“We are extremely proud of the results of this project as we managed to achieve our targets and have had a very positive response from the Jiri locals. The Jirel house has been a response to local architectural vernacular and to the Jirel family’s comments during extensive consultation and discussions. It is a marriage of earthquake resilient earthbag design and our client’s lifestyle and culture. At the Jiri Build Project, we believe that this approach to design and rebuilding is absolutely crucial for the success of a project in Nepal.
The Earthbag school in Bhackek is finished! It took 250 local workers, and 65 volunteers 4 1/2 months to complete. We would like thank all the donors and volunteers who have contributed time and money to make this possible.
The importance of using trained engineers, architects and supervisors can’t be emphasized enough. Due to a lack of trained builders, a few dangerous earthbag projects have been built in Nepal by what I call ‘cowboy builders’ – those with little or no training or building experience. We heard of a school in Mazel in Ghorka that was described as “the worst earthbag building in Nepal”. It has bamboo pins eaten by insects instead of steel rebar, two large 8’x8’ windows set 3’ apart, and dry soil fill consisting of 100% silt which has no binding strength. Proper earthbags are made with moist subsoil containing clay and aggregates, and then tamped solid to create ‘rammed earth in bags’.
I’m back home now (yeah!), but wanted to share more of what we saw while touring earthbag projects near Kathmandu. Carisimo, a German-based NGO, have built 30 earthbag houses in this village using young foreign volunteers and local families. This is the largest earthbag housing project in Nepal that we know of.
Phulping, Sindhupalchok: This first of its kind school reconstruction project reuses existing steel posts, steel trusses, metal roofing, foundation, concrete slab floor, windows and doors, and integrates them with earthbag tube walls. The design is very strong because the steel frame braces the earthbag walls, and the earthbag walls and buttresses reinforce the steel posts.
“A Nelson trust’s humble earthbag school has gained international attention after it withstood the devastating Nepal earthquakes. Now, First Step Himalaya wants to use the earthbag technology in its work to rebuild the schools it supports in Nepal.