Sunday, January 24, 2010

How to select contractor to build your house

I keep getting mails asking me to tell square feet cost for house to be built without even a plan.If I say a low square feet cost of construction without even seeing the site,without even drawing a plan,I will get the contract straight away.Potential client will say-“Your rate is low as I made enquiries with many contractors who build houses.In addition,you are an Engineer also”

But I never do this and many people get angry with me for not telling a square feet cost for house to be built.Some people will simply say that he/she want house to be built within so many lakhs of rupees but at the same time demanding all sorts of facilities and rooms for the house.Contractor should build house with all these facilities and the cost should not exceed a pre fixed amount!

Again I do not say yes to such people.But the real fact is that almost all the non professional contractors simply quote low square feet cost or agree to build house within  any amount fixed by the client knowing very well that after commencement of work he can manage the house owner and make him pay more than the initial cost indication or rate fixed.

Once a Mumbai based lady wrote to me  asking me whether I can build a four bed room two story house with large rooms and other facilities with Rs.18 lakhs.She said she is a senior financial consultant of a reputed firm.I said it is impossible to meet her demands with Rs.18 lakhs.She angrily replied to me-“You talk as if Rs.18 lakhs is nothing.Do you know who I am.I am a finance expert”Then she asked me to tell square feet cost for house to be built by her somewhere near Kottayam or exact amount for building house as explained by her.I said cost can be calculated only after a site visit for understanding site conditions and after preparing a plan.Even cost thus calculated cannot anticipate or take into account possible changes in input cost of materials and labour which again in Kerala conditions can only go up.So without any data and plan of the house to be built only an astrologer can predict cost of house to be built by her which may get completed after one  year or more .She naturally got real angry and wrote me a stinker.

In the case of house construction in Kerala it will be good if you can start house construction activities as early as possible if you have any intention to build your house as tomorrow  will be too late as you may not be able to afford to build the house at increased cost.

Contractors may simply quote what you want-a low square feet cost just to make you start work with him knowing very well that after commencement you do not  have much option other than holding on to him even if it means  paying even double the rate he originally agreed for.So my advice to you is never to go to some one who quote low square feet cost.Try to understand more about his method of working,how reliable he is.Try to see some of the houses he has built.Talk to his earlier clients.Check how good he is technically and how good he is in giving quality work and then allow him to have reasonable profit if he does a good work ,technically sound and quality conscious.

Always have a qualified Architect or Structural consultant even though contractor will persuade you not to have such”unnecessary people who will simply eat your money”Your contractor if not technically qualified may not know anything about architecture or structural engineering.Do not listen to his words and always get professional design and guidance thus being pound wise and penny foolish instead of the other way around.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Your dream house in Kerala-Complete service package

If you are a non resident 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 come.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.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Low cost house construction

Every person trying to build a house would like to build the house at lower cost.But most of them are not willing to do something for cost reduction by following advice of an Architect/Engineer to reduce cost of construction.They want the builder to reduce cost as if the builder is operating with huge profits.Probably a builder of villas and apartments building for sale may be operating at high margin.But small time builders who construct individual houses at practically actual cost basis with very little margins to operate can bring down cost of construction only by compromising on quality of construction.
If you really want your house construction to cost less due to lack of funds,let us see how you can get these cost reductions.
1.A professional plan of the house with maximum utilisation of space and no wastage of space with considerations of structural engineering to reduce structural cost-This is where your major cost reduction come from.Probably you may have to pay more for a professional design of the house.But you save much more in cost of construction.
2.Foundation rubble work-You can go for dry pack rubble foundation to be specifically designed by a Structural Engineer to suit soil conditions rather than simply following costly methods generally adopted by others in your locality.
In stable soil conditions you do not require  plain concrete below rubble foundation.Also you will not require a foundation beam(usually called as belt) above rubble foundation,if you do rubble foundation well packed with forced filling of cavities inside dry packed foundation.
3.Brick work-using usual brick can be costly as each brick may cost about Rs.4-6 depending upon locality.Laterite stone can create problems due to pests in later years.You can go for solid block brick work which will be less costly.
4.Door and window frames-If you use wood,cost can go up.Try to use good quality concrete door and window frames.Cost will come down.
5.Filler slab concrete-Your structural consultant will tell you how to use large clay tiles inside concrete to reduce cost of steel and concrete.Concrete roof  cost will come down.
6.Use manufactured sand instead of river sand for all work except plastering.
7.Use clay tiles for flooring at least for bed rooms where more than 50% area is covered with furniture.At about Rs.15/- per sft it can bring down cost of your building.
8.Electrical and Plumbing work cost can come down if you simply let your Architect guide your Electrician/Plumber.
If I tell all tricks of cost reduction here itself,people may not come for consultation to me.More ways and methods can be told against specific cases as each house construction may require different methods for cost reduction.
You can reduce the cost of construction if you tell your Architect in advance about your financial constraints .All that people ask for is lower square feet  cost of construction without any compromise on controlling cost of inputs as if contractor is simply going to build your house at a loss.
When the contractor get to know that he may incur losses doing your work,he will find one or other excuse to get out of your work as he need profit to survive.