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Kerala Building Rules: Floor Area and Luxury Tax

According to Kerala Building Rules, the Area of Residences shall be calculated as follows (excerpts from KMBR 1999) -


'Carpet Area' means the usable floor area excluding the area of staircases, lift wells, escalators, ducts, toilets, air condition plant room and electrical room.
[Note:- For calculating carpet area, twenty percent of the floor area shall be deducted from the total floor area in each floor;]

'Plinth' means the portion of a structure between the surface of the surrounding ground and surface of the floor, first above the ground;

'Plinth Area' means area of the building at the plinth level, does not include the area of open porch [(not enclosed by wall)] uncovered staircase and the like;

'Floor Area' means the built up area of a building at any floor level;
'Floor Area Ratio (F.A.R.)' means the quotient obtained by dividing the total floor area on all floors by the area of the plot;

Parts to be included for calculating Floor Area:
In the calculation of floor area of buildings the following shall be taken into account, namely:-

(a) General:
(i) the total floor area of building shall be the sum total of floor areas at every floor including basement, if any;

(ii) the internal sanitary shafts, air conditioning ducts and lifts shall be included in all the floor levels;

(iii) the area of 'Barsati' or penthouse at terrace floor level shall be included in the floor area; and

(iv) towers, turrets, domes, etc., projecting above the terrace shall not be included in the floor area at the terrace level.
(b) Floor Area of Ground Floor:

(i) the floor area of ground floor shall be calculated at the plinth level excluding the plinth offsets ( if the offset does not exceed 5cm);
(ii) in cases where the building consists of columns projecting beyond cladding, the floor area shall be taken up to the external face of the cladding and shall not include the projections of columns;

(c) Floor Area of Upper Floor:

(i) The floor area of upper floors shall be calculated at the relevant floor levels, architectural bands, cornices, etc., shall not be included in the floor area, vertical sunbreakers or box louvers also shall not be included; and

(ii) in the case of verandahs and balconies with at least one of its sides open (other than parapets) to exterior or interior open spaces, only 50% of the area shall be taken into account for calculation of floor area.

(d) Floor Area of Galleries, Mezzanine Floor and Lofts:

(i) area of galleries i.e., upper floor of seats in an assemby hall, auditorium etc., shall be fully included in the floor area;

(ii) area of mezzanine floors shall be included in the floor area; and

(iii) the area of loft shall not be included.

Luxury Tax for Residences in Kerala:

Under the Kerala Building Tax Act, 1975 (KBT Act), luxury tax at the rate of Rs. 2,000 per annum is leviable on all residential buildings having plinth area of 278.7 sqm (Approx. 3000 sqft) or more and completed on or after 1 April 1999. The tax shall be paid in advance on or before 31 March every year.

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ASKIN- Architect Shahdad Karim INdia

Kitchen Countertops

Two decades ago, choosing a countertop was not at all difficult. You chose from less than twenty variations on color of plastic laminate. It was simple. Today the interest and desire of consumers to have a more practical style of countertop has revolutionized the market. Countertops are no longer merely a work surface, but a key element in the design and luxury of your home.Around the world, manufacturers now offer numerous different styles, color schemes, and materials to match any desire of the consumer.

The kitchen is the focal point of any home. Now you have the means to construct the perfect look.When limited to only a few choices, making a decision was quite easy. When choosing from possibly hundreds of styles, you may become overwhelmed. You may discover the decision to be quite difficult. In this case, here is a descriptive list of products to aid in your decisions toward a perfect kitchen.

Plastic Laminate (Formica):

Plastic lamination was the beginning of modernized kitchen. This particular material is by far the most inexpensive and is available in almost all colors and textures. There are four major manufacturers of plastic laminate- Wilsonart, Formica, Nevamar, and Pionite. Each offers hundreds of styles. For an extra amount of cash, you can have your plastic laminate customized. This means matching your own color, texture, and style. One of the pros of this material is that it is very easy to clean, but the con is that cuts or scratches are difficult to repair.

Tip: If you plan to match your countertop and backsplash, inform your installer when ordering so he has enough material and possibly gives you a discount.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile:

If you are trying to create an artistic or specific look in your kitchen, ceramic and porcelain tile is the key. You can accomplish looks from contemporary to retro when working with these materials. If you are unsure of the design and style wanted, most stores will have showrooms to help you choose. Rustic, timeworn, and stone style surfaces are a current trend. If selecting from one of these looks, it is a good idea to ask the designer or salesperson to see several pieces of tile from the same lot. This will allow you to compare color variations from piece to piece.Porcelain tiles may be a bit more expensive, but the material will handle wear and tear well without losing its ceramic style.

Porcelain is the hardest fired product you can find.A con to installing porcelain tiles is grout lines. It seems no one invests the proper time and energy intended to keep grout clean. Grout requires routine cleaning and care, but is very easy to clean.
Corian and Solid Surfacing:

Corian is known as a solid surfacing material. It will be made from a pure acrylic product or a polyester-acrylic mix. Although there are some solid colored materials, most have a real stone texture produced by small flecks. The real stone texture is more expensive. The pro of the solid material is that the surface is scratch resistant. If you do get a scratch it can be sanded out. Deep scratches will require replacement of the damaged piece.

Concrete Slab:

Concrete is a very old material that is a new trend. It may be purchased in pre-formed sections or poured and formed on-site. Having the concrete poured and formed on-site is appropriate for unusually shaped counters. Although concrete is an old material it has an unusually high price. Because it is susceptible to cracking and its constructive look, consumers are weary about using the product indoors. On the plus side, concrete can be stained to match any color desired.


Granite is a timeless countertop surface. Not only does the product stand the test of time, granite slabs greatly increase the value of your home. Therefore, granite is the most expensive of all countertop types. The type, quality, and availability of the material, as well as the edge finish will all affect the price you are going to pay. A popular edge finish is a 1-1/2 inch bull nose, but find out from your fabricator when pricing the material to find out the style of edge included. Granite is a very practical material due to the near impossibility of damaging the surface stone.
If the price is just too extreme, but you can't resist the look and style, look into granite tiles. A 12-inch square tile contributes identical resistance to that of solid slab. You can also reduce the size of grout by butt-jointing the tiles. Also, you can achieve the same basic look and style of solid granite by combining dark colored granite with dark colored grout.

