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Alternative and energy efficient building

The present day construction technology main uses cement, steel and bricks which requires
high amount of energy to produce them. With the souring price of the fossil fuels the cost of the
construction has also increased many folds. So this kind of construction is no more sustainable.
Sustainable construction means using more wood and mud than steel and cement. And the
construction must be carried out using local materials so that the energy required for the construction
will be very low1 ton of cement liberates 650kgs of carbon and 1ton of steel requires 5 tons of water.
It is important that we shift our focus towards energy efficient construction technologies
Here we discuss three masonry techniques which use minimum cement and steel
1. Stabilized Adobe
2. Stabilized Rammed earth
3. Stabilized Mud block
The advantage of these stabilized blocks is it uses th of the energy used in the fired brick. And the
cash flow will be within the community. We can make thicker walls at no extra cost and hence
thermal insulation can be assured. There is lot of skill, so many techniques got lost with the
introduction of cement. When concrete is introduced, they have to market it and now nothing else
then cement is used.
The only disadvantage of using direct mud in making bricks is that when it becomes wet, it
loses strength. Relationship between mud and clay is that when mud comes in contact with water it
becomes plastic and soft. When it becomes soft we can mould it and bring to a shape.There are
creatures who understood this relationship very well than human beings like some insects and
termites. Mud houses are very easy to construct and we can build ourselves. Birds build their own
nests but we humans do not.

Types of Structures
Generally there are 2 kinds of structures
1. Framed structures - walls makes just partition
2. Load bearing - wall is designed to take the load
Load bearing systems
Here we are interested in load bearing structures because
Load bearing systems are much more efficient than framed
It cuts the cost and energy required many fold without compromise in the strength of the
In framed structures the entire weight of the roof is concentrated on the few pillars and hence the
weight per unit area is very high in the order of tons/cm2 and so the life of the building is very less. It
also demands heavy foundation because of such high density. Whereas in load bearing masonry
structures the weight of the roof is shared all along the wall and hence the weight per unit area on the
wall is very less in the order of few 10s of kg/cm2. It also requires light foundation since it has to carry
only weight of the wall.

Types of soils
1. Expansive - expand when water is added, and shrink when they dry out
2. Non expansive - Doesnt react much with the addition of water
So when you take a dried soil in your hand and if it is very hard to break then it is expansive soil. If it
breaks very easily then it is non expansive soil. If it is black in color, it is expansive
In expansive soils, the soil expands and when it shrinks the building develops cracks. Generally in
expansive soils the construction is done in dry season because when construction is happened, it
doesnt allow soil to expand and the effect is low
The 3 main constituents of soil are:
1. Sand - particle from range 4.75mm to 75
2. Silt - particles from 75 to 2
3. Clay - particles size less than 2
- active material

Clay content plays a active role in the soil. Determines expansive or non expansive.

Soil preparation
Disadvantage of the pure mud is its wet compressive strength is zero. That is it can take heavy
loads in dry state but in wet state it cannot take heavy loads. To increase its compressive strength in
wet condition we add stabilizers like cement and lime to the mud.
In non expansive soils cement is the main stabilizer and in acidic soils lime is added to
neutralize the soil. Whereas in expansive soils, lime becomes main stabilizer along with the cement.
Guidelines for attaining good blocks:
In order to make the blocks with good strength the contents should be in the following range of
Sand - from 60 to 70%
- from 10 to 35%
Clay - from 5 to 15%
Higher the clay content demands more amount of stabilizer. To reduce the cost we dilute the
clay to 15% by adding sand. Presence of clay is also required. When the block is just made it is hold
intact because of the clay. If more silt is there we cannot achieve the density. Compaction becomes
difficult. That why limited to 35%.

