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two-storey residential house
two-storey residential  
Dear Arshad,

   I am planning to design my own two-storey residential house, 7mX7m.  The ground floor consists of 1 room, 1 t&b, dining room and kitchen, living room and balcony.  The upper ground floor consists of 3 rooms and 2 t&b and a balcony also.  The roof deck will be a concrete slab.  Can you help me for some details for like foundation details, depth and width, the soil in our place is hard, no trees around.  I also want to know the slab thickness on the first floor as well as the roof deck and also the beam distances and details.  I am designing my own house because I am a little bit short for financial to pay for an architect and engineer.  Thank you very much.

Malaysia Home
Malaysia Home  
Hi Perry,

I normally do not do full designs over this medium due to liability issues and also I may miss some key parameters. You really should seek local advice, even if it is only to ensure that your house meets local regulations and can get approval.

Having said that, you have done a nice little layout and I would recommend that you split the 1st floor slab and the roof slab in half with a beam as sketched and then span the slab one-way as noted. The 1st floor slab will probably need to be 125-150mm thick, and the beam probably around 500mm deep by 250mm wide. The roof slab can be 125mm thick and you could cast it on a slope from the middle beam as the ridge. Roof beam could be 400mm by 200mm.

The foundations, if the soil is really hard can be 600mm wide by 200mm deep strip cast at a minimum depth of 600mm, with 200mm thick load-bearing walls all the way round. The outre walls should have ring beams 200mm wide by say 300mm deep, which can act as lintols over the doors and windows- at both 1st floor and roof level.

You should employ a structural engineer to work out all the necessary rebar for you!

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Arshad Khan


I can answer any questions to do with civil and structural engineering consultancy and construction industry in East Africa and the Middle East, and specifically with the analysis and design of reinforced concrete structures. My particular expertise is in the aseismic design and optimisation of tall buildings.


Employment history: 40 years in Construction and consultancy in the UK, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Africa, Somalia, Zambia, Austria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Doha and the U.A.E.

.Fellow of Institution of Structural Engineers (UK) .Fellow of Institution of Civil Engineers(UK) .Member of the Institution of Engineers, Kenya .Registered Engineer, ERB, Kenya .Member of the Architectural Association of Kenya (Engineers Chapter) .Chartered Engineer (UK)

•1984: International Conference on the Art and Practice of Structural Design, London •1994: 3rd Int. Kerensky Conference in Structural Engineering, Singapore •2008: International Conference on High-Rise Towers, Abu Dhabi •2013: IEK International Conference, Kisumu, Kenya

BSc, 1st Class Hons, in Building Engineering, University of Bath, UK MSc in Concrete Structures and Technology, University of London. Diploma of Imperial College, UK.

Awards and Honors
•Science Congress Special Award (for 2-seater Hovercraft - 1968) •Institution of Civil Engineers Award for outstanding performance at Bath University (1975) •Concrete Society Postgraduate study Bursary Award (1976) •Consular Representative for British High Commission, Nairobi. (1995 to 1998) •Examiner for Institution of Civil Engineers Professional Interviews, Nairobi. (1997 to 1998) •Branch Representative in Vienna for PI assessment for Inst. of Struct. Engrs. (1999 to 2010)

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