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Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

Scenario D
Student Brief

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Course CEGE204P
Scenario D Design of a Rural School in Mexico with a focus on
Title of coursework
sustainability and integrated water management
Type Design, drawings, calculations and presentation
Students are expected to design a rural school in a developing country
(Mexico), in an area with severe water quality and scarcity issues, where
EWB-UCL students (including CEGE alumni) have worked in the past.
The design should fulfil the following key objectives:
A creative, aesthetically pleasing and functional educational space,
using as sustainable materials as is feasible
Integrated water management features in place such as: low-flush
or dry toilets, drinking fountains and taps, green spaces (which
require water), and hand washing facilities
Complete rainwater harvesting (RWH) system design and
Main Objectives
calculations, including storage
Use of available or user-designed tools, including meteorological
data, for analysing RWH feasibility and performing basic system
Treatment or reuse facilities for sewage/compost and grey water,
as well as an evaluation of on-site, ecological sanitation options
Correlating energy with water supply (i.e. embodied energy) as a
tool for comparing the sustainability of different scenarios
Basic analysis to make sure the building(s) are structurally sound

Dr Ilan Adler (Coordinator, water and sanitation)

Dr Jan Boehm (3D modelling, Revitt)
Scenario leaders Dr Manni Bhatti (Materials)
Dr Rodolfo Lorenzo (Structures)
Ms Gabriela May (EWB-UCL), Teaching Assistant
Caminos de Agua, A.C. (NGO based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)
Partnerships Capital Sustentable (Environmental consulting firm, develops software
and planning tools for RWH systems and sustainable infrastructure)
Friday 16th December 2016, 1:00pm,
Submission date
followed by group presentations at 1:30pm

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A printed copy of your full portfolio, with an appendix showing your

calculations, graphs and rough sketches, must be submitted AS A
GROUP SUBMISSION via the coursework box, near the General Office.
An electronic copy (in pdf) must also be submitted electronically to
Submission procedure
Turnitin via the Moodle website. In addition, please upload a separate
copy of your PowerPoint presentation.
Groups must retain copies of all submitted information.

Marking Scheme Group Submission as assessed by the presentation delivery and

the hard copy of the presentation:
Mark 1 Background research and reasoning behind assumptions: 20%
Mark 2 Development and presentation of design (i.e. quality of drawings)*: 20%
Mark 3 Suitability of design to client requirements (i.e. functionality, creativity): 30%
Mark 4 Use of calculations and tools to inform design strategy: 20%
Mark 5 Presentation and overall clarity of portfolio (incl. grammar, references): 10%
*Bonus question shown in Deliverables section may add up to 5% of total group mark
Marking Scheme Individual Contribution Factors:
Towards the end of the scenario each team member will submit an anonymous
contribution factor for every other student of the group. The average of this, along
with attendance sheets and peer observation will account for an individual
contribution mark, which will be worth up to 10% in addition to your group mark.
A (70-100%), B (60-69%), C (50-59%), D (40-49%), F (0-39%).
A, B, C and D are passes, F is a fail. Those who receive an F can revise and resubmit
work if desired; if it is then satisfactory, a grade D will be awarded.
Zero marks
Attendance will be monitored periodically. Those students who are
Penalty for unauthorised found not to be in attendance and have no explanation for their
absence from the scenario whereabouts will be awarded zero marks. Remember: this is a group
effort and you are expected to contribute to it.

10% mark reduction per day, for whatever reason.

Penalty for late submission Backup your work!

Oral feedback will be given at the final presentations and an interim

mark will be agreed by the panel; this mark will be revisited upon
Date and method of return after
viewing the submitted portfolio. Marks and additional written
feedback will be returned within 4 working weeks of submission, in
accordance with UCL guidelines.

Further details of the project and the contents of the submission are included below

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Scenario D Sustainable Building Design

The main aim of this scenario is to work with a live partner (Caminos de Agua) in designing a new and visionary
type of school in a poverty-stricken, semi-arid rural area of Mexico, with integrated water management, onsite
sanitation and sustainability aspects built in from the start. The design may serve as a leading example of good
environmental practices for other regions around the world facing similar issues. The community background
and design constraints are provided below, with additional materials provided via Moodle and throughout the
scenario sessions.