Composite Stone:

Now, composite stone material is the granite rival. The stone is a synthetic composite made from 90% quartz particles and 10% acrylic or epoxy binder. It is even difficult to decipher between the looks of real stone, composite, and granite. Because the composites are man-made, there is no chance of variation as in granite or marble. Therefore the material does not need to be sealed.

Using the same process- Silestone, Okite, CaesarStone, and Dupont's Zodiaq are the major manufacturers. The only difference among these companies are the variations in color and texture. Together they offer over 130 countertops, all of which are scratch resistant. They can stain if not cleaned properly.

Butcher Block:

Ordinarily comprised from rock maple, it can also be made from oak and cherry or mixed and exotic species. Although the surface it explicit for cutting and chopping, knife marks will show and the surface is also prone to water damages.

Tip: If placing the butcher block by a sink, apply several coats of sealant.

Stainless Steel:

For a professional style or restaurant appearance, steel is perfect. The stainless steel is an alloy containing minute amounts of chromium for its rust resistant surface. Because of its thinness, it is attached to plywood, which provides strength, and helps mute the sound. The pros of steel are that it is stainless, heat resistant, and easily cleaned.
The cons may be far and beyond for some. Fabrication is extremely costly and difficult. It shows scratches, fingerprints, dents, and can be rather noisy work surface. Also, if you tire of the look and style in the future, it is quite difficult to change or replace.

Soapstone (Steatite):

Historically, soapstone was used in kitchen sinks. Generally it is a dark gray color, smooth to the touch, and respectively stain and burn resistant. It does however need to be treated on a regular basis with mineral oil.

Trendy Countertops

Designers and dealers get together yearly to discuss upcoming trends and exciting new ideas in home decorating. New and extravagant ideas have arisen in the kitchen. High tech laminates, stainless steel, and the mixing of all of the above materials for an artistic and personal design are among the many new ideas. Yet, the latest in cutting-edge technology is cement.
Integrated drain boards and hydraulic lifts that let you access variations in height are helping designed countertops to be as functional and practical as ever. "Surface energy" is the combination of several countertops and a variety of styles and materials. Surface energy has prevented high functionality in the past, but today design pros are embracing new ways to cope.

A Bit of Last Minute Advice

In the end, you want to choose a countertop material that suits you and your home. Remember that none of the materials are trouble-free. Scratching and periodic resealing will apply to certain materials. All of them will stain if not properly cared for. The only material that does not stain is stainless steel, but it does scratch and the look isn't for everyone. Tile and granite should be tested out before installing.

Certain tile may dull when in contact with vinegar or other foods and chemicals. Test the surface before choosing a specific design. Granite can also contain irregularities. Although they are not noticeable on a 4x4 inch sample, it is best to meet the fabricator upon purchasing and choose the slab yourself.


A backsplash can include wall, sink, and prep area protection which makes the surfaces easy to clean. Once you have chosen a countertop, you will want to decide on the desired look of your backsplash. The overall look of your kitchen can be enhanced by a creative backsplash.

Here is information on some popular backsplash materials and their cost and installation.


If you want versatility, ceramic is the way to go. Its shape, size, and color are among the greatest offers of all backsplash materials. Some different possibilities with ceramic include- a matte finish, a glossy finish, raised edges, textured areas for dimension, ability to rotate tiles, combining different shapes and sizes, and accenting. All of these possibilities can really accent your kitchen.

Stone Tile (Granite and Marble): Granite and marble tiles come in multiple colors and textures. A new trend is tumbled marble in 4-inch squares. Because of abrasion and acid wash, it has a pitted surface area with softened colors.

Solid Surfacing:

Solid surfacing can be costly due to the amount of wasted material upon installation. If you chose a solid surface countertop for your kitchen you can ask the fabricator if there are enough materials left over to make a backsplash. This way the fabricator does not have to waste left over and you just may get a backsplash for free.

Metal and Metal Laminates:
Fabricators can create a backsplash from any sheet metal. This includes copper, steel, zinc, brass, and nickel. Surface textures include hammered, ribbed, and quilted. The problem with metal laminates is finding a fabricator that specializes in sheetmetal backsplashes.

Make a Splash

Picture the area around and above your countertop as a blank canvas. You or your designer can choose from endless textures and materials that will artistically define your kitchen. Glass, hand-painted porcelain, luxury tiles, gleaming metal, risen dimensional, and natural stones are among the possibilities. Mix, match, and accent away.

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Where to put your Washing machine

"Where can I put my Washing Machine?" is a very common question that every Homebuilder asks his Architect.

Traditionally, Kerala homes had designated washing areas- a large bathroom attached to the well, with the large washing stone. The sound of clothes lashed on the stone has now been replaced by the rumble of the Washing Machine's motor. Although most new homes just have a convenient niche for the Washing Machine, the concept of a Full-fledged laundry room- with washing, drying and folding done there, is gaining popularity.

Here are some practical ideas to keep your laundry area efficient:
  • Avoid placing the washing machine in a high traffic area such as the kitchen or garage.
  • Avoid combining the laundry room with another room. For example, do not combine the laundry and a children's study room in one area.
  • The master bedroom should never have the washing machine in it. It will not be calm and peaceful if you have to look at dirty clothes every time you go to bed.

  • Place the washing machine as close as possible to the largest source of dirty laundry. The most household laundry normally comes from the bedrooms where, of course, the clothes are kept and changed.
  • Add a cupboard or shelf over the washing machine to allow for storage of laundry supplies - and detergents.
  • Always install shutoff valves at your machine's water supply in case of leaks or the need to move the machines for repair. Do not give a direct connection from the plumbing, without valves.
  • Leave extra space in the area where the machines are installed. Do not create a custom size space that is only suited for a specific model of washing machine because someday if the machines need to be replaced you may not find a model with the same measurements, or you may need a larger one.
  • If you have a separate Laundry Room, you can even opt to add insulation to the wall and floor area of the laundry room to lower the noise level.
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'Green Home' Checklist

Since green building is still a relatively new process, it's a good idea to research green building on your own so you know what to look for when choosing your site, home plan, builder and sustainable products.

