Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Back to work! After Tagaytay, Santa Rosa and Carmona Cavite, Malaybay is the next site BuildAid has been commissioned to work on.

Malaybay is a barangay (community) that has been struck by fire in last December. Woodframe construction was the cause of the rapid fire spread throughout the densely packed houses. Yet there is hope. Among those properties, ten approached CCT as financial partners for the reconstruction of their house. CCT gives loans of P50,000 ($1000 CD) to the families in order to rebuild their houses, some borrowing up to P120,000 ($2,500 CD).

(Malybay master plan)
The task set out for BuildAid is to revise the failures encountered in the design and construction of such houses. Indeed, since the site is next to a lake, it is no surprise to find the water table 40cm below the ground. Actually, it used to be a fishing lake that has been reclaimed by landfill and what remains of the lake by garbage. This situation presents a large issue in terms of foundations and a risk of settlement of the houses, since the houses are now being built out of concrete masonry rather than woodframe construction, for not another fire to spread again through the barangay. Another problem is the knowledge of construction by the builders, which are the owners of the houses and their neighbours. They sometime don’t have any knowledge in construction, which lead to overdesigned steel rebars, too much mortar being applied, and too large columns and beams. Those issues might be relatively minor in the West, but in these situations every penny need be used efficiently. The loan is also given in one shot, yet other unexpected priorities might arise, such as illness, schooling, and newborns. Thus, in theory P50,000 seems more than enough for a 16sq.m. lot, but in reality money is spread elsewhere and the houses are never completed.

(residents building their house)

BuildAid went on site to visit the individual families to take measurements of their existing stage in construction, to then send these to the engineers in Hong Kong for feedback on the structural aspect, while we further investigate each families needs and aspirations, in order to provide a sufficient completed plan for their houses. This work can only be carried out under close contact with the families involved to fully understand their specific living habits.
(Rusty and Corazon Gentolia, CCT partners; Rusty is a recent Computer Science graduate from the Philippino Christian University)

Ilove the description of the actual design and engineering challenges that you are facing. Very impressive.
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