75 Mesh:
Therefore the first step to decide the amount of stabilizer
to add is to know the amount of sand percentage. One easy way to
determine this is to wash the soil in a 75 mesh and then all the
silt and clay particles gets washed out and only sand remains.
We know the weight of the soil before washing and the
weight of sand to get the sand %.
Preparation of the mud mix:
Before collecting the soil, we see that the topsoil is removed and use the soil below 6 to 8
inches to avoid the presence of organic content that reduces the strength of the block. We need to
analyze the soil first to know the sand %, acidity and organic contents. If sand content is lesser then
we need to modify accordingly by adding the required amount of sand limiting the clay to 15% and
silt to 35%. pH also plays an important role in strength of the block. If pH is in the range of 6 to 8 we
can handle. For acidic soils we add lime up to 5% to neutralize. It is better to use the soil with less salt
content because it has effect on the strength of the brick.
The right proportion of cement, lime and sand that has to be added is determined by testing
the soil.
Time Lag determination:
The maximum allowed time lag between the preparation of mix and using it is 1 to 2 hours
and after that the strength of the wall starts reducing with time. 0 time lag mix gives the highest
strength. As the time passes the mix gets dried and hence it is added with water and used and as
water% increases the density will reduce and hence the strength also reduces. In masonry it is with
expertise we add water not by theory.
Minimum Strength required for the brick:
For a block made by any technique, higher the
density higher is the strength of the material. For a single
load bearing Structure, the minimum required strength is
3.5MPa. For 4 storied load bearing structure up to 10MPa
in the ground floor is required.
Wet compressive strength is the strength of the block
determined after soaking the block for 48 hours in water
Low carbon block
Now a days there is a fashionable term called low carbon block, that which uses minimum amount of
energy to produce. Using local materials is also important aspect of this. Efficiently use whatever
materials we have. We have to optimistic to get quality. Another aspect is the material should be
recyclable. All the three techniques discussed here are low carbon blocks

Stabilized Mud Block Technology:

Compressed Earth Block Machine:
The machine used to make the mud blocks is Mardini soil block press. Its rough weight is 180kg. It
consists of 3 parts
a) Lever attached to the plunger
b) Frame
c) Mould
When the lever touches the limb indicates the compaction is complete. There are 3 different sizes for

Production Capacity:
5 artisans working 8 hours produce 600 to 800 blocks /day
Procedure to make:
Separate the gravel by sieving with a mesh
Prepare prime mix after testing the soil
Add 7% cement. We can add to neutralize acidic soils
Add lime slurry 10 to 12% (Water soaked with lime stone overnight)
Mix thoroughly and make the blocks
Here we use composite mortar to bind the bricks. Mix of soil, sand and cement. Blocks are
kept as close as possible to prevent evaporation losses. Curing has to be done for 28 days to get
complete strength. But we can use blocks in 7 days. Remaining curing happens during construction
Practical example:
The properties of the soil taken are as follows:

Natural soil

Quarry dust

Sand %
Silt %
Clay %
Soil modification:
Now if we add 1.0 parts of quarry dust to 1 part of natural soil we get
Total amount = 2.0 kg
Sand (%) = (0.525 + 0.88) / 2.0 = 70.25 %.
Silt (%) = (0.23 + 0.12)/ 2.0 = 17.50 %.
Clay (%) = (0.245) / 2.0
= 12.25 %.

The Fresh density of the soil is 2.05gms/cc. In this practical session, we used quarry dust to
dilute the clay since it is economical. 7% cement is added. The ratio is like 9 scoops soil, 3 scoops
quarry dust 1 scoop cement and use lime slurry.

Block sizes available

230 X 190 X 100 mm (9 X 7.5 X 4)
305 X 143 X 100 mm (12 X 5.75 X 4)
230 X 108 X 100 mm (9 X 4.5 X 4)
Precaution while preparing mud mix:
Since the mix dries with time, we dont make in large quantities and we make in batches of
amount required for 25 blocks. In peak summer it is much lesser since it dries very fast. Best way to
mix is that there are no lumps. Mixing is very critical to get good
quality block. Generally at the end we mix it again with hand for
Lime slurry preparation:
1 kg slaked lime added with roughly 8 to 10lit water to
make lime slurry. Sometimes soil contains water and hence we
have to mix and see how much water is required
Curing is the process of regular hydration of the earth
blocks for the cement to settle.