Here is a checklist of things to consider when building a green home:

• Location: New green homes and neighborhoods must not be built on environmentally sensitive sites like prime farmland, wetlands and endangered species habitats. The greenest development sites are "in-fill" properties like former parking lots, rail yards, shopping malls and factories. Be sure to study your property carefully so you can put the sun to work for you and your home. When it comes to clearing your lot, take down only the necessary trees and bushes. The trees you leave behind will act as a shade barrier in the summer months and wind barrier in the colder months.

• Size: No matter how many green building elements go into your home, a 5,000-square-foot green home still consumes many more natural resources than a 2,000-square-foot green home. The larger home will also require more heating, air conditioning and lighting. If you really want a sustainable home, choose a smaller size.

• Building Design: The home should be oriented on its site to bring abundant natural daylight into the interior to reduce lighting requirements and to take advantage of any prevailing breezes. Windows, clerestories, skylights, light monitors, light shelves and other strategies should be used to bring daylight to the interior of the house. The exterior should have shading devices (sunshades, canopies, green screens and — best of all — trees), particularly on the southern and western facades and over windows and doors, to block hot summer sun. Dual-glaze windows reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss during cold winter months. The roof should be a light-colored, heat-reflecting Energy Star roof, or a green (landscaped) roof, to reduce heat absorption.

• Green Building Materials: A green home will have been constructed with healthy, non-toxic building materials and furnishings, like low- and zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and sealants and non-toxic materials like strawboard for the sub-flooring. Wood-based features should come from rapidly renewable sources like bamboo. A green home uses salvaged materials like kitchen tiles and materials with significant recycled content.

• Insulation: A non-toxic insulation, derived from materials like soybean or cotton, with a high R (heat resistance) factor in a home's walls and roof will help prevent cool air leakage in the summer and warm air leakage in the winter.

• Windows and Doors: Windows and exterior doors should seal their openings tightly to avoid heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter.

• Energy Efficiency: A green home has energy-efficient lighting, heating, cooling and water-heating systems.

• Renewable Energy: The home should generate some of its own energy with technologies like photovoltaic systems.

• Water Efficiency: A green home has a water-conserving irrigation system and water-efficient kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Look for a rainwater collection and storage system, particularly in drier regions where water is increasingly scarce and expensive.

• Indoor Environmental Quality: Natural daylight should reach at least 75% of the home's interior. Natural ventilation (via home orientation, operable windows, fans, wind chimneys and other strategies) should bring plentiful fresh air inside the house. The HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system should filter all incoming air and vent stale air outside. The garage should not have any air handling equipment or return ducts, and it should have an exhaust fan.

• Landscaping: Vine-covered green screens, large canopy trees and other landscaping should shade exterior walls, the driveway, patios and other "hardscape" to minimize heat islands. Yards should be landscaped with drought-tolerant plants rather than water-guzzling plants and grass in most regions.

Building a 'Green Home' in Kerala

The Benefits of Building Green

As consumers continue to learn more and more about green building, architects, designers and builders are starting to incorporate more green features into their new homes. Thanks to new technology and products, consumers can build their dream home without sacrificing aesthetics. Even though everyone in the home building industry is buzzing about the term 'green' building, many consumers are still confused as to exactly what it means to build a green home. Some of the benefits to building green are living in a healthier, more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly home.

A Healthier Home

Green homes' use of toxin-free building materials helps combat indoor air pollution, which can be much worse than outdoor pollution. Unhealthy air inside can pose serious health risks for residents, including cancer and respiratory ailments like asthma. Such non-toxic materials include wheat-derived strawboard, natural linoleum made from jute and linseed oil, paints with little or no volatile organic compounds and toxin-free insulation made from soybeans, recycled paper or even old denim.

Green homes have far fewer problems with mold or mildew.

Natural ventilation in green homes, as well as use of mechanical ventilation systems to filter and bring fresh air inside and vent stale air outside, keep residents breathing easy.

A Cost-Efficient Home

The net cost of owning a green home is comparable to — or even cheaper than — owning a standard home. If upfront costs are higher, it is often because many architects, homebuilders, engineers, plumbers and other industry professionals just don't have the knowledge and experience to cost-effectively plan, design and build a green home. Finding a professional familiar with green-building techniques will save you money and ensure you're getting the best-quality work possible. Examples in Kerala are- Habitat Technology Group, Costford (Laurie Baker), Nirmiti Kendra etc.

Month to month, people who live in green homes save money by consuming 40% less energy and 50% less water than standard homes. Over the years, that adds up to big savings.

A green home is more durable than most standard homes because of its high-quality building materials and construction processes, requiring fewer repairs.

The value of a green home is typically higher than that of a comparable standard home, and the market demand for green homes continues to rise.

An Environmentally Friendly Home

Residential cooling and heating alone make up 10% of the Global energy use. Throw in household lighting, appliances and other electronic equipment, and homes are clearly a major source of energy consumption. Green homes use 40% less energy than comparable standard homes.

Some green homes further reduce our dependence on conventional energy sources as they generate some or all of their energy needs through alternative energy sources like the sun, wind, geothermal energy and biomass.

Efficient plumbing and bathing fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping and water-conserving irrigation systems help green homes use, on average, 50% less water than standard homes.

Far fewer natural resources are used in the construction of a green home. Many green building materials have significant recycled content. Some companies, for example, now make carpets and floor tiles from recycled tires and bottles. Green homes can also be constructed with salvaged materials from demolished buildings. Green homes use materials made from rapidly renewable materials, like bamboo, hemp, agrifibers and soybean-based products. And the use of wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council helps promote socially and environmentally beneficial forestry practices.

