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

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