The first part of the research will be finished in Ratankot, after which the research will be done with Habitat for Humanity and Build Up Nepal in Kathmandu and the Eastern part of Nepal.
Elaborate on previous research & finish building of the pilot house
We are the fifth team for Shock Safe Nepal. The previous team has taken the designs of the preceding team, researched alternative construction materials and altered them in such a way that they are now feasible. The pilot building is now finished. To us it is important to investigate and continue the work of the previous teams. It is of great value that we can build and elaborate on the previous knowledge, research and work done by our predecessors.
Validate pilot building
To start the validation and optimization of the draft house, it will need to be finished. After construction, has finished we will commence the validation and further optimization of the house on a technical scale. This means that we will investigate the materials and construction techniques used. Validation includes calculation on the design and the investigation of multiple aspects. Such as the bamboo roof, the foundations, the horizontal bands, the structural skeleton of the building and the different connections.
Optimization will be based on feedback and gained information from validation and input from experts, locals and our own. It is of great importance to know and fully understand if the house, in principle the product of the project, will in fact be shock safe and ready to upscale.
Many NGOs and other organizations are also doing research on shock safe building. Many of these organizations come up with construction booklets and manuals. These are factually not backed by calculations and models. Our strength is our technical knowledge and social skills. This allows us to fully create and research shock safe building. This is the importance of the validation.
Upscaling and implementation
After and while validating, we will look at the further implementation and upscaling of the house. This includes several aspects which will need to be taken under serious consideration. Upscaling is a twofold challenge. Firstly, the building must be taken up in the building code and design catalogue. This is necessary to legally build the house and receive compensation and financial grants from both the government and (I)NGOs. The second aspect is the upscaling of the model house in a quantitative manner. More house can be built in multiple villages. These two aspects have been narrowed down further:
The technical aspects of the house design, regarding its earthquake resistance, and technical aspects of building it. The constructional features must meet the requirements of the Nepalese Building Code and design catalogue.
The costs of the design must be seriously taken under consideration, compared to other buildings in the building code. For locals to be able to afford and built the house they must receive the financial aid. The costs of the house must be of the same amount as the financial grants.
The use of bamboo, if it is possible to increase its use in the design and if it is used in practice as was expected. It can further be researched how it is possible to incorporate bamboo farming for houses in community projects. The government has a very sceptical approach when it comes to bamboo construction, which might result in the fund rejections.
For such a small group as Shock Safe Nepal it is very difficult to get in contact with the governmental contacts who are responsible for the design catalogue and Building Code. This leaves us with the choice of contacting other organizations to submit our model on our behalf or we can try and manage to submit ourselves.
Social acceptance and implementation will include well maintained contact and feedback back and forth with the locals. The model must be based on the needs of the community and the local people. If they do not have any benefit of the house, it will serve no purpose. The perception of status and cultural differences are to be taken very seriously. Many locals want a concrete building and no bamboo which leaves us with a big challenge.
Once the model has been determined and ready for construction. It is of great importance that the locals are well educated and trained to copy and quantitatively upscale the house themselves. Shock Safe Nepal will not always be around and knowledge must be passed on and shared. This can be done through training on site, hire experienced local workers, create a construction manual and find Dutch students / volunteers to help with the construction process.
To quantitatively upscale the model home, it is of great importance that a consistent financial aid is generated. The can be done by contacting funds, companies and NGO’s to start a cooperation with Shock Safe Nepal. Local financial aid is also something to look at, for example setting up brick-press manufacturers and bamboo-farms. This way material costs decrease and jobs are generated. It is also possible to find locals which have a lot of land or money to sponsor the re-construction of their village.
Local workforce is scarce. Many villages have few people how are skilled builders and have the drive to build. This often results in the construction process being put on hold, which costs money. This needs to be considered, by either training new people, which generates jobs or by finding volunteers in The Netherlands who are willing to cooperate.
The model house is restricted to materials which are locally provided or imported. This differs per village and can be modelled. The local provision can also be improved by starting a bamboo farm or by the purchase of a brick-press machine.