Building a standard 2,500-square-foot home creates approximately 2 tons of construction waste that ends up in landfills. Construction of a green home, however, generates 50% to 90% less waste. Click here for the Green Home Checklist>>

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Home-Lighting in Kerala

Lighting is one of the most overlooked aspects in home construction today, primarily because there is a perception that good lighting or custom lighting is expensive. Budgets are getting squeezed and homeowners prefer spending on things they think give a bigger "impact". And, people often go to great lengths to maximize windows and natural light, all very important considerations, but forget that a large amount of their leisure time is spent in the evenings, after dark, when relying on the artificial lighting in your home.

Our goal here is help you make the most intelligent lighting choices, choices that will leverage your substantial investment in that new home, creating a special environment that is comfortable, relaxing and accentuates the beautiful architecture that you are creating. A house plan that you purchase will have a basic layout that shows wall outlets and some ceiling lights and fans — a useful guide for budgeting and planning but this needs to be amplified by your conceptualizing your use of each space or room, and the furnishing layout you are planning. If you can fit it in your budget, an interior decorator at a local home furnishing or lighting store might be able to help you sketch out a more detailed lighting plan.

Types Of Lighting

General Lighting

Ceiling fixtures, chandeliers and wall sconces are used to illuminate the way for movement throughout the home. Recessed can lights often are used to light hallways, stairs and circulation areas and do a good job of lighting the floor. However, a softer and more pleasant effect can be had by using indirect lighting such as wall washers that do double the duty of highlighting your artwork and, at the same time, provide attractive general lighting.

Try to anticipate where you will be hanging artwork — blank wall spaces — and place recessed can lights that are designed to wash that wall with light. Another way to soften your illumination is to bounce light off the ceiling through the use of indirect cove light and wall sconces. Wall sconces are easy to do almost anywhere but cove lighting often requires changes to the architecture and may be more applicable to high ceiling areas.

Task Lighting

Kitchen counters and other work surfaces such as home offices and workshop areas require a higher level of illumination, usually provided by recessed cans, track lighting, ceiling pendants and, in offices, table, desk, or floor lamps. The key here is to provide light that is bright enough but free from shadows. Particularly in kitchens, it is better have more fixtures, spaced closer together, using a lower wattage such as 50 watt, par 20 halogen can lights. Remember that it is the counter you want lit, not the floor in front or the top of your head, so consider lining up your can lights on the front edge of the counter.

Mood or Accent Lighting

Lighting which is installed primarily for atmosphere such as lamps, ceiling chandeliers, specialty hi-hats and landscape lights fall into this category, as do most ceiling fans with lights. Art niches are popular and require lighting that is focused on them. Dimmers can also be used on general or task lighting to help create mood lighting.

Exterior Lighting

The tendency to focus most of your attention to the inside of your home is common but, particularly in areas where you do a lot of your living outdoors, it is a mistake to forget these areas. Even if your landscaping is staged as a future project, you must think through where you will want lights and plan for adding the appropriate outlets and switches.

Landscape, driveway and pathway lights can also make a huge impact and do not add that much to the budget. Usually these are inexpensive, low voltage, fixtures that require a transformer conveniently located for connection to the house power and access for timers to control the lighting.

New Trends in Lighting

1. The focus is back on brilliant chandeliers in the entry and dining areas. A cozy formality and decorum is once again welcomed into the social spaces of the home. Chandeliers take center stage, carrying the mood of the room.
2. Many are choosing to downsize their homes and then maximize their use of space. Patios, balconies, and decks are serving as additional living/dining areas. Lighting and furniture design elements are being used to create continuity between the indoors and outdoors.

3. Solar powered landscape lighting is seeing more widespread use. As the brightness produced by energy-efficient bulbs improves, these handy outdoor lights will be getting more attention.

4. Color is going natural when it comes to fixtures. The neutrals; beige, ivory, taupe, gray, and white are paired with organic and spice colors. Grays coupled with organic tones deliver the soft, enveloping atmosphere that is the perfect counterpoint to today's busy lifestyle.
5. Everyone is paying attention to kitchen lighting. Since the kitchen has evolved as a social gathering place, multiple layers of function and ambience are necessary. The pendant light trend remains strong. Often set in a row over islands, they are also being used in three-level-closely-clustered formations over a dinette.

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Tips for Home Safety

An accident or injury can occur in any part of your home. Some safety hazards are obvious — such as a toy truck left lying at the top of the stairs. Others are not so easily identified — such as a stairway railing that has become loose.

Create a safer home by taking simple precautions.

Be prepared

Have telephones in easy reach of both your bed and the place you sit most often.
Place emergency phone numbers on or near every phone in your home.
Buy a first-aid kit. Keep one in both your home and your car.

Avoid Fires

Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms throughout the house. Test them periodically to make sure they work. Batteries should be changed at least once a year.
Place fire extinguishers in the kitchen and other rooms. Make sure you know how to use them.
Never smoke in bed.
Turn off appliances when they are not in use.
Run electrical cords along walls, not under rugs.
Don't overload outlets and extension cords.
Never store flammable liquids such as cleaning agents and paint supplies near heating units.
Keep space heaters a safe distance from combustibles. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines.
Have more than one escape route from your home. Practice these routes with your family.

A Recipe for Careful Cooking

Keep flammable objects such as curtains, aprons and dishtowels away from stoves.
Never wear loose clothing near a stovetop while cooking.
Never leave cooking unattended.
Don't cook if you are drowsy.
Heat oil slowly. Heating oil too quickly can easily start a fire. If a pan catches fire, carefully place a lid over the pan and turn off the heat. Leave the lid on until completely cool.
Always clean appliances and surfaces after cooking to prevent grease buildup.
Make sure handles on cookware are secure and always turned toward the center of the stove when cooking.
Use a step stool instead of a chair to climb to a high shelf.
Ensure that all sharp tools such as knives, forks and scissors are kept in a safe place.
Keep glass objects and appliances with sharp blades out of children's reach.
Unplug all appliances when not in use with cords out of children's reach.
Store vitamins, medicine bottles, masalas in high cabinet.
Store matches and lighters in locked cabinet.
Position chairs away from the stove.

