Braced, Bolted and Built – Partner Housing is currently funding and supervising the construction of Basic Shelters on Gibitngil Island, Philippines, which was devastated by Hurricane Haiyan in late 2013. The 3 x 3 metre Basic Shelters provide permanent, cyclone-resistant and affordable modular structures, which can be easily constructed by local tradesmen. They provide a “very strong” core of permanent houses and can also serve as a transitional shelters following natural disasters. There is a continuous simple anchorage and bracing mechanism – The steel roof sheeting is site screwed to hardwood purlins, which are bolted to hardwood studs anchored directly into a reinforced concrete slab-on-ground. Hardwood studs, noggings, diagonal braces and plywood sheeting wall panels provide racking resistance, and may be pre-fabricated off site if preferred.
“This Structural Resilience Policy Summary is intended for use by structural engineers charged with designing, checking or certifying village housing and infrastructure in the South-Pacific for wind, earthquake and tsunami loads. The purpose to provide guidance and give confidence to design professionals, builders and building owners, that buildings designed and constructed in accordance with this policy will have a consistent level of structural reliability, compatible with due consideration of use, cost, risk of failure, available skills and construction technology.”
Partner Housing is assisting the North Ranongga Community Association to provide a secure water supply for both drinking and washing in Buri, a large village on Ranongga in a remote part of the Solomon Islands. The project was completed during April, May and June of 2013 by volunteer local labour and volunteer engineers and builders from Australia. It did substantially complete the reticulation phase of a partially constructed project, commenced previously by others. The linked report show the concept and design details of the Buri Water Reticulation project.
In cities, structural design and construction follow established building regulations and design standards. However, village housing in developing countries incorporates traditional materials and detailing, which do not have the resilience implicit in modern regulations. This paper examines village housing in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Cook Islands, and suggests an approach to achieving acceptable resilience.
Two levels of improvement are applicable.
1/ Anchor points with temporary tie ropes. The anchor points are permanent and may be constructed cheaply. The tie ropes may be positioned and tightened at the commencement of the cyclone season (if not already in place). This is a cheap “quick fix”, but is reasonably unattractive and provides only modest improvement.
2/ Additional roof fixings and cyclone washers, roof framing anchors, timber diagonal bracing, steel diagonal bracing and/or sheet bracing. These are permanent structural features that should be installed as part of the construction of new buildings, but are often missing. They may be retro-fitted to existing buildings.
Partner Housing Australasia (Building) Incorporated1 offers pro-bono design services, project management and some funding to organisations involved in the construction of housing and village infrastructure. It is particularly suited to rebuilding in the wake of damage caused by cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis.
In particular, Partner Housing offers to implement a program of systematic improvements for housing and village infrastructure, by incorporating external roof anchors and tie ropes, cyclone washers, internal anchors and bracing and subfloor bracing.
The proposed program would be integrated into the general building program funded by other NGOs and aid programs.
The proposed program is modelled on the successful roof anchorage scheme currently being implemented in the Cook Islands by Partner Housing, Cook Islands Red Cross and Australian Red Cross.
Following the successful improvement of the cyclone resistance of over 150 houses on Mangaia in the Cook Islands, Partner Housing and the Cook Islands Red Cross are extending the roll-out to the island of Mitiaro. This involves the provision of external anchor points and tie ropes, to prevent roofs from being blow off 70 houses during cyclonic wind. The linked document gives a details of the externded project, and further information on the Mangaia pilot project is available on the Partner Housing web site.
Partner Housing provides financial and technical assistance to Vision for Homes Papua New Guinea Inc, an NGO that constructs approximately five houses per year in the villages surrounding Mount Hagen (PNG). Part of the Partner Housing service is the annual auditing of the managerial practices of Vision for Homes, providing valuable feedback to the boards of both organisations. The linked management audit report gives a detailed account of the activities and governance of Vision for Homes, their construction methods and house designs.