Masonry design:
Determination the thickness of the wall for a given strength with a particular material. Public
buildings and community buildings require more strength than residential

Stabilized Adobe:
Adobe is sun dried mud bricks. The only difference between mud block and adobe is
compression; mud blocks are compressed in a machine with minimum addition of water whereas
adobe bricks are prepared with comparatively more amount of water and shaped in moulds and dried
in sun until it gets full strength
Bring the soil into proper consistency and make it into moulds. Ensure that the entrapped air
is minimum. Place the brick from the mould on a plane surface in reverse direction and remove the
mould. Leave it undisturbed for 12 hours since it has higher water content that is 16 to 18%.
Different shapes can be achieved. Since it is stabilized, curing is required. After 7 days we can use

Cornice blocks

Stabilized Rammed Earth

In this technique instead of compacting the soil, we ram it directly to achieve higher density
and compacted in layers. For repetitive structures we can make lengthy moulds and can construct
very fast. When it is watered clay comes to the surface and looks like a plastered structure and gives
good aesthetics. Therefore thicker walls are required to overcome vulnerability to the rains and
termite problems. Soil, sand and gravel are materials used and stabilizer is added. Sand and gravel in
45 to 80% silt to 30%
Processing the soil
Setting up the former (mould)
Compacting the soil in layers
Curing the wall
Processing of soil
All the lumps has to broken. 5mm sieve is generally used. Then mixing with proper proportion.
Generally 7% cement and after dry mix is made. Last step is mixing water.
Water is essentially a lubricant. If excess water is added, water goes and occupies the space soil has to
occupy and hence required density cannot be achieved. While ramming the mould should not bulge.
There are different types of mould like simple wooden mould or sophisticated steel mould. Generally
a gap is left between the different stages and later filled with different mix

Shrinkage cracks- Come at every 5feet in irregular shapes and has to be finished again
In western countries pneumatic rammers are used. After demoulding we need curing since it is a
stabilized wall.

Comparison of the techniques:

For wall made with any technology, higher the density higher is the strength. So it depends on
the way and skill of the artisan. Density = Mass / volume. Therefore more the compression happens,
more the density. If achieve same density whatever is the technique, then the strength will be same.
Generally adobe bricks perform very well if the mixing is proper. It withstands rain without
any plastering. In Rajasthan adobe practice is very much alive

Different types of non conventional construction materials

Several types of Industrial wastes can be used in construction
Foundry Sand:- waste from automobile industries
Pozzolana materials:- Soils that contain lot of aluminium and silicon content. It has binding
properties like cement

Portland pozzolanic cement:- Fly ash when added with this in presence of lime. This cement will
take lot of time to get full strength.
GGBS - Ground granulated blast-furnace slag. This is produced from wastes of steel plants
Rice husk ash - In combination with lime works as a good construction material
Quarry dust - It might contain silt particles. We dont use for reinforced concrete purpose
Manufactured sand - they separate the different size particles and hence can be used in RCC
Composite mortar - we are completely eliminating river sand purpose and use only quarry dust.
Quarry dust will be effective only when we use combination of soil and lime slurry
Rich sand - particles with fine size
Pond ash - Byproduct of thermal industry. Can be replacement for sand in concrete manufacturing
Steel slag - we can use for pcc not for concrete
Burning clay at higher temperature becomes pozzolanic
Lime There is plenty of scope regarding the lime. So many artisans and skill is lost in using lime.
Always lime can be utilized in our construction. Excellent mortar can be made.
We can use broken ceramic and cheramzile for decoration
Light weight concrete: In Bangalore space is not available to there is tendency to grow vertically. So
to reduce the load wall thickness is reduced or density of wall material make it as light as possible,
other concept is make roof as light as possible. We get lightweight concrete material which can even
float in water.

