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On the 11th of May 2016, CDN agreed to build 2 washrooms with tin roof at Shree Kapileshowr Lower Secondary School, Jhagajholi, Ratmata-9, Dhungechour, Sindhuli. Jagajholi was one of the most devastated areas due to the earthquake of 25th April 2015, followed by several after shucks. Our team visited and found that the school indeed required a well-build washroom to accommodate its 150 students.
After 85km drive from Bhaktapur, we meet the school principal Mr. Mohan Lal
Chaulagai, who was already on the wayto receive us. We had lunch together and walked on the country side for one and half hour up to the school. The structural condition of the school was substantial damaged. The government had introduced a system for accessing the harm the earthquake had done to any infrastructure by giving them stickers. The building had got 2 red stickers and one green meaning that the 2 buildings were not be used. Out of three building 1 had collapsed and one red sticker building was still functions as a classroom despite the danger of collapsing.
There were 8 members waiting for us at the school office including 5 school teachers, a mason, a parent and the chair person of school management committee. They had prepared an estimation cost for one permanent toilet with cemented roof. The overall
estimate cost to complete building adding with transportation was higher than estimated. The estimated cost of school was Rs 125700/- . Lacking enough budgets to follow the given estimation, at the end of the discussed CDN team changed their cost plan and agreed upon to build 2 cemented washrooms with tin roof separated for both male and female.
There were two Temporary Learning Classes with three rooms where 6 classes were
running simultaneously. It was evident that more classrooms were needed. Since the school had already had an agreement with government to construct permanent five room building, we supposed that building a proper washroom could be a huge support for the school.
From February 19 to 22, 2016, Nepalhilfe der VHS Bhaktapur (represented by Inge Patsch) attended an international conference titled “Living Under Threat of Earthquake” in Hotel Annapurna, Kathmandu, Nepal, hosted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung). The speakers came from different countries, including Nepal, India, Pakistan, USA, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Bangladesh, Turkey, Malaysia, China, Switzerland, Canada, and Austria.
The theme of the conference is “Short- and Long-Term Management of Earthquake Risk and Damage Prevention in Nepal”, and the lectures are categorized into four broad topics: (1) Plate Tectonics and Earthquake, (2) Damage, Prevention, Restoration, (3) Disaster Management and Economics, and (4) Living With Natural Hazards. Through this holistic approach, the conference aims to illustrate future ways of perceiving risk, preventing damage, and conducting disaster management throughout Nepal.
There are three main ideas from the conference that are of most interest to us here in Nepalhilfe. The first idea is that the Kathmandu Valley does not directly lie on any fault lines. The valley is surrounded by two thrusts that are encircling the valley. This implies that since the valley is not located above a main thrust, the valley will not suffer from a direct impact, but the surface is still vulnerable to shaking.
The second idea is that despite the best efforts of experts and professionals to determine earthquake-resistant building designs, the only certain way to know if a building design is earthquake-resistant is if it has undergone testing with “earthquake shaking tables”. An earthquake shaking table is a device used for testing building components or structural models through a variety of simulated ground motions.
Lastly, the third idea is that the one-storey house model that Nepalhilfe is promoting for its beneficiaries is definitely safer than any multiple-storey design. This is because it is simpler to account for structural supports if there is only one storey, and there is no need to account for how much weight upper storeys would have to bear. This was the case with the May 10 collapse of the Honda Showroom building in Sallaghari, Bhaktapur. Despite appearing like a new modern building, the building collapsed while the old buildings surrounding it remained intact. This was attributed to the presence of gym weights on an upper level of the building, which caused it to be unstable.
Although there are no perfect building models, some are more effective than others depending on circumstances. The conference gave us a lot of things to think about with regards to our reconstruction projects, and we will definitely spend some time to review our plans again and to see if we can include some of the new ideas we gained from this conference.
One of the speakers at the conference, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Uwe Dorka (Head of the Steel and Composite Structures Department of the University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany) has a lot of information about different building control concepts for earthquake protection and about the need for structural models to undergo rigorous testing with earthquake shaking tables before they can be considered as earthquake-resistant. For those who are interested in learning more about these topics, they can read some of his works in the following links:
Hyde-Systems in Residential Buildings (Abstract): http://www.seru.metu.edu.tr/Istanbul/Abstracts/dorka.pdf
Continuous Geographically Distributed Testing Using Shaking Tables: http://risedr.tongji.edu.cn/5th_Kwang-Hua_Forum/downfile/2A/Uwe%20E.%20Dorka.pdf
You can also find his contact info in this link: https://www.uni-kassel.de/fb14bau/en/institute/iki/steel-and-composite-structures/staff.html
On February 14, 2016, Nepalhilfe, our technical partner Management Training Environment and Engineering Consultancy (MTEEC), and the representatives of the house owners from Jhaukhel (Kanchi Dahal and Krishna Prasad Dahal) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing the expectations and responsibilities of all three parties.
Afterwards, Nepalhilfe and our technical team went to Sudal to inspect the properties of Chetan Nath Dulal and Badri Phuyal.
Our technical team estimates that there are enough stones left over from the rubble to rebuild the foundations, but the other materials such as steel and bricks must be bought anew. Since there are still some legal complications with the matter of obtaining documents from the Sudal house owners, we are planning to build their houses in the second phase, after the Jhaukhel houses are finished.
Nepalhilfe has received some photos of the drawings made by the children of Volkschule St. Martin, St. Martin, Austria, courtesy of Hans Diegruber. In the autumn of 2015, the daughter of Mr. Diegruber and her classmates made these drawings and sold them in the village for a total of 424 Euros, which they then donated to Nepalhilfe. Nepalhilfe has allocated this money to the scholarship fund for Shree Bal Bhushan Lower Secondary School in Jhaukhel, Bhaktapur District.
