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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
PracticaI Answers 5udan
The Practical Answers to Poverty Service
The
Const r uct i on
of t he
Ti mber l ess
House Model
A st ep by st ep guide wit h phot ographs
and t echnical drawings
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
Ack now l edgement s
Ext ended t hanks are given t o t he course part icipant s from Abu Showk camp, for t heir excellent
at t it ude during t he t raining and workshops. Wit h regards t o t his manual t hanks are also given t o
t he building consult ant s Yousef Hasan Adam and Ali Alzubair. Yousef wrot e t he original manual
in Arabic and Ali Alzubair drew t he t echnical drawings found at t he back of t he manual.
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
1. I nt roduct ion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 4
2. Using mud as an alt ernat ive building mat erial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 8
3. Mat erial and Equipment List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 10
4. Building I nst ruct ions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 13
5. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. p 23
6. Technical Drawings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . p 24
7. Cont act I nformat ion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 33
Cont ent s
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
The Const r uct i on of t he Ti mber l ess
House Model
1. I nt r oduct i on
1.1. Dar f ur : The Housi ng Pr obl em and a Sol ut i on
The confict in Darfur, which most analysts judge to have started in 2003 has had a
devast at ing effect on t he region. Many of t he int ernally displaced people ( I DPs) who
were forced to fee their homes have ended up living in make-shift camps around the
major cities such as Alfashir, Algeneina and Nyala.
Upon t heir ret urn back t o t heir original villages, ret urnees are going t o face numerous
diffculties, the most signifcant of which will be the mass destruction of local
infrast ruct ure and homes.
1.2. Sur vey
I n 2006 Pract ical Act ion Sudan decided t o conduct a survey in Abu Showk I DP camp in
Al Fashir t o ident ify building designs and t ypes of mat erials used by t he I DPs in t heir
home villages. The survey revealed t he following:
• The I DPs in t he camp have come from different areas ( namely Korma, Tawilla,
Kutum and Kabkabia) and belong to different ethnic groups in North Darfur.
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
• I n Korma and Tawilla most of
t he houses are made of mud.
While in Jabel Si where t he area
is mount ainous people built t heir
homes out of st ones
• Roofs are most commonly made
from st raw and wood
• People live in ext ended family
set t ings, parent s and t heir
children living t oget her in a
number of hut s surrounded by
huge fences made of st raw.
• There is a short age of skilled
masons in rural areas; const ruct ion
work is usually carried out t hrough
“Nafr” (bringing people together
t o help someone in need)
• Women are the major force in the construction market
• Scarcity of water is a defning characteristic of Darfur.
Special at t ent ion must be given t o address t his problem
before st art ing const ruct ion act ivit ies.
1.3. Wor k shop
Rebuilding of shelt er for t he ret urnees is a huge t ask t hat
requires t remendous resources from all concerned. To assist
in t his t ask, a one day workshop was convened in El Fashir
in early 2006 and was held at t he Labour Hall in t he cent re
of t he t own. The part icipant s were 56 persons represent ing
government institutions, local NGOs, INGOs, UN agencies
and I DPs communit y leaders. The workshop arrived at some
int erest ing recommendat ions t hat will shape fut ure direct ion of
all effort s in t his regard.
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
1.4. I mpr ov ed shel t er t r ai ni ng and
model const r uct i on
The abilit y t o build permanent
houses for t he ret urnees depends
on t he availabilit y of mat erials and
t he exist ence of labour and skills. To
t his effect 70 t rainees were select ed
and received t raining for 21 days on
alt ernat ive shelt er, building mat erials
and building designs. The objective
of t he t raining was t wo fold: t o
int roduce new building mat erials
available locally for low cost housing
t o be used by t he ret urnees in t heir
areas and t o have t rained builders
for t he new int ervent ion.
buildings in t he Sudanese cit ies and
villages. This t ype of roof can be
traced back to the ancient Nubians
which live in the North of Sudan.
