Shekhar Prasad Timilsina in front of his house that is in the process of being retrofitted.
With the government approval, Build Change is now engaged in training 2,000 government engineers and 12,000 masons in retrofitting over the next two years.
Shekhar Prasad Timilsina, 69, is a resident of Thulachaur, Bethanchok-2 of Kavre district and lives with his wife, two sons, daughter-in-laws and four grandchildren.
The earthquake of April 2015 badly damaged Shekhar’s house which he built with a lot of hard work and passion.
While many of his fellow villagers opted to rebuild their houses, Shekhar’s family was forced to live in the same house under dangerous conditions, as it had no other option. As a farmer with limited income, Shekhar could not even think of rebuilding another house for his large family.
“It does not make you feel good if you have to demolish the house you have built with hard work and passion,” he shared.“So, we had been looking for sustainable and cost-effective ways to make the existing house safer and earthquake resistant.”
When Build Change started retrofitting houses in Bethanchok, Shekhar and his family were very happy to start retrofitting their present house. Their two-story house is currently under the process of being retrofitted and half of the work has already been completed.
Shekhar is very happy with the steady progress of the retrofitting process. “With the use of technology, the drawings and cost and labor estimates were extracted in a short period of time, which further makes it time and cost efficient,” he said.
Altogether nine local builders have been provided with competency-based trainings on retrofitting.
“I am very happy that we are finally getting to live in a safe, spacious and earthquake resistant house,” he said.“Furthermore, it is cost-effective,saves time and requires less labor.”
While waiting to shift to their retrofitted house, Shekhar recommends other villagers to adopt the same technology whose houses are not completely damaged.
Padam Lal Shrestha, 31, of the same village agrees with Shekhar. He lives with his wife, two children and parents.
Padam used to work in Kathmandu as a mason before joining Build Change as a Builder Trainer. With his exceptional willingness and ability to learn, he has been working in our retrofit sites in Syanja, Nuwakot, Kavre and Sindhupalchowk leading various retrofit projects.
Padam expresses his happiness to learn the skills and techniques of building an earthquake resistant and safer houses through retrofitting, and transfer this skill to other community members.
Padam is just one of the thousands of masons who is part of this training on retrofitting provided by Build Change.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) approved the retrofitting type design submitted by Build Change for stone masonry buildings in mud mortar on June 4 2017, after a thorough review by the Technical Committee including representatives from the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and leading Nepali structural engineering experts.
With the government approval, Build Change is now engaged in training 2,000 government engineers and 12,000 masons in retrofitting over the next two years with support from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Department for International Development (DFID).
Retrofitting is an innovative and cost-effective method of seismically strengthening existing houses by strengthening structural elements and stabilizing the current structure, making them earthquake resistant.
It allows homeowners to return rapidly to their seismically strengthened home and to renew their agrarian lifestyle. This is especially important in rural villages where houses are both a home and a farm.
Nepali rural houses usually consist of a barn, a granary and a home, all in one. Retrofitting a rural house not only protects families and their livestock from the impact of future earthquake damage, but also enables families to return to their pre-earthquake level of economic productivity, thus restoring livelihoods.
From Build Change.