San Antonio de Lourdes is a small rural community in northern Guanajuato State, Mexico, in a municipality
adjacent to the more affluent San Miguel de Allende, which is known for its touristic and historical value
(UNESCO world heritage site since 2008). The community sees a large rate of migration mostly men due
to lack of services and job opportunities in the region. In fact, the ratio of men to women in San Antonio de
Lourdes is among the lowest of nearly 500 rural communities in the region. Between the ages of 18 and 60,
there are currently 4.9 men to every 10.0 women. See attached Community Profile below for more statistics.

The community currently has an elementary school and a kindergarten with roughly 40 and 16 children
respectively in each school. There is no piped water service currently available to the community. When
Caminos de Agua did a site visit in May of 2016, the local kindergarten had not had any water for the prior 3
weeks, making sanitation and hygiene major issues in the schools. Although there is a water well in the
community, it went completely dry 7 years ago due to groundwater overexploitation from surrounding
agricultural producers and the community has been without water since. Most families bought large 13m
barrels (known as tinacos), which used to be filled up by government trucks. However, the service is no longer
offered to the community. Today, there is no consistent water access, and members of the community must
travel to neighbouring wells and communities (usually by truck) to bring water, which has increased social
tension with the residents of these areas.

However, water availability is not the only problem. The two main sources of water being trucked in called
San Jos de la Montaa and Mariolas (names of sites where the wells are located) are some of the most
contaminated in the region, with arsenic and fluoride levels at 6 and 10 times World Health Organization limits
respectively. This water is not apt for human consumption and may be considered acutely toxic. Because of
exposure to these levels, children and adolescents suffer from severe dental fluorosis (browning/blackening
of the teeth) throughout the community and interviews indicate many may also be suffering from
development disabilities now widely associated with fluoride toxicity. The two included reports (on Moodle)
help illustrate the water quality issues in the region.

Current initiatives
Caminos de Agua is a non-for-profit organization (NGO) based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which works
with surrounding communities in environmental education, eco-technologies such as rainwater harvesting,
ceramic filtration and natural building techniques. In San Antonio de Lourdes, specifically, they have already
installed 14 household rainwater harvesting systems with much of the funding and support provided by
Engineers Without Borders (EWB-UCL). These consist of above-ground ferrocement cisterns with 12m
capacity, a newly designed (45L) first flush system, and ceramic filters to make the water potable.

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The Client Brief

Each group is to respond to the client brief as set out below, undertake activities outlined in the sections
following and prepare a submission as noted in the Deliverables section. You will be working in teams and it
is up to you to manage the team and share the workload as you see fit. All members of the group must
contribute to the group effort and this will be checked in the assessment and submitted contribution factors.

Your client in this case is Caminos de Agua, as described above. During the Scenario week, you are to develop
a design that meets, or exceeds, the minimum criteria laid out below. Your client has commissioned you to
design a secondary school for the ongoing education of children as they finish elementary school. At present,
most children either dont go on to secondary education or travel long distances, which is not beneficial for
them or for the community at large. The school is to be located on an available terrain, with the following
dimensions: 100 x 100m (see maps/community profile at the end of this document with exact GIS coordinates).
The school is required to cater for 40 students plus 2 full time staff members and a Head teacher (it is common
in such small communities that the school director also acts as a teacher). Nobody will live on site and the
premises will be locked after school hours. The premises must contain the following buildings:

Table 1. Minimum building requirements

Building/Room Expected occupancy numbers Notes**

Main classroom 40 students, with capacity for extra chairs if Classroom use, and assemblies, with desks
required (i.e. removing desks) and larger capacity if only chairs

Classroom 2 25 students A smaller classroom***

Classroom 3 25 students Same as above, with a small space for labs

and demonstrations

Bathrooms Enough to cater for students and staff, with Separate facilities for men and women
urinals provided for men* (assume equal number of each gender).
Handwashing facilities must be provided, as
well as a small boiler for hot water