I t was resurrect ed by t he Egypt ian
archit ect , Hassan Fat hy who applied
it on several houses and t heat ers
in t he sout h of Egypt . I n t he case
of Darfur, it could play a big part in
solving t he problem of housing. I t s
advant ages are:
1. I t s archit ect ural shape conforms
wit h t he older version of housing
known as a ‘durdar ’ and t herefore
it is popular wit h many rural
people
The curriculum for t he t raining consist ed of t heoret ical and
pract ical part s wit h special emphasis on pract ical applicat ion t o
all steps of the construction process. The training fnished with
t he complet ion of four demonst rat ion housing unit s which were
different in design and ut ilised different building mat erials. The
t raining was convened at a piece of land at Um Shigaira which
was provided by t he Minist ry of Housing and Physical Planning
to a Womens Group who was to use the housing models as a
t raining cent er once t hey were complet ed.
1.5. The Dome Roof ed House as a Vi abl e Al t er nat i ve
Following t he building of t he four demonst rat ion houses t he
consensus of opinion of t hose who t ook part was t hat t he most
appropriat e design was t he dome roofed house model ( also
referred t o as t he t imberless house model as it is built wit hout
t he use of wood) . The t rait s and charact erist ics of t he dome
roofed house make it a suit able alt ernat ive t o ot her forms of
2. The mat erials needed t o build it are easily accessible in
most regions – such as mud and ot her addit ives including
st raw and dung
3. I t can be built quit e easily and quickly and in addit ion it
requires no ext ra skills
4. The t emperat ure is preserved as t he mud act s as an
insulat or
5. The absence of any wood in t he building mat erials helps
prot ect t he environment reducing t he consumpt ion of
wood
Therefore t he purpose of t his manual is t o give guidance and
inst ruct ions on how t o build it so it may be replicat ed. I t is
support ed by drawings and pict ures t hat illust rat e and help t o
clarify t he inst ruct ions. The manual also aims t o show how
locally available mat erials can be used as appropriat e building
mat erials.
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
1.4. I mpr oved shel t er t r ai ni ng and
model const r uct i on
The abilit y t o build permanent
houses for t he ret urnees depends
on t he availabilit y of mat erials and
t he exist ence of labour and skills. To
t his effect 70 t rainees were select ed
and received t raining for 21 days on
alt ernat ive shelt er, building mat erials
and building designs. The objective
of t he t raining was t wo fold: t o
int roduce new building mat erials
available locally for low cost housing
t o be used by t he ret urnees in t heir
areas and t o have t rained builders
for t he new int ervent ion.
buildings in t he Sudanese cit ies and
villages. This t ype of roof can be
traced back to the ancient Nubians
which live in the North of Sudan.
I t was resurrect ed by t he Egypt ian
archit ect , Hassan Fat hy who applied
it on several houses and t heat ers
in t he sout h of Egypt . I n t he case
of Darfur, it could play a big part in
solving t he problem of housing. I t s
advant ages are:
1. I t s archit ect ural shape conforms
wit h t he older version of housing
known as a ‘durdar ’ and t herefore
it is popular wit h many rural
people
The curriculum for t he t raining consist ed of t heoret ical and
pract ical part s wit h special emphasis on pract ical applicat ion t o
all steps of the construction process. The training fnished with
t he complet ion of four demonst rat ion housing unit s which were
different in design and ut ilised different building mat erials. The
t raining was convened at a piece of land at Um Shigaira which
was provided by t he Minist ry of Housing and Physical Planning
to a Womens Group who was to use the housing models as a
t raining cent er once t hey were complet ed.
1.5. The Dome Roof ed House as a Vi abl e Al t er nat i ve
Following t he building of t he four demonst rat ion houses t he
consensus of opinion of t hose who t ook part was t hat t he most
appropriat e design was t he dome roofed house model ( also
referred t o as t he t imberless house model as it is built wit hout
t he use of wood) . The t rait s and charact erist ics of t he dome
roofed house make it a suit able alt ernat ive t o ot her forms of
2. The mat erials needed t o build it are easily accessible in
most regions – such as mud and ot her addit ives including
st raw and dung
3. I t can be built quit e easily and quickly and in addit ion it
requires no ext ra skills
4. The t emperat ure is preserved as t he mud act s as an
insulat or
5. The absence of any wood in t he building mat erials helps
prot ect t he environment reducing t he consumpt ion of
wood
Therefore t he purpose of t his manual is t o give guidance and
inst ruct ions on how t o build it so it may be replicat ed. I t is
support ed by drawings and pict ures t hat illust rat e and help t o
clarify t he inst ruct ions. The manual also aims t o show how
locally available mat erials can be used as appropriat e building
mat erials.
