Build Up Nepal

Build up Nepal is an organisation which aims to find cheap and easy ways to build high-quality houses from local materials, by local people, that are able to withstand earthquakes. The organisation was founded after the 2015 earthquake which destroyed many homes, especially in poorer regions and killed approximately 2600 people and hurt among 14000.

Our first project was performed by two students doing their master thesis at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. The main aim of this project was to develop and improve Build up Nepal’s building methods built by local citizens in rural areas surrounding Kathmandu. This included improvement to their current roof structure, developing systems to secure the building quality done by unskilled labour, make drawings and calculations to document the structural and dynamical performance of typical houses and share our ideas/knowledge for building safe earthquake house. A field trip was executed during the summer of 2016 and was followed by three new projects the upcoming year.

Out of these three projects one was performed by professional engineers from Gothenburg and the two others by students as bachelor theses at Chalmers. The professional team started to evaluate the process behind the building process. The earth brick press machine could address severe delay of the reconstruction due to mechanical failure which had to be fixed by the engineer located in Kathmandu. By creating a manual for the machine, maintenance and reparation could to some extent be done by the locals in the remote areas with just some assistance from the engineer.

One of the student groups concentrated their work at creating a manual for the whole house construction. This manual had to be available in the remote areas surrounding Kathmandu which means communication had to be done visual with both pictures and videos as well as via text. Smart phones are common in Nepal which lead to extend the manuals to an offline based app. The third project focused on the durability of the produced Compressed Stabilised Earth Bricks (CSEB) and the further development of the testing processes connected to this. The testing had to be easily done without any specialised tools which resulted among others, a drop test from different magnitudes.