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Arup Community Engagement

Project overview

Project overview

  • Retrofit aiming to provide a safe learning environment for 3683 students in a seismically active area of Nepal.
  • 10 schools in the remote Kalikot region of far west Nepal earmarked for retrofitting as a part of Disaster Awareness Worldwide Network’s (Dawn) Schools Retrofitting Project (SRP).
  • Practical stone masonry design guide which can be applied to not only the schools on the project but domestic homes alike.

The project aims to retrofit ten schools in the remote far west region of Nepal, which is seismically active and natural disaster prone. In the first stage of the project, the project team completed site visits to two schools in the area. Two schools sites, Pili Kalika Secondary School and Babira Primary School, comprise of six and four buildings respectively. The visit has informed us of deficiencies in the existing stone buildings, local construction methods adopted and local materials available plus the extent of community support and involvement available. After the site visit, the team has produced a detailed site survey booklet that includes conceptual retrofit designs for the existing stone buildings.

Geological assessment, seismic hazard assessment, material assessment, structural survey and assessment and socio-economic survey have already been carried out post the site visit. The aim in the second stage of the project is to complete a detailed assessment of these buildings and propose a suitable retrofit design for each of the ten buildings.

The school buildings at present are largely constructed with dry stone and mud mortar. The community lacks the technical knowledge as there is little technical guidance available on masonry stone buildings in developing countries that do not have the luxuries of material quality and equipment.

The project team also aims to produce a detailed building assessment, detailed building specific retrofit proposal, technical paper on masonry design and site related reports that will be helpful for the overall design of the buildings and to ensure learning from this project for similar future projects.

Buildings constructed with little technical guidance can result in devastating effects in the event of an earthquake. The school retrofit project in the remote far west region of Nepal is aimed at providing the local community with a robust building to withstand seismic hazards, as well as assessing the local geological hazards and the suitability of the site for building construction. The further aim is to develop a masonry stone design guide, which can be passed on to the community in order to transfer the knowledge and ultimately make them self-sufficient. This will help the community to better maintain the state of their existing buildings and incorporate better design in the future for new schools and buildings.

Disaster Awareness Worldwide Network (DAWN) is a small UK based charity working with the disaster prone developing countries that are vulnerable to a range of disasters. They strive for the advancement of disaster risk reduction strategies through increased access to education and practical solutions for vulnerable communities. Being a small charity, DAWN requires sponsorship and funding from external parties to further the project to the next phase.

The project team’s work in the first phase was to advise DAWN on ensuring the project delivers value for money, successful technical and social outcomes and long term sustainability. The team provided assistance to understand the limitations of a seismic retrofit and the technical constraints of the project and carried out a seismic and geological assessment of the area. The project demonstrates excellent sustainability qualities with the retrofit design taking into consideration the use of local materials in the area, which again is a must due to the remote location of the project site.

Disaster Awareness Worldwide Network (DAWN) is a small UK based charity working with the disaster prone developing countries that are vulnerable to a range of disasters.
Andy Nasla, DAWN, UK



7 October, 2013
Meeting local partner NGO and first site visit

A team of 5 from Arup, including two structural engineers, two geologists, and an architect/planner, fly out to Nepal to meet our partner charity and the local NGO and engineers. After a 1 week site visit to rural Nepal the team return to Hong Kong having completed a structural survey of a total of 10 buildings, geological survey of the area, and a socioeconomic survey. The team also collected a few samples of the stones used in construction to carry out a material test back in Hong Kong.

13 April, 2013
Project approved by Arup Cause
Arup funding was secured for the April 2013-2014 period. The desktop study and research in to the schools in Kalikot is well underway, as is the preparation for the proposed site visit in the latter half of the year.
10 November, 2012
Introduction to DAWN

Through a mutual contact Arup was introduced to DAWN. The purpose of the project was established and goals were set. The aim of Arup’s work in the first phase of the project was to provide advice to DAWN on establishing the project by ensuring value for money, successful technical and social outcomes and long term sustainability.

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