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
2. Usi ng Mud as an al t er nat i ve bui l di ng mat er i al
Clay is readily available in Sudan, alt hough it s propert ies and colour differ from one
region to the next. In the south and Nuba Mountains it is a red coloured substance that
cont ains iron while in Dabal in cent ral Sudan it is black.
One of the most important tasks for those wishing to use clay for building is to fnd out
t he qualit y of t he clay in t he area. There are a number of indigenous ways of doing t his
which do not require excessive amount s of measuring equipment , t hree of t hese are
out lined below. However if you desire more accurat e ways of det ermining t he qualit y of
clay, please cont act t he Pract ical Answers Team.
2.1. Shr i nk Test
a) Choose a small amount of soil t hat is t o be t est ed and mix it int o a dough like
mixt ure. Put t he mixt ure on a plast ic sheet and beat it t o remove air and produce
a good consist ent mixt ure.
b) Following t his t he mixt ure should be rolled bet ween your hands unt il it is long
and t hin ( see pict ure 1) , measuring 10 cm in lengt h and t hen left t o dry for 24
hours. Using t he rule it should be measured again t o see how much t he clay has
shrunk. I deally for good qualit y clay it should not have shrunk more t han 10%
Pi c 1. The mud should be mixed wit h wat er t o form a
st ickysubst ance
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
of it s lengt h. Therefore, in t his
example it should st ill be at least
90 mm ( see pict ures 2 and 3) .
2.2. I nspect i on usi ng t he senses
First ly it is possible t o get an indicat or
of t he amount of clay cont ained in t he
soil by simply looking at t he surface
of t he eart h; if large cracks are
found on t he surface t here is a good
chance t hat t here is clay present . You
can also t est t he qualit y of t he clay
t hrough t ouch. I f t he soil is clayey
you will fnd it diffcult to crumble it
in your fngers. Furthermore, when
you mix t he clay wit h a lit t le wat er if
t he soil is clayey it will st ick t o your
hand and leave a st ain.
2.3. Test i ng w i t h a bot t l e:
a) Prepare a clean and t ransparent bot t le which one could see
through. Partially fll the bottle with soil and add water.
Shake t he mixt ure well and put t he bot t le in a suit able
place and leave t o set t le. Aft er t wo hours lift t he bot t le and
examine it s cont ent s.
b) Normally the more coarse particles of sand will form in
layers at t he bot t om wit h t he soft mud layer on t op. The
amount of mud in t he soil is det ermined according t o it s
height . For good qualit y unburnt bricks t he level of mud
should at least exceed 60%.
c) I f t he clay you t est has in excess of 60% mud t hen it is
suit able for use and should be mixed wit h animal dung or
grass. I f t he mud cont ent is less t han 60% it should not
be used.
Pi c 2.Wet clayrolledint oasausageshape100mminlengt h Pi c 3. I n t his example t he clay had shrunk t o 93 mm a shrinkage
rat eof7%whichisaccept able
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
3. Mat er i al and Equi pment Li st
3.1 Mat er i al Li st ( Omdur man Pr i ces Oct ober , 2008)
No. Descr i pt i ons Uni t
Pr i ce per
Uni t SDG
Amount Tot al SDG
1 Mud t o be beat en for green brick m
3
10 20 200
2 Muna ( clay and wat er) t o t ie up t he brick m³ 10 10 100
3 Sand (fne) m
3
15 8 120
4 Donkey dung and st raw mix sack 6 10 60
5 Cement sack 35 6 x 50 kg 210
6 Wire mesh ( arnab) 3 met er roll 45 1 45
7 Sand ( coarse) m
3
15 6 90
8 St eel ring clamp for Dome Roof support One piece 250 1 250
9 Asphalt for plast ering t in 35 3 105
10 Arch door 2 x 1 met ers 1 300 1 300
11 Arch window 80 x 60 cm 1 frame 100 1 100
12 Chimney ( Met al roof cover) 1 50 1 50
13 Lime ( int ernal plast ering) 1 sack 6 1 6
14 Gum Powder kg 8 5 40
15 Wat er barrel 3 50 150
Tot al 1826
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
3.2 Mat er i al Li st ( Al Fashi r Pr i ces Oct ober 2008, w her e avai l abl e)
No. Descr i pt i ons Uni t
Pr i ce per Uni t
SDG
Amount
Tot al
SDG
1 Mud t o be beat en for green brick m
3
Free 20 0
2
Muna ( clay and wat er) t o st ick t he
bricks t oget her
m³ Free 10 0
3 Sand (fne) m
3
Free 8 0
4 Donkey dung and st raw mix sack 4 10 40
5 Cement sack 45 6 x 50 kg 270
6 Wire mesh ( arnab) 1 roll 45 1 45
7 Sand ( coarse) m
3
Free 6 0
8 St eel ring for Dome Roof support One piece 250 1 250
9
Asphalt (Gum Arabic) for
plast ering
Big Tin 80 3 240
10 Arch door 2 x 1 met ers 1
Recycled oil drum
150 SDG
1 100
11 Arch window 80 x 60 cm 1 frame
recycled oil drum
50 SDG
1 50
12 Chimney ( Met al roof cover) 1 50 1 50
13 Lime ( int ernal plast ering) 1 sack 6 1 6
14 Gum Powder kg 2. 5 5 12
15 Wat er barrel 6 50 300
Tot al 1353
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
3.3 Equi pment Li st
No.
