You are on page 1of 15




1. Introduction 2. Guidelines for efficient use of materials 3. Low cost construction materials 4. Compressed earth bricks 5. Soil-cement bricks

Construction with alternate replacement of cement

7. Some building components used for low cost housing 8. Cost-effective construction technologies 9. Rat-trap bond wall,
10. Brick


11. Filler slab 12. FRAMELESS DOORS AND WINDOWS 13. BAMBOO CONSTRUCTIONS 14. Half-brick walls 15. Preventive measures 16. Conclusion


A small house of his own to live in is the cherished dream of the little man in our country, whether he is a daily labourer, a small farmer, a low paid employee in Government or other service or a pretty merchant. More often his dream remains unfulfilled. This is mainly because of the high cost of house building. What contributes to this high cost is not only the high cost of materials and the high rates of wages prevailing especially in our State; It is also because of the insane craze for the so called new fashions in house building which the large majority of our engineers are advocating and persuading their clientele to adopt. Very often the poor house holder is at the mercy of the all knowing engineer and he cannot or dare not have his way as to what sort of house he really wants. The result is that houses are built with lavish use of steel and cement and painted all over in garish colours. It is hardly fit, to live in, because it is hot as an oven, during summer. And for this contraption the poor man has to spend his whole fortune. The most important point to understand is that everything happens "on paper". How much a house costs, how it looks, how comfortable it is, how energy-efficient it is--all these things occur on paper before you pick up even one tool. A little additional time in the planning stage can save you tens of thousands of dollars in construction and maintenance. That is time well spent Too often, however, builders simply draw a few boxes on a piece of paper, scoot them around until they are reasonably satisfied with the layout, and start building. The result is houses end up being more costly and less energy-efficient than they should be. Proper planning can make the difference between whether or not you get the house you really want.

GUIDELINES FOR USAGE OF MATERIALS: Reduce the amount of material that you use as much as possible and carefully calculate the quantities required, so there is little waste. Choose durable materials, with long life expectancy

Reuse construction or demolition waste (reused timber studwork, use reclaimed steel, reuse old bricks, Lime mortar is reusable)

Use recycled and recyclable materials. Use natural and renewable materials (wool, timber, natural paints, etc.) Use materials found on site
Use unfired clay products (bricks, blocks, plasters, paints, etc.)

Earth construction - building with simple techniques, use natural materials that have low embodied energies for their manufacture and transportation. Avoid materials that have to be transported long distances, make use of local suppliers and products.

Low cost building materials

Compressed earth blocks Soil cement blocks Other alternate building materialsFlyash brick Byproduct gypsum,

Bamboo , Jute, etc

Compressed earth blocks

Soil is one of the oldest building materials. It has been used in three traditional methods of construction namely: 1. Adobe block; Adobe is sun-dried soil mixed with straw/rice husks to strengthen the blocks, 2. Wattle and daub; this is made up of interwoven timber, reeds or bamboo daubed with soil, and 3. Rammed earth; this is soil mixed with stabilizers and subjected to high compressive pressure. Soil is generally considered to be heavy and of low strength. However, it can be stabilized and compressed to yield high compressive strengths. Compressed earth blocks (CEBs) are earthen bricks compressed with hand-operated or motorized hydraulic machines. Stabilizers such as cement, gypsum, lime, bitumen, etc. are used during production or on the surface of the bricks. If the wet compressive strength is more than 20 kg per sq. cm, then a RCC roof can be laid and a second storey can be built . If the blocks have more than 8% cement stabilization, then a threestorey, load bearing structure can be built. Soil has been widely used for thousands of years and still is today. It is an effective and an economic form for housing construvction and according to the United Nations, about a third of the worlds population live in earthen structures today. Compressed earth blocks are economically and effectively made with the compressed earth block machines. Soil is the most abundant and inexpensive resource and with the block presses that can apply a pressure of 2265 psi on each unit, high quality blocks can be made for housing construction.

Soil needs soaking at lease 12 hours before making blocks. The soil should have clumps less than 10-12 mm. the coarse grain size should be 25 mm. the moisture content should be between 13.85% and 14.62% for good workability. Cement-soil based mortar should not be re-constituted once it has attained its initial set. Cement soil ratio shall be 1:6. Water is used to mix the materials for proper consistency. Advantages of CEB Uniform building component sizes, which result in faster construction. Use of locally available materials and reduction of transportation (CEBs are mostly produced locally by transporting the equipment and machine at the work site). Modular elements like sheet-metal roofing, and pre-cast concrete door/window frames can be easily integrated into a CEB structure. The use of locally available materials and manpower helps in improving local economy rather than spending for procuring building materials from a distant place. The earth used is generally subsoil and thus the top agricultural soil remains intact. The reduction of transportation requirement can also make CEB more environment-friendly than other materials. CO2 emission is practically nil in the production of CEBs. Good quality blocks having lesser water absorption can safely be used in areas with high rainfall

Soil-cement bricks
These are made by mixing little amount of cement with soil with water and mould. Strong blocks, those after curing posses high wet strength and are erosion resistant. Blocks will not easily distort or crack during curing.

They can be easily handled and they dont crack if they are dropped.

