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Thursday, April 11, 2013

10 Steps to Own your House! (Step 5 & 6)

STEP 5 - Getting the Building Permit

Now is the time to fine-tune the design of your home according to building regulations and submit plans for detailed approval to the Local Administrative Body.

If there are no objections to your scheme, this process should take anywhere between 1 day or a couple of weeks. Please check the official procedure beforehand, to avoid last-minute inconveniences.
If you have already appointed an architect or a building contractor, he/she will be able to instruct you on how to go about with getting the Building Permit Approved.

You can also find National and Regional Building Code Books in leading Bookstores in your locality.

STEP 6 - Laying the foundation of your house

Once you have assessed the site for the quality of ground conditions, you will need to think about the type of foundations you are going to have. The traditional method is the trench fill system. It is well worth consulting a structural engineer who will advise on site-specific solutions.

If you are engaging a local builder then chances are that you will be building in a traditional form of construction, with blockwork.
There is range of different options available- offering larger formats and faster build times as well as more unconventional systems like stabilized building blocks or aerocon blocks.
Take a look at the local area to decide which is most acceptable and then talk to a range of suppliers to see what's available and at what cost.

<<Previous   (To be continued...)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

10 Steps to Own your House! (Step 3 & 4)

Now that you have 1) Raised the funds and 2) Procured the land for construction, let us proceed to the next two steps in getting closer to the Realization of your Dream home.

STEP 3 - Preparing the Design

Once you have found an appropriate site, you will need to consider what type of house you wish to build. Talk to the Engineering Division of your Local Governing Body about site restrictions, look at neighbouring properties, use Home and Interior Design magazines for inspiration; because getting inspiration is important to maintain the enthusiasm of construction.

Ultimately, you will need to employ an architect or home designer to come up with a workable design - that is also tailored to your budget.
An alternative to an individual designer is the package supplier who offers project management services all the way upto offering a full 'turnkey' service - i.e. you sign off the whole project to the company that designs and executes the project. All you have to do is to turn up to move in after the construction period.

This service, although is more expensive, will relieve you of the nitty-gritty of construction. But, be sure to verify that the Company is reputed and will be using quality materials for construction. This can be assured by mentioning the specifications of materials including sizes and brand names, in the contract document.

STEP 4 - Appointing a Contractor

Hiring the Right Contractor is one of the most important things at the start of your House Construction. However good your design and technical consultants are, if the contractor turns out to be incompetent, it will lead you to great frustration and financial loss.

On the other hand, even if you don't have proper drawings or schedule made, a good contractor can build your home without a glitch. The only way to find the best suited contractor for your residence is reference. Find at least 3 home-owners who had previously employed the contractor's services, sit down with them for a talk and inspect the finished houses. If the contractor cannot give you good references, or if he says that the reference is not available, travelling abroad, or seriously ill, it could be risky to take your chances with him.

If you are employing a local builder or even doing the construction yourself - your next step would be to set up an account with the building material suppliers in your area. This will enable you to get 'trade' rates and ensure a steady flow of materials to your site. Make a list of materials, equipments and labour that you may need and contact the local suppliers and agencies for the best bargain.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

10 Steps to Own your House! (Step 1 & 2) breaks down the entire process of House Construction in Kerala to 10 steps and gives you an idea on what to expect at various stages of home construction to prioritize your time and effort more effectively.

STEP 1 - Raising the funds

The idea of building your own home can be an overwhelming one, but the processes involved in getting started are similar to buying a house on the normal property market.

First, you need to establish your financial situation and how much of your own - and a lender's! - money you will be able to spend. You will need to pay for the building plot and also the costs of the building project, and the two should come to at least 10% less than the final value of the finished property.
Chances are that most of the money will be coming from a bank or a home-loan finance institution so a good start would be to visit a few of the various home-loan agencies and Banks, particularly those that finance property in your region.

You will be required to furnish details of your income, and the estimated cost of construction. Each financial institution has its own set of rules and documents to be submitted to be eligible for a home loan.

STEP 2 - Procuring the Land

Once you have established the level of funding, you need to overcome the biggest hurdle facing most home-builders - finding a building plot.

You should only consider purchasing land that has been earmarked for residential development or with the appropriate zonal exemption.

Details about Zoning and Zonal Exemption can be obtained from your Local Administrative Office.
You can search for plots in the same way that you would look for a house. It is quicker and easier to use the services of Real Estate Agents, if you are willing to pay their Fee or Commissions.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Quartz Slab ('Vellaramkallu') for Flooring

Quartz stones are generally called as 'Vellaramkallu' in Kerala. It has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs Scale; which makes it scratch resistant even against steel knives or forks which are only 5 on the Mohs Scale. Quartz Slabs are made by heavy duty compression of powdered quartz stones mixed with synthetic adhesives- a technology developed and patented by Italian Stone Processing Equipment Manufacturing Giant- 'Breton'.