Descr i pt i ons Amount
1
Drill 2
2
Spade 2
3
Hoe / Toria 2
4
Rake / kuruk 1
5
Green Brick Mould 30 x 20 x 10 2
6
Green Brick Mould 22 x 11 x 7 2
7
Spirit Level 1
8
Plast ering Tool ( Must areen) 2
9
Tape Measure 1
10
Building St ring 1 roll
11
Trowel Plast erboard 1
12
Axe / Bult a 1
13
Plast erboard / Tasheena ( Cement smoot hing t ray) 1
14
Plast erboard / Taloosh 1
15
Chisel / Agina 2
16
Ladder 3
17
Sagala ( Small wooden ladder) 1
18
Compass for measuring t he dome 1
19
Met al pegs ( 40 cm) 5
20
St eel ring clamp ( 2 part s) 2
21
Ring clamp nut and Bolt (4” length and 1/4” thread) 4
3.4. The Cost of t he house and
community building “Nafr”
The t able 3. 2 above shows a t able
of cost s for mat erials in Alfashir,
North Darfur. As can be seen
from t his t able t he t ot al cost s are
1,353 SDG. To reach this low cost
it is not necessary t o have such
high qualit y doors and windows
as shown in t his manual. I t is
possible t o make suit able doors
and windows from used it ems
such as met al oil drums.
Also t he aim is for t hese houses
t o be built t hrough t radit ional
communit y building t echniques.
This is where one family asks
neighbours, family and friends t o
help t hem in building t he house in
ret urn for food and drink. This will
signifcantly reduce any perceived
labour cost s.
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
4. Bui l di ng I nst r uct i ons
4.1. Pr epar i ng t he si t e
Before embarking on preparing t he sit e t he following procedures must t ake place:
Aut horit y should be grant ed by t he landowner or permit s should be obt ained if t he
land is government owned before work commences. Additionally a signifcant amount
of wat er should be st ored next t o t he work sit e and t he sit e cleared from rubble,
t rees and grass; removing all debris wit h a brush.
4.2. Mak i ng t he br i ck s.
The next st ep is t he forming of t he mud bricks; t hese mud bricks will form t he walls
and roof. To st art , t he t ype of mud must be chosen and should be light and cont ain
no less t han 30% sand. Wat er is added wit h addit ives such as st raw or dung t o
reduce t he last icit y of t he clay as well as reducing it s weight . The mixt ure needs
t o be st irred cont inuously which can t ake some t ime unt il t he correct consist ency is
achieved. Suit able moulding cast s should be prepared for t he work. The t echnical
drawing on page 32 shows t he dimensions for a moulding cast for t he large green
brick, see diagram 1. A suit able size moulding cast can be made for t he smaller
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
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green brick ( diagram 4, p19) which is
used for the roof. Once the mixture
has been beat en t he bricks can be
formed in one of t wo ways:
Met hod 1. Removing wat er in t he
moulding cast : Slope Moulding
The met al or wooden moulding cast s
must be washed and cleaned in a
bucket or container full of water. Next,
t he mud must be cut and shaped in
t he moulding cast , before t he cast is
removed. The mud should be one
frm piece with no signs of cracks
or unevenness. The mud should be
pressed so t hat t here are sharp well
defned corners.