Alternate roofing
Different types of roofing concepts
Filler slab
Beam panel roofing system
Unreinforced masonry roofs
Unreinforced masonry vaulting systems
Filler Slab:
In a regular RCC slab, neutral axis is axis where there is no compressive force and tensile
force. One side of the neutral axis has compressive stress and other side of neutral axis has tensile
stress. Concrete is very good in compression but not good at tensile strength so we introduced steel to
If we analyze, the concrete present in the tensile zone doesnt have any role other than
protention. So in this technique we replace the concrete in the tensile zone with material lighter and
cheaper than concrete.
From the support till 6 inches we do not give any filler material and this zone is called shear
zone. Normally when we use mud block as filler material, then we give 3 inches gap between each
unit. If we use ceramic tiles we can use continuous without any gaps.

The arrangement is like this you do the normal shuttering as you do in case of regular RCC
slabs and above that you starting arranging your filler material. So the filler material and the
reinforcement spacings are governed by the type of slab you are working structurally

Comparison of conventional with filler slab:

Amount of steel use is more in case of conventional RCC slab then filler slab and the concrete
requirement is also greatly reduced without any sacrifice in the lifespan of the roof.
General tendency of the people is that they use steel more than what is required. This is called
over-reinforce. When you do over-reinforce concrete fails first and steel remain as it is and this does
not give you warning as concrete doesnt give any warning before failure.
Whereas steel gives warning by giving some deviation in under reinforce structure and people
has the chance to shift before the building fails. Therefore generally we do under reinforce or
balanced reinforce.
Normally when the roof is made the surface should be form finish surface so that no
plastering is required. Otherwise plastering of the roof increases the cost which is of no use.
There are several examples of filler materials which one need to explore. In Bihar where burns bricks
are available at very low cost. Density of burn bricks is very less than concrete. Even coconut shell
can be used as filler material.
Composite Beam panel roofing system
One of the main flaws with the conventional RCC roof is its thickness which also makes it
heavier. Less than 50% of its weight is needed to carry the loads on a normal slab which is used as an
intermediate floor. The slab can be made less costly and also more structurally efficient by reducing
its thickness.
The composite beam and panel roof is one such technique where beams and panels are prefabricated and assembled in such a way that the assembly works as a single structural roofing system.
Typically, the panels are placed on beams which are used along the smaller dimension of the roof and
the two are joined together with connectors and in-situ concrete which binds the whole system.
Jack arch panel roofs:

Flat beam panel roof:

The beams are pre casted using concrete, rammed earth, clay tiles etc. The main important thing is the
beams and panels together so that it acts as combined T.

Recently rammed earth panels are with dimensions 2feet*2feet with thickness of 3inches. The beam
where it is resting on the wall should be concrete.

Building with composite beams and panels

Unreinforced masonry vaulting systems:

The main difference between beam and a vaulted structure is that a beam when loaded will
have only vertical reactions whereas in arches, domes and vaults, along with the vertical reactions,
there is also horizontal thrust. To resists these thrust, we need edge beams. If the span of edge beam is
very long we break it in intermittent positions to hold it in its position which is called typing. In old
days there is no edge beams and the wall itself is designed to take the thrust.

Since masonry is good at compression, we try to keep all the stresses in compressive zone
then the best shape is a curve is like this in figure. This is called catenary shape. To explain if we hold
a loose chain between two points, it takes this catenary shape. Here all the points will be in tension
and no point is in compression. If we invert this shape, all the points will be in compression. So we do
the vaulted structure in this shape.
Once the wall is raised to the springing level. We first put the edge beam and tie them in
position then build the end wall. Here we dont use any centering, it is done by using a moving
template. Then we start from one end. One important thing we need to understand is that vault is also
like a two way slab and requires support from four sides. Two sides it is supported by edge beam, one
side is from end wall and other side from template. You keep the template such that centre to centre
distance is equal to that of masonry unit. The masonry unit can be stabilized adobe, stabilized mud
brick or clay block or fired brick. So the procedure is like we keep the templates on a wooden wedge
and the template will have a hinge. So one the vault is completed until this point we remove the
wedge and rotate the hinge and bring down.