Multiple use For recesses and outdoor school events A multiple-use (basketball, volleyball) court
outdoor court with a concrete floor, no roof cover required

Staff room Office space for 3 people, at least one desk A shared office for school Head teacher and
with room for a desktop computer staff

* Local state regulations request the following:

a) There must be at least one toilet and sink for every 15 users per sex
b) For mens bathrooms, there must be at least one urinal per 2 toilets.
c) At least one source (tap) of drinkable water for every 30 users
d) Minimum measurements for public washroom areas are:
Toilet: 0.75 m x 1.10 m / Sink: 0.75 m x 0.90 m
** Current school dimensions are as follows: Kindergarten: 6 x 4 meters, the toilets (a separate building) are 4 x 2 m.
Elementary School: Building #1: 15 x 4 m; Building #2: 6 x 4 m (this figures are for reference only).
*** Secondary education in Mexico is only 3 years, with the UK equivalent of sixth form lasting 3 additional years. The
current project is only for a secondary school, and it is common in small rural communities to combine different year
groups into the same classroom.

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It is your task as a team to make decisions on what are the appropriate dimensions for each of these rooms/
buildings, including height or number of floors (common practice in the region is to do schools on a single
floor, but there are no particular restrictions to do otherwise). Please justify your assumptions and

The classrooms should be comfortable for the number of occupants provided, with sufficient natural lighting
and enough area for use as an educational space. You are encouraged to be creative in your spatial design,
and think of how a better designed space can enhance higher quality teaching and interaction between
teachers and students. Consulting local and recommended international guidelines on any of these dimensions
is encouraged, but make sure to cite any sources used (some will be provided on Moodle).

The key constraint is water availability and the lack of any sewer, drainage, or centralised treatment system
for the community, as explained above. Your task, thus, is to maximise rainwater harvesting and storage, with
the aim of getting as close enough as possible to 100% sufficiency all year round. You must pay attention in
particular to the dry season, ensuring that at the end of the rainy period there is sufficient storage capacity.
Water conservation must be paramount in your design, to ensure that supplies last as much as possible.

On the sanitation side of things, you can opt for a low water-use system with onsite treatment (i.e. septic tanks
or anaerobic biodigesters, as will be explained in class), or dry composting toilets which dont use any water.
Both have pros and cons and you must explain your arguments for any design considerations you make. Finally,
the school as a whole should have some green space, an outdoor court (as described in Table 1), which will be
paved in concrete, and enough available area near the front gate to park one vehicle.

Although not the main focus of the Scenario, you must ensure that any building your design is structurally
sound (following from basic calculations learnt in Structures modules), and that you consider the use of
environmentally-friendly and locally available materials (within reason). See Deliverables section for more
details. Costs should only be considered on a qualitative/comparative basis as detailed budgets are not
required for this task.

Design parameters

Number of users 40 students, 3 teachers (incl. headteacher)

Number of school days per year 260

Drinking water usage 2 Lts/person/day

Other water uses (handwashing, toilets, green space, To be determined depending on design and technologies
cleaning, etc.) selected

Electric supply Available but irregular (occasional power cuts)

Soil type/terrain Compact, impermeable, no slope (flat terrain, easy to

excavate but water doesnt infiltrate easily).

Note: Precipitation/weather data for the site provided on Moodle.

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Submission procedures are as confirmed at the start of this document, with a group presentation delivered
on the Friday afternoon of the Scenario week.

