By Prarthana Mitra
With Kochi Airport resuming operations on Thursday, although the worst for Kerala is over, there is a long uphill journey ahead for the state government and civilians alike, as reconstruction and rehabilitation work begins in full swing.
The flood which left thousands homeless and scores dead has also caused massive destruction of property and land, and the priority right now is to build affordable, sustainable and durable homes for those desperate to return to their lives.
A team of innovators from the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) and Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IIID) came up with a construction method a few years ago, that can help create a house on a shoestring budget. Real estate that was damaged or destroyed the Kerala floods will be rebuilt, using this system known as ferrocement technology.
What is ferrocement technology?
The technology can reportedly help transform a 450 sq ft space into a full-fledged 2 bedroom apartment in just Rs. 5 lakh. Some of the primary advantages of the technology are its use of low construction material cost, ease of construction, low weight, durability, malleability and low maintenance cost. Furthermore, ferrocement material which combines wire mesh and cement mortar is stronger than conventional concrete which makes the new homes more resilient to natural disasters.
How can this help Kerala? And how soon?
According to local media reports, the state government is giving this technology some serious thought, as it is quicker and cheaper than the traditional construction processes. Ferrocement houses would require only a couple of months to build.
According to IIA Thrissur Chairman architect Ranjith Roy, a ferrocement house is built as a monolithic structure, as opposed to most houses which involve an assembly line construction. Speaking to Better India, he said that all drawings for ferrocement houses need to be in scale, and the only time-consuming aspect of this system is erecting the skeletal frame of the house.
Roy further added that if the government and other agencies are ready to bear the construction expenses, the centre will provide technical help and supervision for free. According to The Hindu, the first ferrocement house was handed over to a beneficiary this week, by R Nazar, the president of the Alappuzha district panchayat.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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