German know-how for faster, cheaper houses for flood-hit

German know-how for faster, cheaper houses for flood-hit

Hope floats

Men at work: Workers from West Bengal involved in the construction of houses for flood victims on the outskirts of Hachcholli village in Siruguppa taluk of Bellary district. The houses constructed for the flood-hit. DH Photo

The houses for the victims are being constructed using latest German technology which does not use bricks, with necessary equipment imported from Malaysia.

What more? A house is constructed in 12 days flat and at a much lower cost than the conventional method.

The construction of houses on the outskirts of Hachcholli village in Siruguppa has been taken up by the district administration with financial support from the Slum Clearance Board.

After the 2009 floods in Rivers Tungabhadra and Hagari, which submerged 16 villages in the taluk, the translocation of the villages was inevitable. However, as translocation involved construction of thousands of houses, the traditional method of construction was not only time consuming, but involved laborious work using huge workforce. Hence, a new technology was adopted.

The construction of houses for the victims was assigned to mine owners. The miners constructed houses in the nine translocated villages, which have been distributed to the victims. However, the construction work of houses in seven other villages is tardy.

At Hachcholli village

Of the 1,145 houses proposed to be constructed at Hachcholli, more than 600 houses were constructed by mine owners. Following the ban on mining, many mine owners have halted the construction midway. The Government, however, has taken up the work of completing these houses.

Malaysian construction company, United Engineering Development India (UEDI), along with a Bangalore-based construction company, is building the houses with German technology.

The houses, each spread over 15X12 sqft, comprise a hall, room, kitchen and bathroom with attached toilet. Excluding the foundation, the houses are completed in 12 days.

The technology used to construct walls and roofs is quite simple. Instead of bricks, a mix of six mm gravel and concrete is used. The gravel and concrete mix is poured into the centering (moulds of steel plates built over iron rods to give strength). The centering materials have been imported from Malaysia.

Skilled workers from West Bengal finish the centering work of a house (for which foundation has already been laid) in two days. 

On the third day, the gravel-concrete mix is poured into the moulds.

The moulds are removed on the fifth day and the walls and roofs are cured with water for another three days.

The windows and doors are attached in the following four days, thus finishing the work in 12 days, said UEDI Engineer Dheeraj. No plastering is required as bricks are not used.

A house can be constructed using 65 to 70 bags of cement. As iron rods are used to support the structure, there is no fear of the structures developing cracks when constructed on black soil land.

First of its kind

It is the first time that such a technology is used in construction of houses in flood-prone areas. Apart from Hachcholli, the technology is being used in some other villages, he said.

However, Chennappa Sahukar, a resident of the village, said that in the hurry to build houses faster, the structures were not cured with sufficient water.  “The district administration should take note of this,” said Mallikarjunaswamy, another resident.

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