A guide on how to construct a house in Kerala
Owning a beautiful home is every person’s dream. Kerala, “God’s Own Country”, is definitely a great place to live in terms of weather and good standards of living. Keralites, despite affinity to the convenience of flats in cities, prefer to construct a house in Kerala, with some landscape around it. Be it the ‘Gulf Money’ or otherwise, we accumulate each penny over years, to fulfil the long-cherished dream to construct a house in Kerala. In this sense, the emotional quotient attached to the new house construction in Kerala stands above the standard utility creation in the building.
Usually constructions extend from 6-18 months time frame and undergo a variety of steps. In a nutshell, a few steps involved when you construct a house in Kerala are the physical construction, utility creation and procedural implementation.
Let us now look at the step by step details involved in a house construction in Kerala. A house construction usually has 3 stages – preparatory work, construction stage and completion stage. In a nutshell, these are the most important steps involved in house construction.
- Select a good execution partner who can guide you through the entire process of house construction
- Finalize floor plan and elevation
- Finalize the structure and foundation
- Obtain building permits
- Complete the Structure of the building
- Finishing work like wiring, plumbing, carpentry, tiling and paiting
- Electrical and plumbing fittings
- The final touches like interiors, exteriors, landscaping etc
- Obtain Completion certificate
- Statutory Tax payments
- Obtain building number
- Get utility connections like water and electricity.
Preparatory Work for construction in Kerala
A. Select a Good Execution Partner
It is very important to partner with a reliable construction company when you venture out into something like constructing a house. The experience and expertise that they bring to the table adds a lot of value to the entire process. A good contracting company will provide you the detailed quote for each single aspect of the building. They should be able to provide you with the best quotes in building materials and labour. Also, they would define the timeline, budget and cost constraints during this process.
A good execution partner will also have choices of a designers or architects who can clearly visualize your aims, likes and dislikes, design styles and your overall expectations. Thus the execution partner, in association with the architect will provide you with an ideal design well within your budget. A building design can either be a traditional design or a contemporary design or a colonial one.
The execution partner should also be able to foresee the potential hiccups likely to come about during the construction phase before the commencement of the design. The first stage of a building plan is the design of the floor plan and elevation of the building.
Additional Reading: How to choose the right contracting company in Kerala?
We at Viya house a bunch of expert contractors/architects who deliver a high-quality building solution as per standards, strictly adhering to the timelines and well within your budget.
B. Finalize floor plan and elevation
A building elevation is a two-dimensional view that projects the exterior of the building’s facades. The elevation reflects the height and other measurements of the building. The elevation gives you a very clear picture of the house well in advance.
Besides elevation, one requires a floor plan in order to obtain the building permit. A Floor Plan is a sketch that projects the arrangement of the rooms on each floor of the house. The Floor Plan is sketched in accordance with the Kerala Municipal Building Rule (KMBR) or Kerala Panchayat Rules depending on the location of the property. It includes Sanction drawings that show the view of the building structure across a vertical plane. It also contains details like the height of the rooms, building and parapet, thickness and spacing of structural members, floor slabs, roof and details of the staircase. Principles of Vaasthu Shastra can also be used to modify the building sketch at this stage.
The floor plan and elevation together will determine the approximate weight of the building. The next step is to see whether the land is suited to take the load of the building. This can be done by performing soil testing. Soil Testing basically refers to investigating the characteristics of soil in a plot and is carried out by experts.
C. Finalize the structure and foundation
The results from soil testing can be served as inputs to suggest the type of structure and foundation for the building. This also provides clear dimension of recommended sizes of foundation components. The type of foundation is determined by the structural engineer based on the soil test reports. The commonly used foundation types in Kerala are raft, rubble, pillar footing etc. There might be a need to do piling, which again is determined by the soil test report.
Get more insights on each of these topics
D. Obtain Building Permits
The Building Permit application is made after submitting the Elevation, Floor Plan, and Section drawings to the local self governing body. (Municipality/Corporation)
The final process is to obtain the building permit which allows the commencement of the building construction in Kerala. Building Permit is obtained after submitting the Land Tax Receipt, Copy of the Original deed, Sanction Drawing to the Building department of the Municipality/Corporation along with application of the permit. The Building Inspector then scrutinizes the plot used for the building construction. He inspects and makes sure that the structure adheres to all the building specifications as per KMBR. The Building Inspector then sanctions the Building Permit.
Granting of the building permit is the formal approval to construct a house in Kerala. You can also parallely start preparing the property for construction at this stage. It involves levelling the land, providing temporary water and electricity connections for construction purpose etc.
Related Reading: How to obtain a building permit in Kerala?
Once the preparatory phase is complete, you would be ready with your building plan, elevation, sanction drawings and Building permit. You would have completed the initial paperwork and are now ready for the actual construction work. The actual construction stage can be subdivided into four major phases. They are
- Structure completion
- Finishing work
- Fittings &
- The final touches
Let us look at each of these phases in detail.