Once again we would like to thank Mr. Diegruber and the children for their contribution. Thank you very much!
On February 9, 2016, Nepalhilfe conducted several meetings with our technical team (Ram Maharjan representing MTEEC, or the Management Training Environment and Engineering Consultancy, and Rajib Awale), the house owners (Kanchi Dahal, Krishna Prasad Dahal, Chetan Nath Dulal, and Badri Phuyal), and Valentin Schmid from the Deutsch-Nepalesischer Kulturverein e.V. (DNKV) regarding the clarification of the technical aspects of the house designs and the terms of agreement for all parties involved.
First of all, the house designs created by our technical team are compliant with the Nepali government regulations being implemented for earthquake resistant construction, with the exception of replacing the government-mandated wood frames with steel frames inside the walls of the houses. This is because steel is stronger, more durable, and more economical to work with in terms of its availability in the market and the manpower required to work with it. Well-seasoned wood is not only more expensive in the market, but the manpower required is more specialized and is not as readily available as the manpower that can work with steel. Steel will also be used for the doors and openings.
The coverage area encompasses 487 square feet (45.24 square meters). Two types of building methodologies for stability have been combined in the house structure to achieve a double effect. The first is a load bearing scheme of thick masonry walls of steel and sun-dried bricks, and the second is a method involving the welding together of steel supporting pillars, with three horizontal steel bracings in the middle to prop them further. The first method will stabilize the structure via the sheer weight of the walls, and the second method will help to ensure the integrity of the box shape as a whole. These steel bracings will be covered with concrete inside the walls. No cross bracing will be added since the structure does not have a long span, and it will make it more difficult for the masons to work on the wall if there are cross braces, which will decrease the overall building efficiency.
The house designs are cost-efficient in the sense that they make use of locally produced materials, local manpower, and local building knowledge. We have opted for building with mud and sun-dried bricks (reinforced with steel frames) over concrete due to the fact that mud and sun-dried bricks are better adapted to the local climate in Nepal. The house will include 14-inch (0.36 meters) partition walls that will provide partial insulation in the house, and these partition walls along with the mud and sun-dried brick outer walls will ensure that the house is warmer than a concrete house would be. Additionally, the use of sun-dried bricks will serve as a sustainable building model for the house owners and the communities, and we have refined these local techniques to make them more effective.
For the roof, metal trusses will be used for the frame and corrugated iron (CGI) sheets will be used for the cover. Prefabricated plastic had been initially considered for the cover but it was found to be too expensive, so CGI sheets are being used instead. Wood cannot be used for the reasons listed above. Acquiring bamboo might be more economical and it would allow us to save about Rs. 20000 (5-10% of the cost), but the treatments required add to the expenses and the finishing is much more complicated, which in turn will consume more time.
Aside from sun-dried bricks for the walls, there will also be a foundation of stone with mud-based mortar, which is compliant with government regulations. However, if the house owners are capable of providing bricks for the construction, then bricks will be used in lieu of stone to decrease cost.
The designs are also created with flexibility in mind, and if necessary they can be changed or added to in the future. For instance, it is possible for the house owner to add a second storey if desired, although the technical team recommends that only light building should be used for the second storey in such a case.
The total cost estimations differ per house, depending on how many materials each family can provide. In the case of the Jhaukhel families, for example, one house costs Rs. 666,000 (Kanchi Dahal) because the family can salvage some of the building materials from their old house, and the other one costs Rs. 827,000 (Krishna Prasad Dahal) because the family cannot provide any materials at all.
MTEEC will be in charge of finding specialized laborers such as masons for the construction work. Mr. Maharjan and Mr. Awale are freelancers who will take charge of the project management. The house owners will also contribute what they can in the way of food and beverages for the laborers.
The house owners have also agreed on the responsibilities that they must fulfill during the project, one of which is to work on getting approval of the blueprints from their Municipality Office. The Municipality must first approve the blueprints before the building can commence, and this is expected to take a minimum of 2 weeks. Once the Municipality approves the blueprints, the building is expected to take approximately 2-3 weeks. The tentative construction time is in March.
One of the beneficiaries of the Nepalhilfe scholarship fund, Barsa Bastola of Quality English School in Nagarkot, would like to thank all the donors who have contributed to the Nepalhilfe scholarship fund for allowing her to continue her studies without worrying about her expenses.
Also, the community milk farm established in Karipati, Nagarkot (the farm in which Nepalhilfe contributed to the seed capital fund) has started the construction of their farm.
Our technical team, led by Mr. Ram Maharjan, has just revised some architectural drawings fit to the size of the land plot owned by Mrs. Kanchi Dahal.
The technical team is currently preparing the structural drawings, with room for re-estimation following additional items as per government guidelines.
Hopefully, with the end of the blockade in Nepal and the gradual lowering of prices, we can commence our building without any problems.
Nepalhilfe der VHS Bhaktapur has distributed the following amounts from its scholarship fund to the following:
- Bal Bhushan Lower Secondary School
Jhaukhel, Bhaktapur District
- Barsa Bastola
Quality English School
Nagarkot, Bhaktapur District
- Pallovi Bastola
Quality English School
Nagarkot, Bhaktapur District
- Prasan Kasula
Basu Higher Secondary School
- Rajani Kasula
Helping Hands for the Deaf
- Sabita Kasula
Sharadha Higher Secondary School
- Sajan Kasula
Bagiswori Higher Secondary School
- Dipesh Sandha
Sooryadaya Secondary School