CONSTRUCTION OF A LOW COST HOUSE USING RICE HUSK ASH, LIME AND GROUND GRANULATED BLAST FURNACE SLAG AS PARTIAL REPLACEMENT OF CEMENT The cost of construction was reduced by 25% to 30% as compared to cost of construction by conventional methods.

Some building components used in the construction Low Cost Housing





Cost-effective construction technologies Rat-trap bond wall,

Brick arches Filler slab FRAMELESS DOORS AND WINDOWS

BAMBOO CONSTRUCTIONS Half-brick walls Exposed brick walls

Rat-trap bond in wall construction: While laying bricks, the manner in which they overlap is called the bond. There are several types of bonds developed in different countries from time to time. They are called as stretcher bond (required to construct 125 mm thick partition walls), English bond (most widely used to construct walls of thickness 250 mm or more), Flemish bond (decorative bond, used to construct walls of thickness 250 mm or more, slightly difficult to lay) and rat-trap bond. The rat-trap bond is laid by placing the bricks on their sides having a cavity of 4 (100 mm), with alternate course of stretchers and headers . The headers and stretchers are staggerd in subsequent layers to give more strength to the walls . The main advantage of this bond is the economy in use of bricks, giving a wall of one brick thickness with fewer bricks than a solid bond. Rat-trap bond was commonly used in England for building houses of fewer than three stories up to the turn of the 20th century and is still used in India as an economical bond.

The main features of rat-trap bond wall are:

Strength is equal to the standard 10 (250 mm) brick wall, but consumes 20% less bricks. The overall saving on cost of materials used for construction compared to the traditional 10 wall is about 26%. The air medium created between the brick layers helps

in maintaining a good thermal comfort inside the building. 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, plastering is not necessary except in a few places. The finished surface is appealing to the eye. Buildings up to two stories can easily be constructed with this technique . Baker has pioneered this type of construction and had built such houses more than 40 years ago, without showing any signs of distress till now. In RCC framed structures, the filler walls can be made of rat-trap bond.

Brick arches
The traditional RCC lintels which are costly, can be replaced by brick arches for small spans and save construction cost up to 3040% over the traditional method of construction . By adopting

arches of different shapes blended with brick corbelling, a good architecturally pleasing appearance can be given to the external wall surfaces of the brick masonry.

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, tiles, cellular concrete blocks, etc. These filler materials are so placed as not to compromise the structural strength, result in replacing unwanted and non-functional tension concrete, thus resulting in economy. These are safe, 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, lowcost filler material like two layers of burnt clay tiles. Slab thickness minimum 112.5 mm . Enhances thermal comfort inside the building due to heat-resistant qualities of filler materials and the gap between two burnt clay tiles. Makes saving on cost of this slab compared to the traditional slab by about 23%. Reduces use of concrete and saves cement and steel by about 40%.

FRAMELESS DOORS AND WINDOWS Door and window frames are not actually required. They are responsible for almost half the cost of timber used. Avoiding frames considerably reduces the cost of timber. Door planks are screwed together with strap iron hinges to form doors, and this can be carried by holdfast carried into the wall. The simplest and cost effective door can be made of vertical planks held together with horizontal or diagonal battens. A simplest frameless window consists of a vertical plank (9 wide) set into two holes, one at the top and one at the bottom. This forms a simple pivotal window. Wide span windows can be partially framed and fixed to walls or can have rows of pivotal planks. Honeycombed or jali walls can be employed instead of windows.

BAMBOO CONSTRUCTIONS For most parts of the India, bamboo is a locally available material and has been used as building material for centuries. It can be easily grown and is one of the cheapest construction materials. A good bamboo cut into strips has the tensile strength almost equal to that of steel. It is used for reinforcement, shuttering, scaffolding, roofing, piles, filler material and much more. Bamboo in lime concrete can be used for foundations, especially in the sandy areas along the sea coast. It is resistant to sea water. It remains intact whereas other foundations will crack with shifting sands.

Half-brick walls Four-and-a-half inch or half brick wall is adequate for small, single storey houses and is apt for partition walls. These walls are adequately strong up to span of 2 meters. However, an isolated, long, half brick wall may fall, knocked off or get crushed by roof load. The stability of the wall can be ensured by providing buttresses or recesses. Half brick walls apart from being efficient, is also economic as it uses almost half the number of bricks and even less amount of mortar, used for

full brick wall. It also saves the labor charges, as it is less time consuming and easier to build. Preventive measures The training provided to laborers, masons and Carpenters also improve their approach towards quality work. Time and cost factor also affects the quality of construction. Prior testing of construction materials like sand, yellow earth, bricks, aggregate, cement and reinforcement steel also helps to improve the quality of construction.

Overall, a good supervision by the civil contractor is essential during the execution of construction.

CONCLUSION Experience is an expensive teacher, therefore, every attempt must be made to strengthen the technical skills of construction professionals. The need to diagnose the cause of damage accurately, by considering all options before specifying a remedy cannot be emphasised enough. Savings made by preventive maintenance include not only the money that would have been spent on repair contracts but indirect costs such as loss of business and inconvenience to owners and users, which only goes to endorse the view that, always prevention is better than cure.