Navajyoti Deaf School Reconstruction

Structural Designer

Thomas Consulting Ltd

Client Name

Deafway

Location

Navajyoti, Sindulhi, Nepal

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR: Local Labour Force

ARCHITECT: Mike Greer, Chief Executive, Deafway

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

In 2016 the charity Deafway approached Thomas Consulting to request help re-building a school in Nepal, following a series of earthquakes the previous year. Deafway had established the Navajyoti Deaf School in Sindulh some years ago, and similar to many Nepali buildings it had been constructed in load bearing masonry walls. Thomas Consulting applied experience in seismic design to ensure the new school was more robust and earthquake resistant.

Judge's comment:

Thomas Consulting received an unusual request: “Can you help us re-build a school in Nepal?”. Nepal was struck by earthquakes in 2015. More than 9,000 people were killed and many buildings destroyed, including the Navajyoti Deaf School in Sindulhi. Deafway had established the school some years ago, and similar to many Nepali buildings it had been constructed in load bearing masonry walls.

Following discussions with Lancashire based charity Deafway, who wanted a more robust and earthquake resistant school, Thomas Consulting were sent preliminary design proposals from Nepal, and they recognized seismic design and construction experience needed to be improved. It was decided it was better to liaise and mentor the local design engineer the school intended to use, rather than take over the design of the project and run it remotely from the UK. This decision enabled valuable knowledge transfer to the local engineers for future repairs and new build designs.

Within the confines of available local materials - clay brick masonry, cement and steel - and local construction experience in using these materials, Thomas Consulting carried out a conceptual design process to identify potential solutions to the problems faced at Navajyoti. The result of this process was to adopt concrete reinforced strengthening strips built into masonry panels to stiffen walls to ensure these could be tied to the primary frame.

The use of locally sourced materials and labour offered the best value solution to the client and local people - with additional value to society from the exchange of design and construction knowledge.