We can even build a vaulted roof for terrace. In this case we build a series of vaults with
smaller span and fill the spaces to arrive at a considerable flat terrace. There are also tie rods with dia
8mm connecting the edge beams on both the sides of the vault to overcome the horizontal thrust.
In the vaulted structures there is no reinforcement in the roof but there is reinforcement in the
edge beams and the ties. We can design it as a top roof or as an intermediate floor slab.


These work on same principle as vaults but it is hemi spherical in shape. In tanjavur even
today we see many structures with vaults and domes. In domes the edge beam is in shape of a ring
called ring beam. From elephants temple in vijanagar empire
If you do a hemi spherical dome there will be tensile stress developed at the base. In order to
ensure that the entire dome is under compression we do a segmental dome
Once the wall is constructed, we have a ring beam since horizontal thrust has to be taken by
something. Without help of any centering we construct using guide fixed at the bottom and rotate to
get the position of the masonry units to achieve that curvature.

Masons has a practice of building shallow domes for roofing. It is done with a centering and
the central rise would be 8inches to 9 inches. We can fill the gaps to get the floor space. They tried to
do a load test on the dome and they had 12 feet by 12 feet and the central rise would be 8 inches.
When a load test is tried to do on the dome, the central deflection would be 1.05mm after applying a
load of 10kN/m2 and after 7 days there is a deflection of 1.5mm which is called as creep. In ordinary
conditions the load will be 210kN/m2 and hence this kind of roofing is a good alternative to the
regular roofing
For builging arches, vaults and domes no requirement of any wedge shaped bricks. We can
use regular bricks. To build dome on a squared room the edges can be covered by using arches.
The mortar we use consistency varies as we go from bottom to top. On the top we use rich
mortar. A temporary weight is kept on the dome so the bricks will be squeezed and tight while
Water proofing
Water proofing is very important aspect in the building and has to be taken care. Steel gets
rusted and building gets collapsed. Many buildings collapse every year in Mumbai because of bad
maintenance. Good practice is to use a weather proof tile and give good slope
Question by piyush prabhu
How to decide which technique we have to use:
There is no much difference between the techniques. Rammed earth gives very smooth finish
and good aesthetics where an adobe gives lines which are also aesthetics. The strength is more or less
the same in all the techniques when we are able to achieve that density. There are so many issues to
compare the techniques

When we work with expansive soils, then stabilized adobe gives lot of comfort to work with
and easy to work with such soils since we add more water in this technique
Earth quake resistance
In India our education in earth quack resistance system is in very bad state. There are many
precautions to be taken care while designing the building, such that the building will not collapse
during earth quake
It is very easy to design masonry earth quake resistant buildings. There are two techniques.
Fist technique is to use a build a bridge in every fourth column that is keeping a extended metal like a
weld mesh or expanded mesh. And the second technique is to use a railing below the 9inch wall and
Long walls in a masonry design should be avoided or we can build partition walls to give
sufficient support. Now days they are replacing steel with another reinforce element in order to make
the building earth quake resistant.

Architecture and Design

Rhythm of nature
Nature has a rhythm, in morning it is cool then the temperature picks up in the afternoon and
in evening it get cooler and also there are seasonal changes. So we can see there is effect on building
by nature by rhythm. Most of us we try to build having uniform temperature, light, air condition
throughout the year. We like to see that architecture should bring all variations without stressing too
much. We are aiming of less electricity and design that make life comfortable.
Even the heat released from the body and the air circulation to vent out the heat should also
be considered in designing the building.
Passive Design
In modern world we are living by gadgets like heaters, air conditioners and coolers, which use
lot of external energy and spoils environment. With proper design we try to reduce their requirement
with many passive design techniques
Traditional buildings:
The shapes of the buildings are ideal to the climatic conditions
In northern parts of India: Where the extreme cold temperatures are met, the buildings are more
cubical and compact. Surface area is made very low. Because we dont want to cool the building.
In hot and arid regions (dry): Buildings are again compact and there is courtyard to bring some
ventilation. Not only buildings are compact but also in a village all the buildings come closer with
narrow lanes. So that one gets shaded by others
In hot and humid regions: Buildings used to be longish. Because stretched out building will gets
cool down fast. Catch as much air movement as possible. Buildings are very spacious with lot of
distance between each of them

