Since heavier clay tiles tend to make bahareque more vulnerable to collapses during an earthquake, researchers now seem to be having a knack at designing better homes to save lives in Latin America. Pretty interestingly, a team of ingenious researchers at Imperial College London has just started developing new home techniques for improving traditional construction methods used by people in rural communities in Central and South America.
While the techniques are designed to be low cost and earthquake resistant, the primary purpose of the project is to simply show people how they can create homes more reliably and sturdily using traditional materials and components for enhanced safety. The quakeproof homes would basically incorporate timber or bamboo frames that are dressed in a latticework of twigs, cane and timber strips – whereby, these walls are splashed altogether with mud or mortar.
Although sturdy construction can have a high resistance to earthquakes, the exigency of truly reliable yet effective quake-proof techniques cannot be laid low (particularly, when saving as many lives as possible during an earthquake is one of the primary objectives). However, the new engineering techniques developed by Imperial researchers integrate a lightly reinforced flat stab foundation which subsumes two layers of reinforced hollow bricks on the top of the flat slab foundation.
The structure also encompasses damp-proofing materials to basically protect the home from moisture and insects – helping people in Central and South America to stay secured and well-protected during earthquakes. What’s more, the home technique includes timber (reinforced with a latticework of treated bamboo) to form the wall frames while the galvanized chicken mesh helps cement cling on to the frame. Even though the entire structuring and quakeproof designing does not ask for a heavy cost, researchers believe that the new style of wall building would surely help prevent homes from collapsing in the unfortunate event of an earthquake.
However, at the same time, the Imperial team also advises people to employ a lightweight yet durable corrugated cement-fiberboard roof as part of their home designing for added security and protection during a natural catastrophe. Aimed particularly for rural communities where homes generally are constructed next to each other using heavy clay tiles, the new quakeproof techniques are sure to establish a niche in green living while rendering utmost protection to people living in Latin America.
With such an intensive research for constructing sustainable and sturdy homes, we are indeed anticipating the engineering principles to pave a new way for saving lives in communities in the near future.