Met hod 2. Removing wat er using sand: Sand Moulding
Once again the cast should be cleaned in water in a bucket
or cont ainer. This t ime t he mould is lined wit h sand t o form
an insulat ed layer so t he mud can slide out easier when t he
mould is lift ed. This gives t he brick ext ra qualit y and more
rigid edges. However t he downside of t his t echnique is t hat it
is slower so invariably the builders prefer the frst method.
Drying t he bricks is t he next st age and is considered a key
part of t he brick making process. The bricks should be left in
t he open air t o dry for a t ot al of t hree days unt il all t he wat er
dries out . I t is bet t er t hat t he bricks are made at t he same
building sit e so t hat t hey do not crack while being moved.
Di agr am 1. LargeGreenBrick( Walls)
Dimensionsincm
Pi c 4.Apart icipant usingamouldingcast forbrickproduct ion
30
20
10
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
4.3. Mar k i ng t he Foundat i ons
On a fat clean surface an
appropriat e point for t he cent er of
t he building is chosen and an iron
peg is put in t he ground t o mark
it . A piece of rope or t ape is t ied
at one end t o t his peg and at t he
ot her end t o a peg t hat is used for
marking. This device can now be
used t o mark t he posit ion of t he
foundat ions. The peg is used t o
mark a circle on t he ground wit h
a radius of 2 met ers. A second
circle is drawn wit h a radius of
2.5 meters. Once the lines have
been drawn chalk or lime can be
used t o embolden t hem.
4.4. Bui l di ng t he Foundat i ons
The 50 cm wide area for t he foundat ions is dug t o a dept h of 50
– 70 cm. This small dept h is enough due t o t he light weight of
t he building t hat will sit above t hese foundat ions. Accuracy is
import ant when digging t he foundat ions and a measuring device
such as a t ape measure should be const ant ly used t o check t he
dist ance. The dept h of t he foundat ions will vary depending on t he
qualit y of t he soil; if t he soil is very sandy a dept h of 70 cm is
recommended.
Once the hole is dug, the bottom 40 cm (if the hole is 50 cm
deep) is flled with bricks or a combination of rocks, gravel and
sand. Large green bricks ( 30 x 20 x 10) are t hen laid one course
below ground level, known as Al - Absha (see diagram 3), at this
point t he surface should be leveled. The second st age is t o build
the food protection layer which is built 50 cm above the surface
also using t he 30 x 20 x 10 green bricks, t hey are bound wit h a
small amount of muna ( clay and wat er mix act ing as cement ) .
These courses will lat er be covered wit h asphalt .
Di agr am 3.WallsandFoundat ions Di agr am 2.Markingt hefoundat ions
2. 5 mm 2 mm
2. 5 m
2. 4 m
Peg and st ring
Variable dept h bet ween 50
and 70 cm
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Pr a c t i c a l An s w e r s Su d a n
Th e Co n st r u ct i o n o f t h e Ti m b er l ess Ho u se Mo d el
4.5. Bui l di ng t he w al l s
Before st art ing t he space of t he door
should be marked out . The widt h of
t he door should be 102 cm ( 2 cm for
plast ering) .
The best way of doing t his is t o
use a piece of st ring 2. 5 met ers in
lengt h and a spirit level. The st ring
is t ied t o a peg which is locat ed at
t he cent er of t he circle. As t he walls
get higher t he cent er peg is replaced
by a pole. Bricks are laid one row at
a t ime wit h a layer of muna ( mud
used t o bond t he bricks) in bet ween
t o bond t hem t oget her ( see pict ures
5 - 7). The spirit level is used to
make sure t hat t he layers are level.
Aft er 5 courses t he gap for t he door should be left open ( see
pic 7) .
The building of t he wall t hen cont inues unt il a height of 1
met er at which point a gap of 62 cm is made for t he window.
The door and one window are locat ed at 180º . I t is possible
t o have anot her window alt hough t his should be kept small
so as not t o weaken t he st ruct ure.
