Of the basic necessities for human existence, shelter comes next after food and clothing. However, the problem of owning a house is increasing day by day, especially in underdeveloped countries, and Nepal is no exception in this regard.
In Nepal, the construction of houses is being done mainly by the same old methods, which require not only a long time but also waste a lot of building materials due to their inefficient use. However, most people do not know this fact.
In urban areas, cement and steel are used extensively. But their use is not efficient due to the lack of skilled manpower.
The result is high cost and weak structure in house construction.
The annual housing need of Nepal is estimated at 136,000 units, and the production is only 102,000 units, leaving a backlog of 34,000 units every year.
This situation has been reached due to limited financial and material resources, and the low priority received by this sector from the government in the past.
Unlike in other countries, the government does not carry out housing projects, and individual homes built with one's own resources are still the norm.
This condition does not seem to improve in the future since the financial capacity of the people to own a house is decreasing year after year due to the high price of building materials and labour.
Actually, whatever limited resources are available for housing can be fully utilised through effective research and development, which has been lacking here since many years ago.
In order to solve the housing problem of Nepal, research to develop low cost housing technology is of great importance.
For this reason, the government should not only carry out research for the development of this technology but also encourage the private sector to do the same.
In fact, a low cost house does not mean only a cheap house without considering its quality, durability and strength, as is generally understood by the people.
For a house to be of low cost, it should be well planned, have a sound structure and have building materials most efficiently used through appropriate technology.
Once we get a piece of land, we are confronted with the design of the individual house. Actually, there are several aspects of the design of a house which will have a direct impact on its cost, but most people are not aware of this fact. The choice of the design of a house varies from one person to another.
However, a low cost house can be constructed with a fine design if we consult efficient engineers and architects who have gained experience in this field.
A version of this article appears in the print on July 22 2021, of The Himalayan Times.