency like ours comes. If you are looking for land purchase in and
around Cochin, we can start from locating land for you to build your dream house. After finalising
or rather choosing plot to be purchased, you need to go through following essential steps

1.Technical and Vasthu evaluation of land to be purchased


2.Legal verification of title of land and related documents to ensure that you buy land without any
legal hurdles and problems.
3. Land measurement prior to purchase
4.Documentation for land purchase and related legal activities at Registrar office, Taluk Office and
Village office.
Once the land is purchased, you need to get boundaries safe guarded. For that boundary wall will
have to be made.
Then a Plan of the house to be prepared followed by an Engineering Estimate to check whether
you can build your dream house with funds available with you. If you require additional funds for
purchase of land and construction of house, we can arrange it without any hassles as we are
authorised service agents for HDFC Housing Finance Ltd.
Then you will have to obtain building permit and plan approval from local authority. Obtain
electrical connection for construction work and then proceed with work with complete transparent
accounting available through email and monitoring of work in progress through pictures of work
progress posted in specific blog created for your work site.
In case, you plan to construct house away from Cochin except locating suitable plot for you, we
can do everything else indicated above for you.
See how easy it is to build your dream house living and working in any part of the world. We have
built many houses like this for many NRIs without even a relative or friend to monitor matters in
Kerala.
Why don't you start thinking of making your dream of a house in Kerala a reality, using our
professional services, guidance and assistance?
We are here to make your dream turn into reality without any head ache as we take care of all
troublesome matters for you.
TOPIC-6.SQUARE FEET COST OF CONSTRUCTION
Lot of people think that there is a uniform square feet cost of construction wherever you build
house and whatever may be site conditions or work involved. They think just by knowing possible
square feet area of house to be built cost can be predicted
Without any data, without studying site conditions, without at least a Basic Plan, how anyone can
simply predict cost of the building?
Constructing a house is not like going and buying something from the market. Even in such a case
you cannot tell what will be the cost of 1 Kg rice after a year. Even if you start construction
immediately, it may take about a year or more for the building to get completed
If someone has told you that there is a fixed square feet cost of construction anywhere in Kerala,
you have to understand that it is a lie.
Even flat sellers who have every parameters of building in their choice and discretion keep
increasing price from beginning to completion stage gradually.
Term square feet cost is coined by nonprofessional contractors simply to get unsuspecting client to
start work with them .After the client starts with them they know how to get increases and
revisions in cost and by the time project reaches finishing stage, client will be simply anxious to
complete the work and at that time he might have become wiser to know that the so called square
feet cost has no meaning. I have built more than 200 houses directly in Kerala and designed much
more. Each of these houses when completed have different square feet cost. So I simply do not
understand the meaning of this ridiculous prediction of cost.
After the plan is finalised a professional agency can prepare an engineering estimate for structural
work and after the structure is completed an estimate for balance work can be prepared
These are more reliable cost indicators as costing is done using Engineering methods.
To tell possible cost of construction, my knowledge in architecture, engineering and Vasthu will not

be enough. I also will have to study Astrology.


To tell you frankly, one should start construction of house the moment you feel the need for a
house in Kerala without waiting for someone to tell a lie about how much it will cost simply to
make you happy.
As cost is going up every day when you postpone construction, your dream of a house may fly
away from you as tomorrow will be too late for you to afford..