Group submission
The group submission is a presentation in the style of a portfolio. It should include the following, and each
item should cover the points noted in the sections above:

1. Drawings and layout of buildings, green spaces and outdoor areas, including selection and justification
of materials. Produce full drawings of the 3D model of the building(s) using Revit, as well as plan
drawings showing location and sizes of rooms, highlighting water pipes through each section. Make
sure to distinguish the different water flows from each other in the drawings (sewage, rainwater,
drinking water, etc). Include bathrooms and hydraulic fixtures such as toilets, taps, storage tanks, etc.
2. Complete Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) design, including calculations, first flush or pre-filtering system,
pumps, pipes, gutters and cisterns. All dimensions and volumes must be showed, as well as your
assumptions and sizing methods used. You are expected to develop your own spreadsheet and
calculations based on the given precipitation data. Use the tools provided in class to check your data
and highlight any discrepancies with your own figures.
3. Design of wastewater treatment or sanitation system, including dimensions and location of each
component and clearly showing water flows through the system. Include a concise table of the
solutions discussed by your team showing the pros and cons of each option, with a brief paragraph
explaining your justifications for choosing a particular option, including a qualitative analysis of costs
(please note there is no right or wrong answer here, we are assessing your ability as a future Engineer
to rationalise these decisions based on the information available).
4. Demand calculations (i.e. how much water will be consumed daily or annually, preferably presented as
a table, showing consumption patterns and assumptions. Include in this section your rationale for any
water-saving devices and techniques used.
5. Summary of hydraulic flows: in essence a water budget or summary of the above figures, graphically
representing (i.e. with flow diagrams) the total water falling on the land, how much is collected, how
much is consumed, reused, etc. You are free to show this in whatever form you think is more clear for
your client (and your audience during the presentation).
6. Basic structural analysis of building(s) or structures as required
7. Optional tasks (these are not mandatory, but will be seen as a bonus adding up to 5% of group mark):
a. Embodied carbon of materials selected (you can use your Engineers Toolbox for this, even
though the figures may not relate specifically to Mexico), as well as a list of environmental
impacts and pros/cons of these materials (costs may be included as an additional consideration).
b. A more in-depth design of green spaces (or greenhouse), showing type of plants recommended,
expected water consumption, etc.

Final presentation
Each group is to prepare and deliver a (maximum) 10 mins presentation followed by 2-3mins of questions
and feedback on the development of your design, covering key points from each section covered under
Group Submission above. As detailed in the scenario brief, the coursework submission (hard copy
portfolios and Turnitin on Moodle) is due at 13:00 on Friday 16th December, and this is followed by group
presentations starting at 13:30 pm. All students must be present for this, and as always attendance will be
monitored. Students feedback and marks may be sought for the various presentations so please make
notes! Assessing your peers critically will help you improve your own work in the future. Absence from the
presentations will incur a penalty to your final mark. The final presentation schedule will be announced
closer to the date.

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Sources of information

As always, you are expected to some of your own research for scenarios. There is a wealth of information on
the Moodle page and in the Science Library. The following books are suggested for background reading and
design (most of them have been uploaded to Moodle, along with a wealth of other articles and information):

Grant, N. (1997) Septic tanks: An overview. Edited by Mark Moodie. 2nd edn. UK

Morgan, P. (2007) Toilets that make compost. Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, SWEDEN

Tahir, S., Adler I., Campos, L. (2014) Rainwater Recycling in Buildings (Ch. 11). In Water Efficiency in
Buildings: theory and practice, K. Adeyeye, ed. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.

Jenkins, J. (2006) The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure. Jenkins
Publishing. 3rd ed., USA (e-book)

Banks, S., Heinichen, R. (2004) Rainwater collection for the Mechanically Challenged. Tank Town
Publishing, Dripping Springs, Texas, USA (

Finally, there is a RWH design tool that has been developed specifically for this scenario by CAPSUS,
which we will be able to try on an experimental basis:

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Community Profile: San Antonio de Lourdes

Municipality: San Diego de la Unin GPS coordinates:

State: Guanajuato Current Elementary School: 21.325319, -100.694095
Country: Mexico Current Kindergarten: 21.329028, -100.695171
Total Population: 312 (~80 families) Water Source #1 (San Jos de la Montaa): 21.322817, -100.682533
Male Population: 123 Water Source #2 (Mariolas): 21.318799, -100.683484
Female Population: 189 Potential site of new (secondary) school: 21.326182, -100.692490

Building of current elementary school with frame for ferrocement

RW tank on the right

Local kindergarten and kindergarten bathrooms (top right).

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