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Planning construction costs

You can organise your construction costs better, by planning your expenditure in advance.

To calculate your budgetary requirement initially, use tentative estimates and then detail the requirements, item wise and work wise. However, actual estimates will depend on the design proposed by the engineer / architect for your home and the prevailing cost of raw materials in the market.

Assume that you buy 1200 square feet of land at Rs. 250 square feet. The cost of land is 250x1200 = Rs. 3 lacs. Consider that your house will have 200 square feet of open space and a total construction area of 1000 square feet. There are three categories of construction. A superior finish would cost between Rs. 600-900 per sq. ft.; economy finish Rs. 400-600 sq. ft. and low cost finish Rs. 300-400.

The chart provides you a tentative estimate for ground floor and duplex constructions. The finishes mentioned indicate types and quality of flooring, electrical works, sanitary & fittings, paints, timber, doors & windows.

For instance, if you decide to build your house under the second category, the cost per square foot will vary from Rs. 400-600. Hence you total cost, including cost of land, will be Rs. 7-9 lacs.

(However, for the sake of clarity we will take the Economy Finish construction as Rs. 5 lacs, excluding the cost of land, for future calculations.)

Estimating the cost of construction: From the example given above, you can now distribute your construction cost. The standard ratio of material cost, labour cost and other expenditure is approximately 60:30:10. Therefore, you could incur Rs. 3 lacs on matrial, Rs. 1.5 lacs on labour and Rs. 50,000 on other expenditure. This excludes Rs. 3 lacs invested for purchase of the plot.

Stage wise cost of construction: You can also find out the expenditure to be incurred stage wise. This can help you plan your financial requirement during the entire period of construction.

Planning material requirements for each job: Please plan your requirements for each job. (See Table A for estimation purposes)

1) Slab casting (slab size 900 square feet, thickness 4 inch.

Concrete ratio: 1: 1.5 :3

Now refer to Table A and calculate the required quantity of all the ingredients:

Slab work:

Concrete quantity = 900x4/12 cubic feet = 300 cubic feet = 300/35.3 cubic metres = 8.5 cubic metres

Please refer to Table A and calculate the required quantity of all the ingredients:

Cement = 8.5x8 = 68 bags

Sand = 8.5x0.42 = 3.57 cubic metres

Gitti = 8.5x0.83 = 7.01 cubic metres

2) Brickwork (300 square feet, wall thickness is 8 inches)

Mortar ratio: 1:6

Please refer to Table B to calculate the quantities:

Material requirement for one cubic metre of brickwork

Note: Approximately 0.25 cubic metres of mortar and 500 bricks are required for 1 cubic metre of brickwork.


Brickwork quantity = 300x8/12 cubic feet = 200 cubic feet = 200/35.3 cubic metres = 5.67 cubic metres

For this, refer to Table B to calculate the quantities:

Cement = 5.67x1.4 = 8 bags

Sand = 5.67x0.299 = 1.7 cubic metres

Bricks = 5.67x500 = 2835 numbers

3) Plaster work (200 square feet, half inch thickness)

Mortar ratio: 1:4

Refer to Table C to calculate the quantity of construction materials:

Material requirement for 100 square metre of Plaster of 12mm (1/2 inch) thickness

Plaster work:

half inch thick plaster area = 200 square feet = 200/10.76 square metres = 18.6 square metres

Refer to Table C

Cement = 18.6x12/100 = 2.23 bags

Sand = 18.6x1.6/100 = 0.3 cubic metres

Remember to add 5 to 8% for wastage always

Cost control measures: You can save considerably on construction expenses by taking a few cost control measures. Here are some cost effective and qualitative inputs to help you build you dream home.

* Assess present and future requirements of your family and plan your house accordingly. You can construct the ground floor, and the 1st floor later according to the enhanced needs of your family members.

* Calculate approximate estimate of your budgetary requirements in terms of cost and quantity. Also, calculate stage wise cost to avoid any cost over-run while your project is at advanced stage.

* Ensure that the design of your proposed home is simple.

* Check and compare the cost of financing through a home loan with other available finance options.

* If all you pillar sizes are the same, you can economise on shuttering requirements.

* Evaluate the terms & conditions of payment to contractors, suppliers and service providers. But, never compromise on quality. Quality pays more than you pay for it.

* Make use of locally available materials.

* Make adequate openings for ventilation and natural light.

* Do not hold large stocks of building materials at the construction site.

* Judicious choice of construction options i.e. ground floor or ground floor + 1st floor, along with future additions of rooms should be clearly communicated to the engineer / architect. This will ensure economies in plot selection and construction design.

(Courtesy: The Associated Cement Companies Ltd. For more details visit

Material Requirement For 1 Cubic Metre of Concrete
Table A


Water & Cement RatioWater in litre per

bag of


Cement (Bags)Sand

(cubic metre)

Stone Aggregates

(cubic metre

Material Requirement for 1 Cubic Metre of Brickwork
Table B
MortarCement (Bags)Sand (cubic metre)
Material Requirement for 100 square metre of Plaster

of 12 mm (1/2 Inch) Thickness

Table C
MortarCement (Bags)Sand (cubic metre)
Conversion Table
Table D
1 metre = 3.28 feet
1 square metre = 10.76 square feet
1 cubic metre = 35.3 cubic feet
12" = 1' (12 inch is equal to 1 foot)
1 metre (m) = 100 centimetres (cm) = 1000 millimetres (mm)

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