NEED FOR A NEW APPROACH TO BUILDING STORM SHELTERS
article by Mr. Javed Sultan, the Executive Director and
co-founder of SARID. Mr. Sultan is an Architect and Civil Engineer,
has a B.Arch from Turkey, and Masters in Architecture and Civil
Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.
He is a registered Architect in USA. He has developed the technology
called MASS. He is also the president of Kinoo, Inc. a for-profit
corporation, with offices in Boston and Washington, DC in USA.
His firm Kinoo, Inc. in 1999 made the Inc. 500 list, five hundred
fastest growing privately held corporations in USA, and also received
the Small Minority Massachusetts Business of the Year award. Mr.
Sultan has also been recognized as the Small Minority Business
Person of the Year for Massachusetts. The later two awards were
by Small Business Administration, USA.
by nature with its fertile alluvial plains, rich and prolific rivers,
is also the reluctant host to violent cyclones, tornadoes, tsunamis
and untold nature's wrath and vagaries. The annual passage of nature's
whims kills humans and livestock indiscriminately, destroys shelter
randomly, thereby condemning its destitute and poor population to
a never-ending cycle of misery and hardship.
Those who live
in permanent shelters, such as the well to do in Urban areas, with
structures made of masonry, brick, reinforced concrete or a combination
of the preceding are able to weather the storm without significant
damage. But the majority of the structures in the rural areas, by
some estimate 70%, get damaged or destroyed by storms. These poorly
constructed ramshackle rural homes made of materials such a bamboo
or sun-baked brick, or adobe structures, do not fare well and have
to be re-built or repaired practically every year. The cost of reconstruction
for the poor is economically devastating and prevents the households
from increasing their capital assets, cripples economic growth,
and the associated improvement in quality of life. The first cost
of these poorly constructed structures may be low but the life cycle
cost of these structures, over a period of as little as 15 years,
sometimes exceeds masonry and other types of permanent construction.
So the poor end up paying a lot more than the rich for their shelter.
The need for
a technology that can weather the storm, and not rob the emerging
economy of accumulating capital, cannot be overemphasized.
One such attempt
at finding a solution for the emerging economies, and for the poor
of the world, is in the potential of a new proprietary construction
technology, patent pending, called Membrane Assisted Seismic-Resistant
Structures (MASS) Technology. Although developed initially to be
used as a self-help construction technology for earthquake prone
areas of the world they can be widely used for less stringent conditions
such as storms and cyclones.
MASS is essentially
a wall technology that reduces the cost of everything excepting
the roof. It creates a lighter, and stronger, wall and foundation
system and allows for greater amount of insulation thereby creating
a robust, and energy efficient, structural building envelope. Several
building prot-types have been field tested, in Kashmir, and have
already stood seismic events of Richter 6.5+ without exhibiting
any structural distress.
MASS is being
currently utilized for earthquake construction of homes, schools
etc. in Kashmir, Pakistan. A world renowned international philanthropic
organization The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) has added the technology
to its menu of construction strategies for the earthquake ravaged
areas of Kashmir. See www.sarid.net the design has been engineered,
and stamped, by foreign as well as US based structural engineers.
The design allows for construction of all types of shelters, homes,
schools, hospitals to be built at significantly lower cost then
known technologies but also has numerous other advantages. The use
of the technology in Bangladesh will result in homes and storm shelters
that will, it is anticipated, make the structures more affordable.
Some of the key benefits of the technology are as follows:
Shelters: The wall technology provides a comparatively inexpensive
way to erect structures to face tsunami and tidal surges. Current
approaches to building mounds, or walls of Masonry etc., are cost
Structure: The design looks and feels like Masonry or/ and Reinforced
Concrete structure. The structure is permanent, comparable to
Masonry, and has a life of 75 plus years.
o Cost: The
cost is 25% to 30% less, and sometimes more based on the design
parameters, then know technologies such as Masonry, Brick, Pre-cast.
Buildings using this material have been designed for Seismic Zone
-4, highest seismic resistance California Building Code, with
design for ground acceleration exceeding .8g. The structures have
been designed for wind speeds of 250 mph and more. Design for
storm shelters is less stringent.
Generator: It allows for participation by unskilled labor, homes
can be built using hand tools, so would give jobs to people after
a cyclone helping create a capital asset. This does not preclude
more industrialized process for erecting quickly large batches
of storm shelter and homes. Most permanent structures, using known
technology, require skilled labor, as margins of error in technology
execution are small.
o Green and
Environment Friendly: It is green architecture, so reduces environmental
pollution, as 90% of the materials are recyclables, soils, and
biodegradable, and the material used do not use fossil fuels for
its creation. Among known comparative technologies, typically
production of bricks and or steel structures, use fossil fuel
o Lower transportation
Cost: The design relies on lighter material, and use of local
soil, hence reducing transportation cost. This result is faster
construction. Less taxing to a country's fuel supplies.
o Post Construction
Stabilization of existing Bamboo or Adobe Structures: The technology
allows for new construction as well as post construction stabilization
of existing single story adobe, or bamboo, structures, by a process,
which requires a very minimal investment. The post stabilization
will create a permanent structure that will become maintenance
free, and will help in growth of individual's income and assets.
o Low Startup
Cost: No large start up or capital expenditure for infrastructure
development. Monies are basically needed for purchase of hand
tools and the actual construction material, 50% of which is free
as it is the local soil.
Since the construction process consists of simple repetitive tasks,
it allows for a larger margin of error without compromising the
structure. It will stimulate micro-enterprise ventures, for making
building components, and will open job opportunities for the unskilled,
women and disabled.
and Insulation: Because of the high insulation values for the
walls, so thermal insulation values of R-25 to R-30, resulting
in temperature differences between outside skin and inside of
20 degrees Fahrenheit, actual for homes built in Kashmir, obviates
need for fans and air conditioning. Most Masonry structures absorb
heat during the day and re-radiate at night, and with Bangladesh
temperatures, the norm is use of Air conditioning (A/C)or/and
fans among those who can afford. A/C is rapidly becoming the major
global warming ozone depleting agent, especially in countries
of South and South East Asia. This technology obviates the need
for A/C in homes and Institutional buildings in both developing
and developed economies. Hence significant operational cost savings.