Avoid bumps, burns, bruises and falls

Make sure staircases are well lit and have convenient switches and night-lights at the top and bottom.
Securely fasten all carpeting and make sure all throw rugs or area rugs have non-skid backing.
Install rubber mats or safety decals in bathtubs and showers.
Close cabinet doors and drawers when they are not in use.
Keep staircases and hallways free of clutter.
Never go up and down stairs carrying things that could block your vision or put you off balance.

In the Bathroom

Store razor blades, nail-scissors and other sharp tools in locked cabinet. Ensure that electrical outlets have grounded circuit breakers.
Unplug electric razors and hairdryers when not in use.
Get non-skid surface.
Fix electrical switches outside bathroom.
Avoid using immersion heaters.
Keep bottles of mouthwash, hair dyes and hairsprays out of children's reach.

In the Garage

Keep all tools and supplies gardening, automotive and lawn care units in a safe place.
Keep all hazardous automotive and gardening products in a locked cabinet.
Keep bleaching powder, cleaning powder and detergents out of children's reach.

Electrical precautions

Cover unused outlets with safety plugs.
Ensure that all major electrical appliances are grounded.
Ensure that all electrical cords in the house are properly insulated (no broken or exposed wiring).
Check and remove other potential electrical fire hazards such as overloaded electrical sockets and electrical wires.
Position TVs, computers and stereo equipment against walls.

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Kerala Gabled Roof Design



In Kerala, gabled roofs have always been the symbol of a family's stature in society. Even concrete houses with sloping roofs today proudly sport gables.

Ask kindergarten kids to draw a house and most of them are likely to come up with the picture of a triangle atop a simple square. No wonder, because this basic outline has come to symbolise home and its comforts.

The classic gable - or the triangular façade formed by extending the top end of a sloping roof - dates back to ancient Greece and is found in almost every style of architecture, from the colonial to the contemporary.

In ancient Kerala, the gabled roof was the symbol of a family's stature in society, a statement of style. Traditional families vied with one another to adorn their houses with highly ornate wooden gables carved by expert craftsmen. Each region in the erstwhile state of Travancore had its own style of gable.

Diversity in design

In South Travancore belt, the gable was designed as an extension from the top end of a sloping roof. The beak was provided with a carved triangular façade as in the Padmanabhapuram Palace and the numerous Amma Veedus dotting the heritage areas in the city. In the mid-Travancore region, the gable was curved in the shape of a boat. Further to the North, in what is now Ernakulam and Thrissur, it was a projection from the roof, angling upwards. The protruding end of the gable provides protection from rain.

Apart from the aesthetics, the gable on a roof performs a vital function. "If the roof is the face of the house, the gable is the nose. It helps the house breathe by expelling hot air rising from the bottom level and thereby keeps the interiors cool in summer," explains B. Arjunan, director of Arjun and Associates, a Thiruvananthapuram-based firm specialising in Vasthu architecture.

Precision work

In the traditional style, the construction of a gable was based on precise measurements. Proportionality is the key. For houses, the sides of the triangle have to be at an angle of 33 degrees with the base. This is to ensure that the gable does not disturb the overall dimensions and aesthetics of the roof and the building in general. An imperfect gable can spoil the appearance of a house, just as a deformed nose mars the beauty of a face.
Even concrete houses with sloping roofs today proudly sport gables. To ensure that the utility value is maintained, air holes are provided within the triangular face. Designing gables for a multi-level roof is both a challenge and an opportunity for an architect. Multi-tier gables and those facing different directions add to the elegance of a house. Again, proportionality is the key to the beauty of this design layout.

A gable can add about Rs.2000 to the construction cost of a roof. For multi- level gables, the cost can be as high as Rs.25,000. But for an increasingly culture-conscious society, the additional cost involved in adding a gable is more than made up for by the proud statement of tradition.
That is perhaps why the gable has emerged as the most distinguishing feature of Kerala architecture. Most new tourist resorts, houses and commercial buildings are built to flaunt this design aspect.

Builders have bypassed the problem of providing a gabled roof for a house with a flat terrace.
This is made possible by fabricating a metal framework over the terrace to hold tiles or light roofing substitutes like tile-profile sheets. Apart from the enhanced aesthetics offered by the gabled roof, the flat terrace offers another tier of useable space. The steel truss used for fabrication is a better and more cost-effective option than wooden rafters.

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Paint Brands in India


Asian Paints Ltd. was established in 1942. More than half a century down the lane, Asian Paints is India’s largest and Asia’s third largest paint company today.  Asian Paints operates in 22 countries and has 29 paint manufacturing facilities in the  World. Besides Asian Paints, the group operates around the world through its subsidiaries, Berger International Limited, Apco Coatings, SCIB Paints and Taubmans. Asian Paints along with PPG Inc, USA is one of the leading manufacturers of automotive coatings in the world.  Asian Paints Industrial Coatings Limited caters to the Industrial coatings market and has tied-up with Protech Chemicals,  a world leader in powder coatings.

Decorative Paints - Asian Paints India manufactures interior and exterior home paints like distempers, emulsions, metallic finish paints, special rich luster paints, office use paints, premium and tractor emulsions and texture paints.
Exterior Wall Paints - Asian Paints offers a range of emulsion paints for your exterior walls. You can choose from ACE, Apex, Apex Ultima, Apex Duracast and more, based on the specific demand of surface area.
Interior Wall Paints - Asian Paints offers emulsions and distempers like Royale Luxury Emulsion, Asian Paints Interior Walls Finish – Luster Or Matt,  Tractor Emulsion Smooth Wall Finish,  Tractor Acrylic Or Synthetic Distempers,  Utsav Acrylic Distemper. Among these Tractor Acrylic Distemper, with better durability, is one of the best performing distempers .
Designer Finishes -  Asian Paints also has an exclusive product range in special effects finishes. You can check their Royale Play products for more information.
Industrial Paints - Industrial use paints for automobiles, aviation, protective coatings, road markings, floor coatings etc. are also available in Asian Paints.