Temperature maintenance:
If the roof is flat the room gets heated up quickly and if there are curves and shapes in the roof, then
some part of the room gets heated and other part is not, hence there will be movement in the air and
the room will not get heated to that extent due to circulation. There are many passive techniques for
cooling and heating the room.
Night cooling: Sky is a big sink since and hence some part of building if it is open up, gives comfort
for some part of the year
Windows design:
Windows has two important functions. One is bringing in the day light and other is ventilation
Designing windows consists of 3 important factors
Window location
Once you designed considering these factors. Most of the cases sunshade is necessary. Cost of the
window is nearly 5 to 10 times the wall cost. Therefore the number of openings in the building
increases the building cost. % of opening increases the cost of the building. Therefore we need to
optimize between the cost and thermal comfort.
The % of opening depends on the amount of floor area in the room. It depends on the climate also in
hot and humid areas the percentage increases as more ventilation is required and in hot and dry
regions, the % comes down
Arches perform well than lintels Transfers the load to the pillars and performs well and can
withstands more loads
Solar chimney:
Solar chimney can be part of roofing. Both heating and cooling happens with no fuel usage

In iit they used a technique that there is a big pipe below the ground that sucks cool air and a draught
fan sucks that cool air into the room

Air flow design:

In case of Cross ventilation, air flows straight and doesnt circulate through the room. If we
create situation that air is forced to flow through different locations of room that would be better
Relative size of inlet and outlet:
General tendency is that if air is coming from south or west better to keep a big window that
side. If we want to create air movement with velocity inside the room, window size should be smaller
on the side where the air enters. We can distribute the windows into two small windows. And on the
opposite side, where wind is going out try to give window as big as possible.
This case there will be 52% increase in the air velocity where as the reverse case it reduces
the velocity.
Day light
Day light plays an important aspect. Saves a lot of energy required for illumination.
Light shelf: A light shelf is a horizontal surface that reflects daylight deep into a building. Light
shelves are placed above eye-level and have high-reflectance upper surfaces, which reflect daylight
onto the ceiling and deeper into the space.
Even in industries, it saves a lot of energy consumption.

Combined design
For arid regions we can use trees near the windows gives lot of comfort. When transpiration happens
through leaves the temperature comes down and dust particles also gets reduced under tree for same
reason. We can identify the important trees for shading and they also purify the air
Therefore while designing if we combine landscape and building elements together, then a better
micro climate can be created.
Roof gardening or terrace gardening:
grow creepers to grow around the building
Pull down temperature
Kitchen garden
Recycling the waste water
Not only passive things but also we can use active elements like solar panels on roof top. In bigger
cities we can connect to grid also. In Bangalore they allow to contribute to the grid.

In both England and Germany example - one Sunday they produced so much energy from the roofs
that they have to bring down the price of Electricity because so much electricity produced at that time

Settlement cracks
The cracks that appear on the walls whenever the land on the foundation is laid gets compacted due to
rains and the foundations sink down. These cracks happens whatever block is used whether mud
block or concrete block. Reinforced concrete elements also can crack.

