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Low cost construction is not always low cost housing for poor but it is cost effective construction techniques.
Cost effectiveness Economics are dependent on very diverse factors, some of which are not within local control. But certain factors can be controlled by the local area for the enhancement of the local economy. Less outflow of money and other resources by the adoption of certain technologies and materials Creation of employment by up-gradation of local skills Innovative use of the available building materials Direct market and supply connection - elimination of the middleman Labour intensive approaches
use of renewable energy sources is also very much part of low cost construction. It includesTraditional construction technologies like-Earth construction -compressed earth blocks -Rammed earth technology -Rat trap bond wall -Filler slabs -Brick arches and vaulted structures. Advanced technologies includeFerro cement technology. .Sustainable technologies.
There are also three other earth techniques used in Auroville. Stabilised rammed earth is also used extensively for foundations and to a lesser extent for walls.Earth constructionRaw earth for building has been used worldwide for millennia but during the 20th century most of the skills of earth builders were lost and building with earth became marginal. In Auroville. These techniques are very marginally used as only about 10 buildings have been built with them: Raw rammed earth Adobe blocks. The initial embodied energy of CSEB produced on site with 5 % cement is ~ 4 times less than the local country fired bricks. Most of the projects are built with compressed stabilised earth blocks (CSEB). as this technology benefits of more than half a century of research and development worldwide. CSEB present several advantages compared to the local country fired bricks: Walls made of CSEB and stabilised rammed earth are always cheaper than fired bricks. The strength of these blocks is most of the time higher than the local country fired bricks. the traditional sun dried mud brick Wattle and daub which is mud plastered on a wattle made of split bamboo or palmyra tree .
from the foundations to the waterproofing: Stabilised rammed earth foundations (with 5 % cement) Stabilised rammed earth walls (with 5 % cement and a homeopathic milk of lime and alum) Composite columns (round and hollow CSEB with reinforced concrete) Composite beams (U shape CSEB with reinforced concrete) Stabilized earth mortars and plasters Wide variety of compressed stabilised earth blocks (17 moulds are presently available for producing about 75 different types of blocks) Various vaults with compressed stabilised earth blocks Alternative stabilizers to cement ( homeopathic milk of lime and alum) Alternative waterproofing with stabilized earth (various mixes of soil. cement and reinforced cement concrete (RCC). cement. alum and juice of a local seed) . Most of the technologies developed have now been mastered and the present The building is constructed entirely with stabilised earth.APPROPRIATE BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES BASED ON EARTH The main research and development is focussed on minimising the use of steel. sand. lime.
because it represents a synthesis between traditional practices and a modern technology. which is the most used worldwide. In Auroville. Country fired bricks have resist at around 35 kg/cm² for the dry compressive strength and have a 12% water absorption rate. . as well as in Auroville. CSEB are stabilised with 5% cement and have an average dry compressive crushing strength of 50 kg/cm2 (5 Mpa) and a wet compressive crushing strength of 25 kg/cm2.COMPRESSED STABILISED EARTH BLOCKS CSEB is nowadays the earth technology. The Auroville Earth Institute has designed manual presses for CSEB . The water absorption is around 10%.
Building constructed using compressed earth block. .
after the construction of Mirramukhi School (presently named Deepanam). . the earth is rammed by hand. Stabilised rammed earth presents the advantage of being cheaper than compressed stabilised earth blocks. It is sieved and then measured at the same time on the side ofthe trench.STABILISED RAMMED EARTH In Auroville. Stabilized rammed earth foundationsThe soil is excavated from the trench foundation. In Auroville. we use always 5 % by weight of cement and the mix is as follow: 500 litres soil + 200 litres sand = 1 bag cement (50 Kg). Sand always needs to be added. Stabilised rammed earth was promoted since 1995. Auroville had only one house made of raw rammed earth. Until 1994.
Stabilized rammed earth foundations- .
We ram by hand and we have developed also some peripheral equipment. Cement percentage will vary with the soil quality. we always use 5 % by weight of cement. but in Auroville. so as to reduce shrinkage. Our process is similar to the modern rammed earth system practiced in USA or Australia. Some sand is always added: 25 to 30 % according to the soil quality.Stabilized rammed earth wallsA slipping type formwork has been designed and developed. The panels are lifted up and the walls are built like piers walls. but adapted to the local context of a developing country. .