Asian Paints also have Home Solutions Services (APHS) in select cities like Ahmedabad, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, GurgaonHyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai Noida and Pune.  Home Solutions Toll Free Number: 1800 22 5678 (from MTNL and BSNL lines)

Address of Corporate Office: Asian Paints House, 6 A, Shantinagar, Vakola Pipeline Road, Santacruz (East), Mumbai – 400 055


Berger Paints was the creation of Mr. Lewis Berger, who  in 1760, through his  shades had offered people a chance to transform their homes through the power of imagination. Berger Paints India Limited has been in India since 1923.

Industrial Paints - Berger Paints  manufacture varnishes, dry colours, enamels, pastes, distemper, ships paints, boiler components and various other kinds of Industrial paints.  Some of the brands manufactured are Castle, Parrot, Duroglaze, Murisan, Synthetic, Soligum, Apexior, etc.
Decorative Paints -In Decorative Paints, Berger has paints and paint systems for every application – interior, exterior, concrete, plaster, metal and wood, special kids room décor paints.- as well as special applications like water storage, etc.
Interior Wall Paints - include Luxol Silk Luxury Premium Emulsion, Rangoli Easy Clean Emulsion, Rangoli Super Acrylic Emulsion, Bison Super Emulsion and Bison Acrylic Distemper
Exterior Wall Paints – include Weathercoat Long Life, Smooth 100% Acrylic Emulsion, Weathercoat Textured Exterior Emulsion,  Walmasta Antifungal Exterior Emulsion, Durocem Extra Waterproof Cement Coatings.
Special Surface Paints - include Enamels for Metal Surfaces like Luxol Hi Gloss Synthetic Enamel, Luxol Duroglaze Rich Matt Enamel, Luxol Luster Enamel.
Wood Finish Coatings like Woodkeeper PU Clear and Woodkeeper Melamine.

Services: Berger Paints India has specialized painting services like:
Lewis Berger Home Painting - If you are looking for a painting solution, the experts at Lewis Berger will take care of everything right from the selection of the product to be used, well-trained painters, supervision, and painting materials delivery to clean up process. This service is available in all major cities in India including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
Illusions - You can get designer finishes for your house walls and offices by using the decorative paints service by Berger Paints.
Galaxy – This is a Berger Paints specialty service for kids. You can create a glowing  night sky in the ceiling of your kids’ room by this easy-to-use self-help kit.
Berger Kidz - The popular cartoon network characters of Johnny Bravo, Powerpuff Girls, Dexter etc. can be brought to your kids in their room. Call up Berger Kidz Home Painting Service. SMS “BERGER” to 56767.
An online color visualizer, a painting cost estimator and an online shade card are available at their website.

Address of Head Office: Berger House, 129 Park Street, Kolkata 700017. Ph : +91 33 2229 9724 / 2229 6005 / 06 / 16 Telex : +91 21 6606 / 5791 Fax : +91 33 2249 9009 / 9729. e-mail :


Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) is a major paints, adhesive and specialty products business with products and ingredients developed for a wide range of markets. ICI is present in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas. However, in the beginning of 2008 ICI became a part of Akzo Nobel, the world’s largest coatings manufacturer, the number one in decorative paints and performance coatings, and a leading supplier of specialty chemicals. Visit the Official site of Akzo Nobel at:

ICI Paints, headquartered in UK and manufactured in 24 countries, has some of the world’s top paints and decorative product brands. ICI’s Paints division in India is a susidary of ICI Dulux Institutional, a world leader in paints.  The Indian subsidiary, ICI Dulux India which is popularly know as Dulux Paints India, owes its success to  strong brands such as ICI’s exterior emulsion brands – Weathershield and Supercote and retail brands like Dulux Velvet Touch, Acrylic Emulsion and Gloss. Visit the official site of ICI Dulux Paints at:

Interior Walls and Ceilings - The well-known paints include the much publicized Dulux Velvet Touch Paints, Dulux Supreme 3-in-1, Dulux Acrylic Emulsion, Dulux Satin Finish, Maxilite Distemper, Supercote Interior Emulsion.Special diamond glaze and matt finish paints by Dulux are also gaining popularity.
Exterior Wall Paints – Include Dulux Weathershield Max, Dulux Weathershield Tex (for textured finish),  Supercote, ICI Paints Exterior Acrylic Primer, ICI Pre Treatment Coat.
Designer finishes – Include a new product Duette, a two tone pattern finsh with more than 20 Lakh colour combinations to choose from.
Metal Surfaces Paints – Include ICI Dulux Satin Finish,  Supergloss 5-in-1, ICI Dulux Gloss
Wood Surface Paints - Include ICI Dulux Satin Finish, Supergloss 5-in-1, Dulux Gloss, Dulux Timbertone Melamine, supermatt satin wood paint.
Tiles Protective Coatings – Include Dulux Tileshield.
Other paint products - include endurance paint, floor paints, full cover texture paints, heritage range of paints, lumitec and nature’s touch designs, quick dry gloss finish paints, vinyl silk look and vinyl matt finish paints.
Special kidzone at Dulux Paints caters to the kids room décor paints and themes.

Dulux Paint Studio – Dulux has a Paint Studio in select cities, for Colour consultancy and Painting service, where trained colour consultants will help you choose the right colour combinations with the help of specially designed software and painting experts are available for painting your home.

Address of the Head Office (India): ICI India Limited, Paints Business, DLF Plaza Tower, 10th Floor, DLF Qutab Enclave Phase 1, Gurgaon 122 002, Haryana, India. Tel: +91 124 2540400, Fax: +91 124 2540841


Jotun group, a Norwegian paint manufacturer which is headquartered in Sanderfjord, Norway, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of paints,  Coatings and powder coatings. The group has 71 companies and 40 production facilities on all continents. In addition, Jotun has agents, branch offices and distributors in more than 70 countries.