4.6. Bui l di ng t he ar ches f or t he door and w i ndow s
I t is preferable wit h t his t ype of building t o use arches inst ead
of rectangular shapes for the doors and windows. One of two
met hods can be used:
Met hod a) Using ready made met al girders is convenient for
t he goals of t his house as it prevent s t he use of wood which
is becoming scarce and is prone t o rot . The met al girder is
placed on bricks wit hin t he window frame t hese bricks will be
removed wit h t he girder once t he arch is set .
Pi c 5. The t ape and peg are used for
markingt heradiusofwalls
Pi c 6. The wall reaches t hree courses in
height
Pi c 7. Thewallisbuilt upleaving
agapfort hedoor
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Burnt bricks are t hen placed along t he surface of t he girder once
again using muna t o bond t hem. The t riangular gaps bet ween
them should be flled with gravel and bits of broken brick. The
arches are left t o set for 24 hours at which t ime t he girder and
support ing bricks can be removed.
Met hod b) . The second and cheaper way is t o use a girder
made out of brick and muna, which is known as t he t anfeekha
( see pics 9 and 10) .
Once the arches are complete two more courses of large green
bricks are placed above t he arch. Aft er t hese, t wo courses of
red bricks are added, t his is known as t he Madamek st age. The
red bricks used for t he arches and t he madamek courses will
need t o be bought and should be similar in size t o t he small
green bricks used for t he dome, 22 x 11 x 7 cm.
4.7. Usi ng t he st eel r i ng cl amp
The st eel ring clamp is very import ant in t he const ruct ion of t he
Pi c 8. Building t he window arch using a
met algirder
Pi c 9. Thedoorarchusingmet hod
2; agirdermadefrombricks
andmuna
Pi c 10. The window arch using
met hod2
Pi c 11. Two courses of red bricks arelaid
ont opoft hegreenbricks
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domed roof building because it can t olerat e great pressures
made on it by t he roof and t he walls. I t s main purpose is t o
resist t hese pressures prevent ing collapse. I t is made in t wo
halves and it is bolt ed t oget her in t wo places 180º apart ( see
pict ures 11 and 12) . The st eel ring clamp is placed around
t he madamek layers and bolt ed in place.
4.8. The si de suppor t i ng w al l s
The use of side support ing walls is opt ional. During t he
building of t he model house t hey were not used. There main
purpose is t o support and st rengt hen t he walls. They must be
t hick enough t o support t he roof and t he pressures result ing
from it ( see t he t echnical drawing 9, p31) .
4.9. Pl ast er i ng t he base
The bottom fve courses of the house are plastered with a
cement mix for food protection and also to stop the damp
coming up t hrough t he soil.
Pi c 12. Using t he st eel clamp t o support
t hewalls
Pi c 13. Plast eringt hebaseoft hehouse
Pi c 14. Bricks are laid for t he format ion
oft hedome
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4.10. The Nubi an Domed Roof
The t ype of brick used in t he const ruct ion of t he dome has t o
be light in weight and have t he dimensions shown in diagram
4. The brick mould shown in tech drawing BM-01, p32 can
be re-made so it makes a brick 22cm x 11cm x 7cm.
The frst course of bricks is laid at a slight angle inwards
and is posit ioned up against t he ring clamp. Aft er a course
of bricks had been laid a layer of muna is spread over t hem.
This muna should have some st raw or refuse mixed wit h it .
A measuring t ool is used ( see diagram 5 and pic 15) t o
accurat ely place t he bricks so t hat every course is angled
more and more inwards t hus forming t he dome ( see pict ures
16 – 21) . The end of t his measuring device which cannot be
seen in t he phot o looks like t his:
Aft er t he courses reach a height of 1/ 2 met er t he building of
t he roof st ops as wire mesh needs t o be wrapped around t he
Pi c 15. The dome measuring t ool is
usedt oformt hedome.
Pi c 16. Thewiremeshist iedaround
t hepart lymadedome
Di agr am 5. The end of t he measuring
t ool
Pi c 17. Cement is plast ered on
t opoft hewiremesh
Di agr am 4. Small Green Brick ( Roof)
Dimensionsincm
7
22
11
The bricks ft under the step
Anot her piece of wood is nailed t o t he
wooden beam t o form a st ep
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exist ing roof courses, t hus st rengt hening t he dome. The role of wire
mesh normally comes in a 1m wide role and it should be folded over
once ( so it is 1/ 2 met er in widt h) and wrapped around t he roof t hree
t imes. As can be seen in pict ures 16 – 18 some scaffolding is set up
so t he roof can be worked on. For t his purpose t emporary holes are
made in the walls and roof. One of these holes can be seen in picture
19. These holes should be flled in once the scaffolding is removed.
Once the wire mesh is securely in place then cement is used to cover
it , t his is known as ‘libsha’.