Breton, a privately held company of Treviso Italy, is the dominant supplier of equipment for making engineered stone. A mixture of 93% quartz and 7% polyester resin is pressed into slabs (or larger blocks) using Breton's "vibrocompression vacuum process". Although Breton was the original manufacturer of slab moulding equipment, there are now several other companies producing similar machinery. The Chinese company Keda Stone Machinery being one of the largest.
Quartz Slabs can be used as a Flooring material that is resistant to mild acids or stains. The price is about Rs.600 per squarefeet.Apart from Italian Quartz slabs, Slightly inexpensive varieties of Chinese Quartz Slabs are also available in the Kerala market. Highly Stain-resistant, Scratch-resistant and Natural Stark white flooring slabs- This is what Quartz Slabs are.

Composition- Quartz is the major filler, although other material like coloured glass, shells, metals, or mirrors might be added. A typical material will consist of 93% quartz by weight and 7% resin. Different types of resins are used by different manufacturers. Epoxy and polyester resin are the most common types. Chemicals such as UV absorbers and stabilizers are added. To aid curing, peroxide is added.

The material is produced in either 12 mm, 20 mm or 30 mm thicknesses. The most common slab format is 3040 mm x 1440 mm, but other sizes like 3040 mm x 1650 mm are produced according to market demand.
In Kerala, Quartz Slabs are imported by - 'Granite International' in Kochi. It has passed the US NSF-51 Standard Certification for Food Protection and Sanitary Requirement which makes it safe for use as Kitchen Counters or in Food Industries.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Showcase Design in Living Rooms

A showcase, by definition, is a glassed-in cabinet or display case for displaying delicate or valuable articles such as objects of art, trophies or memorabilia. In Kerala House Design, built-in showcases are often provided in the living room.

Following are the benefits of having a showcase-
1. An aesthetic showcase design will make an instant impression on guests giving an extra edge over the room decor.
2. Mementoes, awards, family heirlooms, curios and other memorabilia can be displayed on the showcases.
3. They are also ideal as bookshelves.

4. Antique showpieces, dinner sets, crockery etc. can also be kept in the showcase units.
5. They can also serve to protect the showpieces from dust and breakage.
6. An antique wooden showcase design is a catchy showpiece in itself.

7. There are also those that can accommodate television screens or home theatre systems as well.
8. Closed drawers and cabinets can be used to store stuffs away from the sight.


Showcase Design Types
Depending on the aesthetics of your living room, you can opt for the type of showcase display unit to be put up.

Wooden Units
Most classic type of showcase design can be opted for when you want to give the antique rich look to your display unit.
There are many variants available to suit your preference and budget.

Some of the wood types are - teak, mahogany, rosewood etc.
The look of the wood can be modified by using different colors.
The texture and granularity of the wood is also different
They are typically open showcase type, preferred to be made without doors.

Metal Units
Metal showcases typically possess metal shelving framework with glass doors for an enhanced display.
Durability is another important feature.
The glossy steely finish enhances the look of the unit.

Ferrocement Units
Ferrocement units are economical and easy to build during construction. Typically, a steel mesh is kept in place and wrapped with a layer of concrete 3-5 cms thick. Veneer, metallic or paint finishes can be providedto improve the aesthetics of ferrocement showcases.

Open Display Units
They are semi-sized units which are left uncovered with doors.
They are also ideal for showpieces, cases or small potted plants.

With the perfect choice of the showcase design, you can make the best impression on the living room decor adding to the elegance and comfort along with functionality.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Photographs of Kerala Houses and Interiors

There is nothing more inspiring and educating for a new Home Builder than actual photographs of constructed houses and furnished interiors.

Given below are links to actual Photographs of Houses submitted by Home Owners in Kerala-

Links to Interior Photographs of Houses in Kerala-

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pergola in Kerala House Design

In simple terms, a 'Pergola' is a series of cross-beams placed over columns. It is an aesthetic feature, as well as provides a certain amount of shade below it. In Modern Kerala House Design, we see many balconies and porches covered with a pergola over it as an interesting elevational feature.

'Pergola' is an Italian word that means- 'extended roof'. In olden days, they were used as garden shades and covered with climbing plants, espectially over walkways in parks. Here is a picture of a Park walkway covered with Bougainvillea-

Kerala homes use Pergolas mainly in the balconies and also over internal courtyards. Unlike roofs, Pergolas do not offer protection from rain. Hence, when they are used above interiors, a tempered glass or polycarbonate sheet is provided over it to prevent water from entering inside.

Although they do not offer rain-protection, Pergolas can be used to provide varying degrees of shade below it. 90% of the sun's rays pass through at noon-time, but when the sun is at an angle, the series of beams create shade patterns that block the sun. Pergolas are an excellent feature for roof gardens. Potted plants and lamps can be hooked over it; and garden vines can be grown over it. It offers the much needed sunlight for the garden.

In Nadumuttoms, the Pergolas provided above the courtyard create dramatic shade patterns. Free-standing pergolas can also be provided in the frontyard as a garden feature or a gazebo. It can also be used above Padippura gateways.