Staff Reporter

Alternative technology to high-cost construction

ALAPPUZHA: In an effort to provide an alternative to the high-cost construction technologies being used in Kuttanad, the Ramankary grama panchayat, the Kudumbasree Mission and the Feeder-Technology and Habitation - technical consultants - have made the first experiment in using ferro-cement technology in the construction sector in Kuttanad.

Alappuzha district panchayat president R. Nazar handed over the first house built using the technology to a beneficiary at a function at Ramankary on Friday.

Technical coordinator K.M. Kunjumon said the cost of construction of a Ferro-cement house of 210 sq. ft. plinth area was around Rs.82,000. It meant a cost of Rs.390 per sq. ft., which was far below the per sq. ft. cost of a traditional concrete house.

Mr. Kunjumon said the cost of construction of a traditional concrete house in Kuttanad was more than Rs.700 per sq. ft. The need for strong foundations for buildings was one of the reasons for the high cost of construction.

Mr. Kunjumon said the clayey soil of Kuttanad could withstand only a pressure up to five tonnes per square metre, compared to other types of soil that could withstand pressure up to 20 tonnes per square metre. Strong foundations were necessary because of the peculiarity of the soil. Many concrete houses built on ordinary foundations were found sinking.

Mr. Kunjumon said the total weight of a Ferro-cement house was only the weight of a traditional concrete house of the same size. The pressure exerted by it was well below the pressure withstanding ability of clay.