Phase I: Structure Completion
The first step in the Construction phase is to build a strong foundation for the house. The Structural Engineer prepares the structural design and starts with the foundation work keeping in mind several external factors like monsoons, earthquakes, nature of the soil, type of terrain and various other natural phenomena.
Constructions in Kerala usually use the following methods for building the structure of the house.
- Load Bearing Structures – It is one of the oldest forms of Building Construction. Load bearing Building Constructions are used today predominantly for the purpose of smaller residential scale units
- Frame Structure System – Concrete Frame Structures also known as the Column-Beam structures. This is one of the most commonly used types of building constructions in the recent times. This is much preferred in the building construction of large structures and multi-storey apartments when compared to the Load Bearing Wall Structures.
Structure is usually followed by blockwork, installation of door & window frames, lintel casting, concreting and plastering. You can read about each of these in detail in the Stages of construction article below.
Phase II: Finishing Phase
The finishing stage commences once the structure of the new house is built. This makes the house structure usable. The following are the different types of tasks that are part of the finishing phase.
Flooring process involves floor construction which is to install a permanent covering for the floor. This provides a visible walking surface. Finish materials like the red or black oxide, marble, tile, granite or wood are usually used.
Additional Reading: 5 tips for excellent flooring
Floors, roof and walls are generally covered using thin plates or elements called tiles. These are noncombustible in nature and provide appeal to the house under construction. Ceramic tiles and Porcelain tiles are the tiles generally used in the construction of a house. Out of these two, Ceramic tiles are mostly used in the internal/ external flooring, walls and other specific installations both in interior and exterior cases. Ceramic tiles are manufactured from a mixture of clay and other materials and fired in a kiln.
Types of glazed and unglazed forms of Ceramic tiles.
- Earthenware tiles.
- Terracotta and Faience.
- Fully vitrified tiles.
- Glazed tiles.
- Stoneware tiles.
The application of paint shields a newly constructed house from damages caused by the sun, rain and other climatic changes. Painting the interior and exterior of the constructed house with a perfectly matched color scheme not only makes it appealing and attractive but also adds aesthetic value to the house in the years to come. Painting involves a five step process.
- The first step in the painting process is to apply primer. Applying primer to the walls will provide a better finish for the top coat and will also make it long-lasting.
- The second step is to apply wall putty which creates the required smoothness on the wall surface.
- After the first coat has dried completely, apply the second coat of wall putty for an ideal finish.
- The next step is to apply the first coat of the paint. Electrical work which involves the fixing of switches, carpentry works like wardrobes and kitchen wood work commences after this stage.
- It is a good practice to do the final coating of the paint only after the completion of electrical, carpentry and plumbing works.
Additional Reading: What should you take care of while painting your house?
Carpentry provides the finishing touch to the newly constructed house. The main carpentry work for a house constructed in Kerala involves the construction of the doors and windows. Other carpentry works involve the construction of wardrobes, kitchen and bath cabinets, counter-tops, showcases and other inlaid decorations. Care should be taken to select the right choice of wood which has good resistance to heat, pressure and other climatic changes. Effects of insects and other microorganisms affect the quality of wood over a period of time. So, it is very important to make them pest-free such that they remain strong for many years.
There are many types of wood available for the carpentry works while you construct a house in Kerala. A few examples are Rosewood, Mahogany, Neem, Aanjili, Jack Wood, Pine Wood, Satin Wood, Palm, Coconut, Deodar, and Bamboo. But the most popular type of wood used for house construction in Kerala is the Teak Wood. On account of its durability, carpenters prefer teakwood for making doors, wardrobes and other cabinets.
Additional Reading: Tips for modern carpentry for your house in Kerala
Electrical and Plumbing:
The essentials of electricity and water are taken care at this phase of house construction. Always use good quality materials for installing the Electrical and Plumbing layout for the new construction. It should be well within the budget and at the same time ensure long-term durability. Concealed electrical/ plumbing lines are in demand in constructions nowadays. Therefore Conduiting of the electrical layout needs to be done during the concreting process. Use ISI marked conduit pipes to ensure safety.
Additional Reading: What you ought to know about electrical wiring?
The plumbing system includes four main types. They are the water-supply system, the drainage system, kitchen plumbing system and the bathroom plumbing systems. Selecting the right choice of pipes for plumbing is very important. Pipes come in a variety of types of cement, plastic and metallic. Most plumbing contractors use the plastic pipes for residential purposes. It is very important to use proper washers while joining pipes. Furthermore, ensure that you maintain the appropriate slope for the water traps in kitchen, toilets, bathrooms, sinks etc.
Additional Reading: How to handle Plumbing work while constructing a house in Kerala?
ALL ABOUT FINISHING
The next step is to move into the installation of electrical and plumbing utility elements.