A row of red bricks is placed along t he edge and act s as a gut t er t o
draw wat er away from t he walls and foundat ions.
The dome walls are ext ended unt il a small opening 30 cm in diamet er
is left at t he t op for hot air t o escape t hrough. A small met al cover
is fxed over this hole to prevent birds and insects from entering (see
pic 21) .
Pi c 18. A course of red bricks act
asagut t er
Pi c 19. Furt her courses are added
t oformt hedome
Pi c 20. Thedomerooffrominside,
a small hole is left in t he
t opforvent ilat ion
Pi c 21. The met al hole cover can
j ust be seen at t he t op of
t hehouse
21
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4.11. Pl ast er i ng t he r oof
This is a very import ant st age and
can be achieved t hrough a variet y
of mat erials. For example sand can
be used wit h asphalt and should
be mixed t oget her at a rat io of 1: 2
( asphalt / sand) . I n t his case t he
asphalt should be heated frst and
dried wit h gasoline or kerosene
before being mixed wit h soft sand.
I t should be applied t o t he roof in a
layer 2cm t hick which will prot ect
t he roof from rain and humidit y.
4.12. Pl ast er i ng t he w al l s on t he
out si de
The plast er for t he out side walls is
made using sand t hat is mixed wit h
local mat erials such as coloured mud mixed wit h sand or lime.
Local skills and expert ise may need t o be used at t his st age.
This can also be done at an earlier st age as shown in pict ure
23.
4.13. Pl ast er i ng t he i nsi de w al l s
Plast ering t he walls on t he inside is made using sand t hat is
mixed wit h gum arabic powder. Like t he out side walls ot her
local mat erials can be used such as coloured mud mixed wit h
sand or lime ( see pict ure 24) .
4.14. The Fl oor
The foor in most rural homes uses a thin layer of sand and
t hat is t he most appropriat e met hod for t his building. I f t his
house was t o be built in an urban area t he ground could use
braided brick, st one, concret e or t iles.
Pi c 22. Plast eringt heroof. Pi c 23. Plast eringt heout erwalls Pi c 24. A lady plast ers
t heinsidewalls
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4.15. Assembl i ng t he Door s and
Wi ndow s
The st andard door and window
frames need t o have wall
support bracket s welded t o
t hem t hat can be embedded in
t he wall. Using a chisel, small
part s of t he wall are removed
where t he door and window
bracket s will be insert ed, see
pic 25 -27. The door frame
is fxed in the same way also
wit h four bracket holes, t wo
on each side.
Not e: Pics 25 t o 27 have been
t aken from a different
building design but
the window ftting is
t he same
Pi c 25. Four holes are made around
t hesidesoft hewindowhole
Pi c 26. The window frame is
insert ed
Pi c 27. Cement is used to fx the
windowframeinplace
Pi c 28. Acomplet eddomeroofhousemodel
23
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5. Concl usi on
For a family t he mud dome building applicat ions could include several unit s equal in size and
height adapt ed for different purposes. For example if one was t o be a kit chen it would be
import ant for t he opening in t he roof t o be larger in size t o allow for bet t er vent ilat ion. I t
can also easily be convert ed t o a t oilet .
This t ype of building is considered an appropriat e solut ion t o t he housing problem in bot h
rural and suburban areas in many Sudanese provinces. I t could be promot ed at many
indigenous and foreign organisat ions and archit ect ural inst it ut es and minist ries of Planning
and Archit ect ure in t he provinces. I f you have any quest ions regarding t his work please
cont act one of t he members of t he Pract ical Answers t eam who will be happy t o answer your
enquiry.
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Techni cal Dr aw i ngs
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P l0

l
0
0
200
30




Khartoum
Office ,
Sudan
All
Dimensions
in mm
Date : 18
th

Dec 2008
Drawn by
Kamal
Khalifa
Drawing No :
BM - 01
The Brick Mould


30

220
300
750
750
l0
l0
20

300
l0
60


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