For many, constructing a house is a lifetime dream. While a few realise it, many find it difficult. K.A. Bhagyadev of Kadabagere in Chikmagalur taluk has been helping the poor build their dream house at an affordable cost since six years.

A civil engineering diploma-holder, Mr. Bhagyadev offers houses at affordable prices. The price starts from Rs. 70,000. Depending on the customer's demand, it goes up to Rs 2.75 lakh for a 750-sq. ft. three-bedroom house.

The crux of his design is that construction does not require any foundation. “On a bed of concrete, pre-cast concrete elements are placed. It saves up to 38 per cent of space compared to the conventional model,” he told The Hindu .

He calls his design and model eco-friendly as wood is not used. He uses pre-cast elements with 32mm thickness as walls and cement sheets as roof.

After completing his diploma in Chikmagalur, he returned home to take up agriculture.

At home, he began experimenting his civil engineering skills and built the first house six years ago by spending Rs. 60,000.

He has built 200 houses across the State. Most of the offers were from north Karnataka. He has built a six-room school at Mudhol at a cost of Rs. 6.25 lakh.

He casts the concrete elements at his farm and carries them to the site by a truck. Within three days, the house is ready. “I provide roof and walls. The customers have to make arrangements for electrical wiring, flooring and painting as per their requirements. The average cost of my construction is Rs. 500 a sq.ft., while in case of conventional construction, it is about Rs. 1,000 a sq.ft. By investing a few more thousand rupees, customers can make such houses look attractive,” he said.

He said that his houses were earthquake-resistant and had a lifespan of 60 years.

Mr. Bhagyadev has invested Rs. 25 lakh on a pre-cast element-making unit, and employs 25 people.

He said the government provided Rs. 63,000 per house under the Ashraya House scheme.

The amount was not sufficient to have a decent house going by the conventional design. “But with the low-cost technology, one can have two-room (9/9ft) house with a toilet (6/6ft) at a cost of Rs. 80,000. The government should think on these lines,” he added.