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Latest Updates

Progress with earth bag and other demonstrations for earthquake survivors

Kyle Mohamed

Since our last update Narayan and Santosh have been very busy.

The earth bag building at Gol dunga is progressing well. To date more than 200 people have visited the building site to learn about earth bag building. We have learnt a few lessons along the way, including that sourcing of fresh new rice sacks from the supplier that are all exactly the same size and shape would have been better than using recycled rice sacks which tend to vary in size. We also realize that diddling (turning in) the corners of the sacks would be better for preventing sagging at the corners and for packing the sacks tightly.

Laying earth bags on concrete tie beam above the foundations

 Laying earth bags on concrete tie beam above the foundations with steel rebar going through the earth bag at the corner

Laying earth bags on concrete tie beam above the foundations with steel rebar going through the earth bag at the corner

 As rebar is tied into the tie beam below we are lowering the earth bags onto the rebar as needed

As rebar is tied into the tie beam below we are lowering the earth bags onto the rebar as needed

We are making reinforced concrete tie beams top and bottom and there are steel rods tied into the tie beam at regular distances, including at all corners and sides of openings. Sacks are loaded onto the tied rods so that the rods go through bags not between them. Two rows of barbed wire are laid in between every layer of bags after the filled earth bags have been thoroughly tamped down (compressed). We are learning that it takes practice and care to get the bags and layers even and neat, but that this is crucial to a safe design.

Walls coming up but we need to work on even bag size, dibbled (tucked in) corners, and new rice sacks next time round. We think recycling rice sacks is not a good idea. Notice the steed rebar through the sacks which will be tied into the steel rebar in the bond beam on top.

As well as demonstrating the earth bag building we are supporting the community to advise them on how to recycle materials from collapsed buildings, especially zinc sheets. We are advising on insulation, how to tie the components together and how to prevent damage in wind and earthquakes.

We are looking for sites to demonstrate rammed earth building as soon as possible. If you have a site and the capital to get started with a demonstration building please let us know.

 Narayan explaining the earth bag method to visitors

Narayan explaining the earth bag method to visitors

 We will demonstrating building rammed earth walls like this next - this building has survived the earthquakes unscathed and we believe this is a great sustainable and affordable long term housing solution

We will demonstrating building rammed earth walls like this next - this building has survived the earthquakes unscathed and we believe this is a great sustainable and affordable long term housing solution