Jotun Paints inaugurated its first manufacturing facility in India, in April 2008 at Ranjangon in Pune  and will soon set up a manufacturing unit in North India. The manufacturing unit in Pune mainly caters to Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra and will move to the northern markets such as Gujarat, Delhi and Haryana subsequently. Jotun has launched retail outlets in a many towns and cities of India.

Jotun Paints has created highly advanced Marine Coatings,  Protective Coatings, Decorative paints and Powder coatings. The entire range of Jotun Decorative paints includes interior emulsions,exterior wall paints, epoxy and polyurethane systems, alkyd-based enamels for wood, steel and plastered surfaces.

Emulsion Paint: Fenomastic Gold, Fenomastic, Durosan and Jollyfix are emulsion based paints recommended for use on surfaces such as plaster, gypsum board, concrete, asbestos cement panels and rendered blockwork.
Enamel Paint- Gardex and Bengalac are alkyd based enamel paints available in different gloss levels. They are ideal for use on a variety of interior and exterior surfaces.
Textured paint: To create special looks with a blend of texture and colours, you can vary the texture  from fine and medium to heavy and special or  alternate between a coarse or smooth finish, matt or glossy.

The Factory Address: Jotun India Private Ltd, Pune. Tel: +91 02138 671300
Sales office: Jotun India Private Ltd, Mumbai. Tel: +91 22 28224600, +91 22 28205900(+fax)


The history of Nerolac Paints dates back to 1920. Nerolac Paints was established as Gahagan Paints and Varnish Co. Ltd. in Mumbai. In 1933, it was renamed to Goodlass Wall India Ltd. and later became Goodlass Nerolac Paints Pvt. Ltd in 1957. And recently in 2006, it acquired the present name Kansai Nerolac Paints Ltd.

Kansai Nerolac Paints is a subsidiary of Japan based Kansai Paint Company Limited that is one of the top ten coating companies in the world. Nerolac is the second largest in India with a leading position in industrial and automotive paints and also in powder coatings.

Products: The paint products by Nerolac Paints for Home and Office Walls include:

Interior Surfaces Paints that include-
Water Based Emulsions such as Nerolac Impressions – 24 Carat/ Metallic/ Disney, Nerolac Beauty – Premium Acrylic Emulsion/ Silky Smooth/ Smooth Finish
Water based Distempers such as Beauty Premium Acrylic Distemper/ Oil Bound Distemper.
Solvent Based Paints such as Nerolac Pearls Luster Finish / Synthetic Flat Paint Interior.
Enamels such as Nerolac Synthetic, Nerolac Satin, Goody Synthetic, Impressions Hi-Performance

Exterior Surfaces Paints that include -

Emulsions such as Impressions Excel – Anti Peel/ Total, Suraksha Advanced.
Cement Paints such as Nerocem With Titatnium +
Special Paints such as Nerotex Matt Decorative and Protective Exterior Finish, Nerolac Impressions Everlast Self Cleaning with Piolite.
Paints for Wood Surfaces like PU Interior +, Multisealer, Water Clear Lacquer, Wood Stains, NC Sealer/Wood Filler/Thinner.
For Metal Surfaces – Nerolac Impressions Hi – Performance Enamel, Nerolac Satin Enamel, Nerolac Synthetic Enamel.
Industrial paints include automotive, powder, general industrial and high performance coatings.

Online Guide - Nerolac Paints India offers an online guide to painting jobs, a list of the dealers network, a complete shade card citing all the shades and colours available in the paint you want, painting cost calculator, online color visualizer and Vaastu solutions for your house.
Nerolac Assured Paint Service - This is painting services for your home by expert craftsmen of Nerolac. This service is available in select cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, and Kanpur etc.
Nerolac Disney Collection was launched in a tie-up with Walt Disney Company (India). Nerolac gained a lot of popularity in this category targeted specially for kids since the kids room décor is incomplete without their most favorite Disney characters Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto.

Head Office Address: Nerolac House, Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400 013. Tel: 91-22-2493 4001


The company was first founded in Japan as Komyosha in 1881 by brothers Haruta and Jujiro Moteki together with their chief engineer Heikichi Nakagawa. In 1898, Nippon Paint was established as Japan’s first true paint manufacturing company.

Nippon Paint has over 126 years experience in the paint industry. Since its establishment the Nippon Paint group has consistently been a leader in the paints and coatings Industry. After making inroads into Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Nippon Paint also garnered a sizeable share of the decorative  paints market in China. Nippon Paint has operations in Europe and America as well. Now the Nippon Group is  recognized as the leader in Asia.For official website of Nippon Paints visit

Nippon Paint India started its operations from Chennai, in June 2006 and the Decorative paint division has its Office in Chennai. Apart from the  retail chain network Nippon Paints is present in Noida, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Hyderabad through HomeTown hypermarket chain.

Since it is a specialty chemical company, Nippon Paint has been committed to protecting and preserving the beauty and purity of the environment as part of its corporate social responsibility.This focus on protecting the environment has earned both the Singapore and Taiwan operations the ISO:14001 certification in 1997 and 1998 respectively.

Nippon Paint is the one of the few companies that offers paint solutions for practically every kind of surface. The product range consists of Automotive, Decorative, Industrial, Auto Refinish, Marine and road marking paints. The company is also into fine chemicals business.

Zero VOC content - Nippon has developed high-grade environmentally friendly products with near Zero VOC content.
Antibacterial Paints – Nippon Paints has developed highly functional products and systems that keep bacteria at bay such as 3 in 1 Medifresh interior emulsion which protects interior walls against bacteria. It is water resistant and is even able to cover hairline cracks successfully.
Odourless Paint - Nippon has also developed a virtually odourless paint which eliminates the uneasiness of strong paint smell.
Superior Exterior Finishes -The company has an impressive range of high end textures for exteriors and interiors which can last for more than 10 years. Weatherbond and Sumo are high performance superior exterior acrylic emulsion paints and are specially formulated to take on extreme weather conditions. They have many functional properties like water resistance, dirt pick up resistance, algal resistance and alkali resistance.
Aerosol Spray Paints – Nippon Paint is also planning to introduce Aerosol spray paints which will expose Indians to the globally popular and successful Do-It-Yourself concept.

