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Builders tipped on good construction habits

By Lisa Nsaba

Added 1st March 2019 07:50 AM

The construction and design experts were told the importance of involving members of the community on their planning process so as to be able to come up with successful projects

Builders tipped on good construction habits

The construction and design experts were told the importance of involving members of the community on their planning process so as to be able to come up with successful projects

Alex Ndibwami , a lecturer of architecture at Uganda Martyrs University speaking during the conference at Kabira Country Club on February 28, 2019. Photo by Karim Ssozi

HOUSING|CONSTRUCTION

KAMPALA - Architects, builders have been tipped on good construction habits that are inclusive and take cognizance of the behaviour of the surrounding community, climate and the environment.

The construction and design experts were told the importance of involving members of the community on their planning process so as to be able to come up with successful projects that are climate responsive and adapt to the nature of life in the area.

This was during a conference organized by Enabel, a Belgian development agency and Ministry of Education and Sports held at Kabira Country Club. The conference was held under the title ‘Raising awareness for climate responsive design in East Africa'.

Enabel and the Ministry of Education and Sports are currently working on designs for classroom structures that are aimed at reducing the effect of heat on students and use of thermal power for lighting by creating structures that allow in natural light throughout the day.

Enable has invested $19m (about sh70b) in sustainable infrastructure in Uganda. Hugo Verbist, the ambassador of Belgium to Uganda, noted that this is to ensure a better and safer learning environment for students and teachers and create a positive impact on the environment.

Yesterday, Alex Ndibwami, a lecturer of architecture at Uganda Martyrs University, advised the construction and architecture experts to leverage key networks and stakeholders during the planning process in order to come up with area and climate responsive designs that will not impact negatively on the environment.  

"A lot of times we fail at mapping our stakeholders effectively so the decisions we make are not as exhausted as they should be, we tend to operate too much in isolation and fall short of stepping out to other areas," he said.

"Stakeholder engagement from the highest level is also important, you need to understand their motivation for the project they want," Ndibwami added.

He said stakeholder engagement when mapping is vital because it helps them understand what the builders are trying to create in the projects or buildings they want to construct.

"Feel for the client, give them things they can visualize so they can understand what you are telling them, aim for occupant satisfaction," Ndibwami stated.

Mugdha Thakurdesai, an official from Field Fair International, also emphasized a holistic approach that involves stakeholders, right from the students and the teachers.

She said long term development can be achieved only if individual societies change how they act and think vis-a-vie the environment and lifestyle.

"The lifestyle of the people also affects the success of a project, so when constructing, we involve the students so that they are able to learn right from when they are young," Thakurdesai said.

She said while constructing the green buildings which are energy efficient and climate responsive, they involve the students in the process so that they can learn about them.

"We had a lot of teacher and student participation in the building process," Thakurdesai said.

Francesco Stassi, principal of Active Social Architecture (ASA) in Kigali pointed out the need to consider more cost effectiveness when planning a project, and the long term effect of a building

While giving an example of a dormitory ASA built in Kigali, he gave an example of changes they made like using clay instead of concrete which was much more sustainable, though more expensive.

"The community also needed a lot of training so that they could adapt to the different changes we were introducing, it was expensive but in the end cheaper in the long run," Stacci said.

So far, Enabel in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Sport has constructed climate responsive structures at three national Teachers' Colleges in Uganda. These include NTC Kaliro, Muni and Mubende.

The ministry is also in talks with the education sector stakeholders to have the building designs adapted in all school building plans.

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