| Self - Help construction of 1-story buildings |
This manual has been designed to help field workers with little or no construction experience assist a community or family to
• plan and design a 1-story community building (such as a school or health clinic) or home that fits their present and future needs,
• assess the advantages or disadvantages of locally available construction materials,
• draw and understand their own construction plans; and
• successfully complete construction according to their own plans.
The aim is to present the construction process in three basic steps:
1) first, exploring the needs of the people who will use a building and arriving at a basic design that will fill as many of those needs as possible; the basic design includes decisions about the number and size of rooms, the arrangement of the rooms, the major construction materials that will be used, and the choice of a site for the building;
2) second, working out a detailed, written construction plan for each part of the structure, from the foundation to the roof;
3) third, actually constructing the building according to plan.
In its technical sections, the manual focuses on basic principles of construction with materials that are low-cost, available in many parts of the world, and easy to work with. In any given locale or climate, different materials (or combinations of materials) will be available-or suitable. But understanding the construction principles covered here should help the field worker work with self-help groups to adapt the specific step-by-step suggestions to whatever materials are available to them.
No book could hope to cover all design and construction problems or situations. This manual presents some of the most widely used innovations in local materials and design. But in many cases, field workers and communities will need to adapt these ideas to conditions at the project site. The Peace Corps Information Collection & Exchange hopes to incorporate such local adaptations in future supplements to this manual!. Any comments, suggestions, or new ideas are most welcome. Please send information about your construction project's experience to the address on page (v).
One final note: the essentials of the construction process are well within the understanding and skills of community groups. But the field worker should always have one or more advisers in mind who can be contacted if problems arise during construction. In any project, no matter how simple, unforeseen difficulties or special conditions may pose problems that this manual does not cover. We have tried to indicate those areas, especially during the planning of a construction project, in which assistance from someone experienced in local construction problems may be needed. In addition, the bibliography at the end of the manual lists other valuable sources of more detailed information in Appendix 7.