Website: For the official website on Nippon Paints India, Visit:


Oikos Paints from Italy, known for decorative wall art, has launched three collections in India – The Top Interior Decorative line, The Top Exterior Decorative line, Flat Paint (Acrylic Paint) for Interior as Well as Exterior.

All three ranges have unlimited decorative possibilities in a spectrum of colours and a variety of feels and textures.

Top Interior Decorative Paints – These include multi effect acrylic paints like Raffaello Decor Stucco, Raffaello Mother of Pearl, Multidecor, Ottocento (Velvet effect), Pallas and Kreos.
Top Exterior Decorative Paints – These include Decorsil(water repellant), Veldecor (restoration of heritage buildings), Betoncryll (a cement Paint), Marmorino Naturale
Special Effects – Oikos special effects for walls is the first of its kind in India with effects like – Mother of Pearl, Stucco (Marble), Satin, Velvet, Antique, Textured and Metallic.
Novalis Iron Finish – is special enamel that gives the treated surface an aged, wrought iron finish and creates a barrier against atmospheric agents and U.V. rays thus impeding the deterioration of the substrate. It is highly recommended in environments withy aggressive climates and is ideal for the protection of gates, railings.

Address: Okios India Pvt. Ltd, Warden House, 1st Floor, Sir P.M. Road, Fort, Mumbai – 400 001. Phone : +91 22 2287 2295, Fax : +91 22 2287 3475. Email :


Shalimar Paints was incorporated in India in 1902 as Shalimar Paint Color & Varnish Co. Ltd. It became a public limited company in 1961 and adopted the present name Shalimar Paints Limited in 1963. Shalimar Paints was the first large-scale manufacturing unit in India and also in the whole South-East Asia region. Shalimar Paints have their corporate office in Mumbai.

Some of the most commendable achievements by the Shalimar Paints R & D units are being the first Indian company to develop a radiation resistant paint for nuclear power plants coating and another would be aviation coatings epoxy/ vinyl system for ester lubricant resistant aircraft finish.

Products: The whole range of Shalimar Paints products include:
Exterior Paints - such as  Xtra Premium 100% Acrylic Exterior Finish, Superlac Acrylic Emulsion, Shaktiman Exterior Acrylic Emulsion
Husain Collection - Based on the acrylic copolymer emulsion, Husain Collection is fast drying, and smooth in flow and leveling and gives a smooth and silky finish
Other Interior Wall Finishes – such as No.1 Silk Emulsion, Mela Acylic Distemper.
Synthetic Enamel Paints- Superlac Hi – Gloss Synthetic Enamel/ Satin Finish Soft Sheen Synthetic Enamel/ Luster Finish, Diamond Synthetic Enamel,  Goldmin Synthetic Enamel
Other Paints such as Cement Paints,Wood Finishes, Putty, Primers, Aluminium Paint, Multi Purpose Varnishes, Wood Polishes, Dry Colours, Road Marking Paints.
Industrial Paints – The industrial paints products by Shalimar Paints cater to high performance coatings in the heavy industries like petrochemicals, nuclear and thermal power, heavy machinery manufacturers, construction industries etc. along with coatings finish for two wheelers, tractors, cylinders and textile machinery. Metal decoration coatings and Indian marine industry also are among the major clients of Shalimar Paints.

The Shalimar Paints website has a ‘Color Space’ where you can find over 5000 shades for choosing a particular shade. Shalimar Color Space Tinting Systems use the colorants of the premium international quality to ensure the widest possible range of colors to choose from.
Another popular category is the Hussain Collection Shade Card which is available online. The advantages of Hussain collection are that there is a whole spectrum of colors in shade card to choose from.
The Website also gives Dealer locator, color visualizer,  a cost calculator and painting tips that ensures optimum use of the paint products and the best finish.

Corporate Office Address: Shalimar Paints Limited, 5th Floor, ‘C’ Wing, Oberoi Garden Estate, Chandivili Farm Road, Chandivili, Andheri (E), Mumbai – 400 072. Phone: 91-22-28574043 Email:


The Sherwin-Williams Company (SHW) is an American company which primarily engages in the manufacture, distribution, and sale ofcoatings and related products to professional, industrial, commercial, and retail customers primarily in North and South America. The company is mostly known through its Sherwin-Williams Paints line.

Founded by Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams in 1866, the company has not only grown to be the largest producer of paints and coatings in the United States, but is among the largest producers in the world. It operates through four segments: Paint Stores (known as Sherwin-Williams Stores), Consumer, Automotive Finishes, and International Coatings.

Sherwin-Williams Paints acquired Nitco Paints, an Indian paint company, in April 2007, marking its entry into the Indian paint market. The Sherwin-Williams stores will offer a wide range of interior and exterior paints, painting accessories and tool, and market the company’s wood-care products under the ‘Ronseal’ brand. They will also offer a “touch and feel ” experience for the customers.

Interior Products which include – Paints,  Primers, Faux Finishing, Stains and Wallpapers
Exterior Products which include-  Exterior paints, Stains, Primers.
Tools and Supplies which include Brushes, Rollers & Pad Applicators, Sprayers, Ladders,  Prep Materials.

Website: Visit the official website:
The Address: SHERWIN-WILLIAMS Paints India Pvt. Ltd., Ground Floor, Paville House, Twin Tower Lane, Prabhadevi, Mumbai – 400025, Maharashtra, India. Phone:91-22-66113366/27464835. Fax:91-22-66113355


Ar Shahdad Karim B Arch FIIA, graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from College of Engineering, Trivandrum (CET), University of Kerala, took his Post Graduation in Construction Management from National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR), Pune and a Diploma in Project Management from TAFE, Australia.