Sindhuli locals find retrofitting cost-effective

November 24, 2017 04:30 AM Rudra Pangeni

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SINDHULI, Nov 24: Unlike his neighbors, Bir Bahadur Bhujel of Purano Jhangajholi in Sunkoshi Rural Municipality of Sindhuli, is using new technology to retrofit his quake-damaged house.

This means Bhujel’s mud and mortar house, which sustained multiple cracks in the 2015 earthquakes, will have the same two and half floors to accommodate his family and store food grains. His house will be stronger to the earthquake of similar intensity.

The father of three daughters and two sons told this scribe that he plans to shift to the retrofitted house very soon“ “I am very happy as my house will be as safe as the earthquake-resistant houses in my neighborhood built after the 2015 earthquake”,” he added.

Many of his neighbors demolished their old houses, though they were not severely damaged, to built new house. But the houses that they have built are narrower than the previous ones and also do not have sufficient space to store their belongings and food grains. This is because the government’s building code does not permit them to add second floor on the low-strength masonry house.“

“This house will remain intact and stronger, thanks to cement and strong pillars built in four corners of the walls and four pillars at different locations inside the walls,” Krishna Lubanjar, the main trainer of Build Change, a technical partner of Employment Fund/ HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal, told Republica.

The retrofitting training is being provided by Rural Infrastructure and Management Consultancy, a private sector partner of Employment Fund/ HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal in financial support of UKaid Department for International Development.

The cost of retrofitting the house is less than 50 percent of amount invested by his neighbor“. “My old house has been preserved. It is larger compared to my neighbors. On top of that, the retrofitting cost is only around Rs 300,0”0,” said Bhujel.
Bhujel’s real investment will be only Rs 200,000 as he will get Rs 100,000 government grant for retrofitting purpose.

Sindhuli is the least affected of the 14 earthquake-affected districts. A total of 2,408 quake-hit houses in Sindhuli are eligible for retrofitting grants, according to National Reconstruction Authority (NRA). However, people demolished even the houses that could have been retrofitted because of the lack of retrofitting technology and also the housing grant of Rs 300,000 announced by the government, government officials involved in reconstruction said.

The cost of building a two-room mud and mortar house designed by the government is between Rs 600,000 and Rs 800,000. Owners of these houses are not allowed to add floors in this house.

Unlike his neighbors, Bhujel spent the money only to buy cement, steel, sand and aggregate and corrugated sheets. His house was retrofitted as a part of an on-site retrofitting training organized for locals by Employment Fund/HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal.

Bhujel’s neighbors are impressed with retrofitting work. He and four local youths, who participated in the training, have already received request to retrofit six old houses in the neighborhood.

Another house, which sustained more damage than Bhujel’s house, is also being retrofitted. Owner of the house, Bimala Dahal, is also participating in the retrofitting training. Trainees, including Dahal, have recently completed shoring work to protect the walls.

The retrofitting training is being provided by Rural Infrastructure and Management Consultancy, a private sector partner of Employment Fund/ HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal in financial support of UKaid Department for International Development.

“After seeing retrofitting of the houses, we can now say that houses which sustained fewer damages and are technically sound can be made as strong as the new house through retrofitting,” Basudev Humagain, chief of National Reconstruction Authority in Sindhuli, told Republica.

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