If the settlement happens uniformly then the cracks would not be appearing but the level changes.
Most the cases the settlement will be differential settlement and hence cracks appear in the wall.
Cracks moves along the weakest points.
One has to be very careful while deciding what kind of foundation will be very suitable for the type of
soil and the load. We have to check the strata will be able to bear the load and we have to design the
width of the foundation. Strata are the hard layer of the earth that is nearest layer of rock and gravel
under the ground.
Geotechnical survey
In general structural engineers he only sees safe load bearing capacity and builds but a Geo technical
engineer surveys the land and suggests the best possible method by considering many aspects
A geotechnical survey is the first step in the construction or consolidation of a site. It includes
information about soil consistency and structure, groundwater level and recommendations for the
technical project. Following the drilling, the samples collected from the ground are taken to the lab for
Bond stones
Bond stones are used in olden days also called as tie stone where it is kept to horizontal position
perpendicular to the layers of stones to bind the stones
Piling the soil
Sometimes we end up in soils which are very soft and safe load bearing capacity is very low like
5tons/m2. Then the geo technical engineers recommend increasing the density the soil.
Different techniques to increase density of soil:

Sand piling the piling rod is of 3 inches width is beaten in the soil until the point it is very
hard to go and it is filled with sand.
Lime piling - effective for the soft soils and same as sand piling. In black cotton soils, lime
piling is recommended. We keep burnt lime stone
Wood piling some places it is very difficult and then wood piling is used until the point and
Well ring piling - In some special case where there the hard strata is 10 feet below the ground
level, this technique is used.

Foundation design:
Generally Load analysis of the whole building is done and the load per meter length of wall is
calculated. Then the available pressure on the soils is observed. Pressure on foundation per metre2 is
calculated and what is the maximum load strata can take is calculated. And then we design the width
of the foundation such that the load per meter2 is within the limits.
When geo technical investigation is done they give information for 25mm settlement. We can
reduce the problems of settlements. No one can assure crack free buildings. Even in load bearing
masonry also we can change the wall if it cracks but it rarely done. In Kolkata they use bricks for
foundation, stone is not available. Even in Chennai

Wall Design
Then for wall design: can be done in 2 ways
1. What should be the thickness of the wall for 1st , 2nd floor etc.. for a given Strength of block
2. We fix the thickness of the wall and calculate the required strength of the masonry unit
There is code for masonry deign. IS1905 CODE OF PRACTICE FOR STRUCTURAL USEOF

The ratio of the effective length of a column to the least radius of gyration of its cross section is called
the slenderness ratio (sometimes expressed with the Greek letter lambda, ). This ratio affords a
means of classifying columns as short, intermediate and long. In masonry also slenderness ratio is
defined as ratio of effective height to the effective thickness of the wall. Here term effective is very

important in case of hollow bricks and walls. To find out effective thickness the code and description
is given in IS 1905.
The bottom most brick will be having the maximum load as it carries entire weight of building
and transfers to foundation. Compressive stress is calculated as Load/area
There are certain stress reduction factors.
Area reduction factor
Shape modification factor
Basic compressive stress divided by these factors gives actual compressive stress.
3 storied building. Thickness of the wall is 9 inches. What should be the strength of the brick to
support that load. Masonry unit is mud block. The middle wall is receiving the maximum stress. If we
arrive at the strength required for the middle wall, then it satisfies the Strength required for all the
Generally we have certain cement % for ground floor and secondfloor and third.
So the thickness of the slab is mentioned as 130mm.
Floor height is 3m. thickness of wall is 230mm and density of unit is 20MPa.
Answer is : Load is calculated. Effective height is calculated. Slenderness ratio is calculated. Actual
stress is found.
Finally wet compressive strength is calculated as 4.7MPa.
Calculating for the second and third floor it becomes still further less and hence the % of the cement
in the block is calculated.

Inspirng Examples
Built with pressed soil-cement blocks (1965)

With hand rammed soil-cement blocks (1949)

Cement Stabilized Rammed-earth housing in

karnal Haryana (1948)

Asphalt stabilized adobe building at


Dormitory building (unstabilized) at Ungra

village, Kunigal Tq, Karnataka (1978)

House in Keelara (part stabilized) Kunigal

Tq, Karnataka (1980)