Kerala, considered to be a place less prone to natural calamities, had not been keen on building houses which could resist natural disasters until the floods ravaged the state in August last year.
Experts say that the intensity of the calamity could have been lessened had proper precautions been taken. Lack of awareness among the people too played a major role deepening the catastrophe.
From rehabilitation, we have entered the rebuilding phase and this should be perceived as an opportunity to create a comprehensive development, keeping in mind the future as well. The government has allotted up to Rs 4 lakhs per 400 sq feet, for rebuilding houses which were destroyed in the floods. In this scenario, the Kerala state nirmithi kendra and the Floatel engineering private limited, which is based in Thiruvananthapuram, has jointly built a model house at PTP Nagar in the capital city.
The construction of the 400 sq ft house, which cost Rs 4 lakhs, was completed within two weeks. The Extruded Polystyrene (EPS) panel pre-fabricated technology has been adopted to build this model house.
Plain cement concreting, in a ratio of 1:5:10 has been done in 10 centimeters thickness, below the foundation. The foundation and the basement are built using cement blocks which are 20 centimeters thick. RCC plinth beams in 20 cms x 15 cms were installed continuously over the foundation.
The outer walls are made using pre-fabricated cement sandwich panels which have thickness of 1.20 centimeters. Meanwhile, the walls in the interiors are built using panels which have a thickness of 90 millimeters. Fiber netting is done over these walls and finished with putty.
The roof too is built with 120 millimeters thick cement sandwich panels. The door frames in the front and back of the house are made in concrete and the doors are wooden. The doors inside the house are done using WPVC. Similarly, wooden widows are attached on concrete panes. Ceramic tiles are paved on the floor and the walls are painted with emulsion paint.
The cement sandwich panels are 1.4 meters long and 90 centimeters wide. So, unlike other pre fabricated structures which are way too heavy, cranes are not required to arrange these panels over the foundation. The workers can carry these panels easily and finish the construction quickly by interlocking them. The electrification, plumbing and sanitary works too have been completed in this model house.
The advantages of building a low cost pre-fabricated house:
» Since the walls and the roof are built using cement sandwich panels, which are lighter, much weight won’t be loaded upon the foundation. It helps to keep the cost of building the foundation at bay.
» Expert labourers are not required as the panels, which are interlocked, aren’t too heavy.
» This method of construction can withstand natural calamities.
» The temperature won’t rise too much inside the house.
» The building materials are sound insulated.
» Plastering using cement can be completely avoided.
» The cost of construction is significantly less.
» This method of construction is environment friendly.
(Information courtesy: Robert V Thomas, regional engineer, Kerala State Nirmithi Kendra, Ernakulam)