Phase III: Electrical and Plumbing Fittings:
The Electrical fittings mainly include the electrical trunking, power points, switches, telephone point, distribution board, air-conditioning fan coil unit, plug and plate covers and light fixtures. The Plumbing fittings include the floor trap, water taps, faucets, bath tubs, shower heads and supply lines to appliances such as washing machines, water heater, dishwasher etc.
Closure of this phase earmarks commencement of the interior decoration task.
Phase IV: Final Finishes
In conclusion, let us look at some of the finishing tasks that you should take care of when you construct a house in Kerala. The proper execution of these finishing tasks make the house more liveable.
A. Hiring a good interior designer:
Interior designing improves the quality of the life in the newly constructed house with its design and decoration. Interior designers provide effective solutions for the proper use of the space inside the confined environment to make it pleasant and comfortable. A good interior designer evaluates the space and provides the best options to optimally utilize the square foot footage of the constructed house. He listens to your needs and provides solutions keeping in mind your likes, utilities, and your budget constraints.
Finalizing the Scope and timeline of the work:
After you choose a good interior designer, obtain a detailed quote. A good quote also includes the timeline and the payment schedule for each single sub-division of the task.
Execution of Interior design:
Right from choosing the right color on the walls to selecting the appropriate curtain or blinds, the interior designer takes care of every small detail of the space inside the newly constructed house. Inputs on the types of furniture, lightings and position of the accessories in each room will also be provided. An interior designer thus transforms your home into an exciting place that relaxes your mind and relieves stress after a hard, tiring day.
Related Reading: Interior Design Tips
B. The final finishing touches:
House construction in Kerala will not get complete without the last phase of providing final touches. This includes the installation of all finishing devices that transform the house into a more livable and comfortable home. We have listed below a few commonly made installations before handing over the key to the owner.
It is always wise to install a solar panel in the constructed house in order to absorb sunlight and to generate electricity or heat. A solar panel can take care of a portion of the electricity requirements of a house. Therefore this reduces the dependency on traditional power sources. The resale value of the house will also increase with the installation of a solar panel.
The main use of an inverter is to provide an alternate source of power to the household electrical devices when there is a failure in electric supply. With power cuts on the rise, an inverter becomes an absolute necessity when you construct a house in Kerala. It is important to make the right choice of the inverter. You should take into consideration the total power consumption of the appliances that you intend to connect to the inverter. Also, take care to ensure that you keep the inverter well-ventilated and clean it on a regular basis.
A mosquito net offers protection from the bites of mosquitoes and other insects and thus against the harmful diseases they carry. Mosquito nets come in two ways. The first is to have a parallel mosquito net window with a normal glass window installed. The second is to install Velcro based mosquito nets on the inside window. You can get the help of experts to select the right type of the mosquito nets that suit your needs.
The newly constructed house will look insipid if the exterior is not in sync with the interior of the house. Landscaping helps to properly utilize the unused outer space around the house in a most appropriate manner. Furthermore landscaping enhances the appearance and value of the house. This ensures that both the interior and the exterior of the house are in perfect harmony with each other. You should take care to consider the factors like the climatic changes and architectural style employed, while designing the landscape.
The last phase when you construct a house in Kerala is the procedural completion. This is when we obtain the completion and occupancy certificates. The respective Municipality/Corporation inspects the building and issues the Completion Certificate, if eligible. The Completion Certificate certifies that the building has been constructed in accordance with the approved plan, building permit, and other applicable laws.
Statutory tax payments which include the one time building tax to the Village office, building tax, luxury tax (for houses above 3000 sqft) and other statutory deposits at respective local bodies such as Panchayat/ Village offices/ municipalities/ corporations are applicable to all houses constructed in Kerala.
Pay the necessary statutory tax payments in the respective Municipality/Corporation. After submitting the approval plan, building permit and the completion certificate of the new house, you get the Building number.
The next step is to obtain the utility connections which include the electrical and water connections. This is obtained by submitting the request form along with all other necessary documents by a licensed electrician/plumber.
You complete all these procedures and it is time to move into the dream home.
Viya – Your perfect partner to construct a house in Kerala:
With a plethora of tasks ranging from documentation to ensuring inventory availability on time, administrative procedures to physical construction; new house construction in Kerala involves considerable effort, knowledge, and application. It takes a real expert and substantial bandwidth to carry out these tasks in a timely, cost-effective and efficient manner & attaching the touch of emotional value/ personalization to it.
In conclusion, there could be multiple players in the market who do the tasks in bits and pieces. But, only limited entities possess umbrella presence and all round capabilities. Viya has such a gamut of experts in each task and also the capability for central supervision from an end to end perspective.
Do have a look at this short video depicting the stages of house construction, taken at our various construction sites across Kochi.
The specialist people in Viya Constructions not only takes away from you, pains of the house construction in Kerala but also materializes your dream home in Kerala with the highest building standards. In short, Viya is your perfect partner to construct a house in Kerala.
If you are looking to construct a house in Kerala, Call us now for a free quote
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