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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Some post tsunami houses lack professionalism - SLIA

Daily News: 18/07/2005" by Edward Arambewala

Some of the post-tsunami houses that are being built today lack professionalism. The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) whom the government has appointed recently as coordinators and monitors of the new tsunami housing projects that are coming up, said SLIA President Architect Rukshan Vidyalankara at a press conference held at the SLIA Auditorium at Vidya Mawatha.

He said: "Some of the reports coming from the residents of new houses are not heartening - newly built houses sinking into the ground, walls that cannot withstand simple pressure, poor material being used for housing, infrastructure facilities being neglected. It is heartbreaking to watch helplessly as all one's possessions are destroyed.

"The flaws that have appeared in some of the housing projects that have been completed speak of the lack of professionalism in achieving a noble objective. The houses that are built today should not be the slums of tomorrow. These structures should not only be habitable homes but also be of better quality than the ones they replace. This would automatically ensure better living standards for the people," SLIA President said.

"The social system that has appealed to the Lankans over the ages is the neighbourhood concept of a cluster of around 30 houses - not mass housing projects of over 300 houses. Careful attention would have to be given to this aspect as the no. of houses are almost one lakh.

"As professionals it is our duty to educate the general public, Donor Agencies, NGOs, individuals, and corporate sector that are involved in housing projects that each project has to go through a series of milestones for the successful implementation. These "milestones" and the processes have been outlined in the handout provided. All housing projects have to pass them successfully ensuring that the rainwater will not run into the houses, that sewage would not flow into the neighbouring waterways or that houses lacking the provision of basic facilities would be constructed," he said.

Some of the housing projects that are ongoing have not been provided with professional design inputs. Some are producing housing units of very cheap quality. It is clear that most of these projects favour quantity over quality concept. It is important that the highest quality be maintained in all housing projects carried out and thus avoid creation of the slums of tomorrow!

"The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects has been co-ordinating several housing projects on the request of the government and these projects are progressing smoothly. In addition, members of our Institute are involved in providing their professional inputs in no small measure. Large number of houses is being designed and planned by our members. Our institute also has a mechanism to assist those Donors who need such services. Those interested should contact General Manager SLIA for further details," Vidyalankara said.

Archt. Ranjan Nadesapillai, FIA (SL), Hon. Secy. SLIA and Senior Vice President Archt. H.J.K. Perera FIA (SL) were also present.

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