This was previously called the Nubian technique. Note that all vaults and domes are built with compressed stabilised earth blocks which are laid in Free spanning mode.VALUTED STRUCTURES This R&D seeks to increase the span of the roof. but the Auroville Earth Institute developed it and found new ways to build arches and vaults. decrease its thickness. and create new shapes. meaning without formwork. from Egypt. .
a finished m3 of rammed earth wall is 20 to 30 % cheaper than CSEB wall and 30 to 50 % cheaper than fired bricks. In all cases. In Auroville.COST EFFECTIVENESS OF EARTHEN BUILDINGS Earthen buildings have the advantage of using local resources and being labor intensive. they cost less than conventional materials and technologies. Therefore. . The material for CSEB or stabilized rammed earth is the same. the technologies implemented are cost effective. but the difference comes from the fact that the blocks have to be cured on the ground. the walls are made by semi skilled labor and they stand in place at the end of the day. The final cost of a building will depend mainly on the design. In the case of stabilized rammed earth. most of the time. the type of finishes and the project management. a finished m3 of CSEB masonry is always cheaper than fired bricks: 15 to 20 % cheaper than country fired bricks. lifted and built by masons later on. Walls made of compressed stabilized earth blocks are already cheaper than fired bricks but stabilized rammed earth walls are even cheaper than CSEB masonry. Therefore.
The headers and stretchers are staggerd in subsequent layers to give more strength to the walls. . The overall saving on cost of materials used for construction compared to the traditional 10 wall is about 26%. but consumes 20% less bricks. Rat-trap bond was commonly used in England for building houses of fewer than three stories The main features of rat-trap bond wall are: Strength is equal to the standard 10 (250 mm) brick wall. They are called as stretcher bond .Rat-trap bond in wall construction: There are several types of bonds developed in different countries from time to time. The rat-trap bond is laid by placing the bricks on their sides having a cavity of 4 (100 mm). giving a wall of one brick thickness with fewer bricks than a solid bond. Flemish bond and rat-trap bond. with alternate course of stretchers and headers.English bond. The main advantage of this bond is the economy in use of bricks.
This phenomenon is particularly helpful for the tropical climate of South Asian and other countries. As construction is done by aligning the bricks from both sides with the plain surface facing outwards. Buildings up to two stories can easily be constructed with this technique (Figure 2). the filler walls can be made of rat-trap bond. without showing any signs of distress till now. plastering is not necessary except in a few places.The air medium created between the brick layers helps in maintaining a good thermal comfort inside the building. In RCC framed structures. Baker has pioneered this type of construction and had built such houses more than 40 years ago. The finished surface is appealing to the eye. .
5 mm Enhances thermal comfort inside the building due to heat-resistant qualities of filler materials and the gap between two burnt clay tiles. tiles. These are safe. result in replacing unwanted and nonfunctional tension concrete. Makes saving on cost of this slab compared to the traditional slab by about 23%.FILLER SLAB IN ROOF: This is a normal RCC slab where the bottom half (tension) concrete portions are replaced by filler materials such as bricks. Reduces use of concrete and saves cement and steel by about 40%. These filler materials are so placed as not to compromise the structural strength. Slab thickness minimum 112. lowcost filler material like two layers of burnt clay tiles. thus resulting in economy. etc. cellular concrete blocks. . sound and provide aesthetically pleasing pattern ceilings and also need no plaster The main features of the filler slab are: Consumes less concrete and steel due to reduced weight of slab by the introduction of a less heavy.
doors. and the basic technique is easily acquired. slabs. among other things. it nevertheless employs them in a highly efficient and cost-effective manner. in the construction of roof channels. which acts as a reinforcement. various form works and biogas plants . latrines. It is relatively cheap. water tanks. strong and durable. Ferrocement in Auroville is used.FERRO CEMENT TECHNOLOGY Although ferrocement is not strictly a 'sustainable' technology as it uses cement and steel. Ferrocement is a thin cement mortar laid over wire mesh.
where layers of continuous mesh are covered on both sides with mortar n Ferrocement elements are durable. It is precast using moulds A ferrocement channel uses less cement and steel while having the same strength as the same RCC FC are used for floors or roofs. transportation has to be organized while taking care against damage Ferrocement channels are lifted into place and can immediately be joined together in order to provide a shelter No need of scaffoldings. light and waterproof n A ferrocement channel (FC) is a longitudinal element of a curved section (often semi-cylindrical). shuttering. concrete mixer or vibrator . but are bad thermal insulators A major cost reduction is achieved compared to RCC A simple and cheap manufacturing set up is needed but the areas for prefabricating and curing need to be quite large It is easy to acquire the skill and easy to manufacture A constant quality control is needed during the manufacturing process and a proper curing is needed for one month If the channels are not manufactured on site.FERRO CEMENT TECHNOLOGY A ferrocement is a thin wall of reinforced cement. versatile.
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