| Self - Help construction of 1-story buildings |
|Basic planning and design|
|Size, shape, and floor plan|
A family's interest and confidence in a building project will be much greater if they are able to envision and plan their home's rooms themselves. A first and very important way the field worker can help them do this is to visit other homes in their community with them and question them carefully about their reactions. Some questions a family might want to ask include:
• Do we want our rooms to be larger or smaller than these?
• Would we like them to be the same or a different shape?
• How do we feel about rooms with more than one purpose (for example, sleeping, dining, and living)?
• Are the rooms we have seen easy to move around in, or difficult?
• Is working in the kitchen or laundry space easy, or does it take a lot of walking back and forth?
• Do family members get in each other's way when moving from room to room? Where and why?
Once the family is familiar with a number of different possible designs, they will need to put the actual size and arrangement of rooms in their new home on paper.
An easy way to help them get started is to give the family pieces of paper representing the "human" measuring unit. Using 12 cm. for 1 adult length is the most convenient scale since 1/2 adult is an even 6 cm. and 1/3 adult is 4 cm. The family will need pieces for:
* the length and width of an adult standing or lying down;
* the length and width of an adult sitting;
* the space an adult needs from side to side in order to walk or work comfortably.
* any furniture they have or special space needs (for example, in countries with cold climates, space may be needed for chamberpots in the bedrooms so people don't have to go out at night).
Remember that the pieces must be proportional to one another so that they can be used to get an accurate picture of the space needed.
NOTE: Extra copies of the planning pieces for use with a community group are provided in Appendix 8.
A family can design its own rooms by gathering pieces it needs for any room and then arranging them into a square rectangle, or circle.
For example, a family planning a bedroom for a couple and one child would need:
• 2 pieces of an adult length and width for the couple's sleeping area;
• 1 piece ½-length x ½-length for the child's sleeping area;
• 1 piece ½-length x ½-length for an adult to sit;
• 1 strip the width of an adult for clothing or storage;
• 2 strips the width of an adult for each parent to walk around their bed(s), and to walk to the baby's bed;
• extra pieces for large furniture or other needs.
Once the pieces are gathered, the family should try to put them together so they form a room-shape. There are many combinations possible for any room, so people should be encouraged to experiment with as many arrangements as possible.
When all the pieces have been placed together, a line should be drawn around them. This line represents the complete room
If the shape of the room is irregular, the field worker should help the family make adjustments until it is a simple shape.
Space can be added to complete a square, rectangle, or circle. Some of the space in walking areas can be carefully reduced by up to 1/3.
To find out what the dimensions of the final room should be, first calculate the number of adult lengths along the sides of the room.
Then the family, or the field worker, if necessary, should multiply the number of adult lengths by 2 meters.
The answer will equal the actual dimension of the wall in meters.
EXAMPLE: Calculation of Dimensions of Rectangular Room Above
½ adult length
½ adult length
½ adult length
1½ adult lengths x 2 meters = 3m
1 adult length
2/3 adult length
1/3 adult length
2 adult lengths x 2 meters = 4m
Room Dimensions: 3 meters x 4 meters
Here are some additional measures that may be useful in deciding what pieces the family must use in planning kitchens (or outdoor cooking areas), and dining areas:
• Work space in kitchens, especially counter space should be about 1/2 adult wide. Anything wider will be hard to reach across;
• Space for fuel in kitchens should be about 1/2 adult long by 1/2 adult wide;
• Dining space for each person (that is, space for the person to sit and space in front of him or her to eat) should be about 1/2 adult wide and 3/4 adult long.
Let's look at how the "human measuring unit" can be used to plan several rooms. These suggested plans may be useful if a family has problems picturing what they can do with the "pieces" for a room. ( Note: the field worker may want to adapt these illustrations if the furniture shown here is not relevant to the local area)
Kitchens may be inside or outside, but in either case, they must be big enough to store all utensils and food away from animals, and to provide working space; at the same time, they should be small enough so that everything can be reached easily without many trips between supplies.
Shelves and cupboards save floor space. In places where the kitchen is primarily for storage and most of the cooking is done outside, the kitchen can be smaller.
Latrines can be small: 1 m. X 1 m. However, if they are built longer, they will be easier to clean and to move around in. (See the separate section on latrines, page 188 for more details).
Bathrooms require room to shower or bathe, to dry oneself, and to get dressed.
A verandah, or porch, is really a room with 2 or 3 sides open to the air. It should be big enough to be comfortable for social gatherings, family, prayers, or other meetings; this means at least one adult wide and one adult long (longer for large groups), so that there will be room to sit or lie down, and to walk around anyone using the room.