Low Cost Housing Design
The client has requested a design of a low-cost housing estate in the coastal region of Tamil Nadu. They are particularly interested in seeing how costs can be minimized and how health and safety can be improved through the housing
The approach taken is by considering 3 aspects of a design – functional, economic and eco-friendly. Obviously in the case the functional aspect is to improve the public health and safety.
Climate in Tamil Nadu (1)
The typical climate of Pondi Cherry (a town in coastal Tamil Nadu) is taken to be the reference. The reference climate is classified as hot and humid. The minimum and maximum temperature depends on the season but is typically 23 °C and 33°C respectively. The min-max spread of temperature is roughly 10 degree Celsius. Therefore it can be concluded that the priority of the house climatic design is to reduce the max temperature. Providing adequate ventilation is also a priority because of the uncomfortable humidity.
Solar analysis is done to ensure that sunlight has the least impact on the house. This shows that the sun in Tamil Nadu tends to be skewed to the southern side of the east-west axis. Therefore evidently the house is oriented in such a way which minimizes incident direct sunlight. (2)
Housing Estate Layout
The average human walking speed of people above 65 years old is 1.25m/s according to a research published by US Roads, then walking end-to-end at the longest perimeter (160m) requires only 160/1.25 = 128 seconds so walking time is not an important consideration in the housing estate (3). The housing estate layout is also designed in consideration of the convenient and conservative (with regard to risks to public health) placement of services. Internal Road
As shown by the ‘Typical Road Plan’ and ‘Typical Road Section A’ drawing, the road is 5m wide. The road layers is underlain by a 100mm thick lateritic soil stabilized with bamboo leaf ash (BLA) as the sub-base. Many researches have proved the practicality and cost-effectiveness of using lateritic soil as the base course (5). Bamboo leaves is a by-product in the process of converting bamboo tree into bamboo trunks suitable for house construction. BLA has been found to have very good stabilizing properties when mixed with lateritic soil. As shown in a research conducted in Nigeria, the strength of lateritic soil mixed with BLA improved significantly (6). Bamboo leaves has to be burned and heated in a kiln at 600 degree Celsius. Any typical kiln would be able to accomplish this process. In the case of no suitable kiln can be found within an economical distance, cement can be used as the alternative. The laterite soil layer is topped with 100mm thick water-bound macadam as the base course which in turn is surface-dressed with a 50mm thick light bituminous surfacing. This is necessary because laterite soil road by itself produces significant dust emissions (7). Additionally, laterite soil surface can be easily corrugated by passing vehicles, making the surface uneven and susceptible to unwanted pooling of water. In wet weather, laterite soil surface tends to scour and clog drainage (8). This design is deemed suitable for light to medium traffic which is expected at the housing estate. Furthermore a study from the Ministry of Rural Development of India reported that the construction of a road similar to the proposed design is economically feasible. The study assumed a design period of 10 years and an average daily traffic of 150 vehicles which is what is expected at the housing estate (9).
Furthermore the road is sloped 1:50 from the centreline to allow water to flow freely into the shoulder drains. Reinforced concrete storm water U-drains flank both shoulders of the road. The U-shaped cross section is ideal with regards to flow efficiency. Weep holes protected by geotextile and cobbles allow excess water to drain from the...
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