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Best Practices for Human Settlements
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Housing inadequacy is largely felt at the level of low income and more so with continuous rise in cost of construction at all levels. This necessitates the use of appropriate and cost effective technologies in house construction. Though technologies have been developed, there has been a large gap in application. The Building Centre movement in India therefore, emerged as a grass root level intervention with the objectives of:
This movement has now spread all over India with 385 Building Centres. It has received national, regional and international attention and appreciation. Over 55,000 artisans are trained on appropriate technologies, in various community/residential building construction, with the saving of 15% to 40% over conventional cost.
The building centre movement has taken long strides. From the first Nirmithi Kendra in
Quilon in 1986 in Kerala, to the latest one in Jammu in 1995, is the real journey from
south to north criss-crossing the length and breadth of the country through 385 building
centres. A truly national network, it is emerging, as was the vision conceived when the
Government of India launched the National Network of Building Centres.
Housing stress and inadequacy is mainly felt at the level of weaker sections and
low-income households in particular and continuous rise of cost in construction at all
1) The Building Centre movement has addressed these issues. The movement was meant to
provide institutional intervention for putting into practice, at the grassroot level, the
new research and development and appropriate technologies. The movement aimed to 'enable'
2) This has helped in creating 'awareness' about the available alternative options and
also an 'appreciation' of these options not only in terms of cost effectiveness but also
in terms of structural, functional and aesthetic sufficiency. The use of these
"cost-effective options" has changed the
3) The use of these applications has led to solutions with 15 to 40 percent savings over the conventional costs.
4) It has also helped in house construction programmes with people's participation through upgradation of skill levels of the local construction workers. Over 45,000 construction workers have been given practical, hands-on training using various innovative technologies till now.
The Building Centre Movement has exhibited the sustainable elements with its spread
along the lengths and breadths of the country with a network of 385 Building Centres. The
Building Centre directly contributes to the sustainable shelter strategies by
strengthening the enabling role and have succeeded in giving access to building materials,
technologies and construction delivery systems at grass root level with affordable and
cost effective options. This has helped in creating 'awareness' about the available
alternative options in terms of cost effectiveness and also in
Further, with the major strength of the Building Centre movement the utilisation of the human resource from the community with appropriate empowerment and enablement to evolve and contribute shelter solution by easily utilising appropriate technology in the local context. Any initiative taken with the people and strengthening them with right level of resource transfer is bound to have its permanent impact and further ripple effect on sustainablity and replicability.
Further, the nature of technology propagated and applied are sustainable options, keeping in view, least use of energy gush in options. Any efforts of stopping the removal of top soil, cutting of trees etc. for building material products like doors and windows, which are energy intensive, by using appropriate technology options are encouraged.
Further use of various industrial, agricultural waste materials through building
centres give the movement a larger element of sustainability. Housing and building
construction contribute to sustainable level of employment generation and economic
development, While directly serving the
It is also seen that the material labour consumption in the overall context which is of
the order of 70 : 30 in conventional options has undergone a major change by using cost
effective options. With the material consumption level come down and better wages
available for the local artisans and the new ratio of material to labour is 60 : 40.
Further new cause of construction with the options promoted by building centres are yet 15
to 40 percent cheaper than conventional options. Therefore, use of local human resources
with upgraded skills and energy is always sustainable model. Since the building centre has
an amalgam of operational activities using training, production, construction and
guidance, the overall economic sustainability and financial viability is assured. This is
The contribution of the building centres for locations along the lengths and breaths of the country with diverse sub-continental proportions and catering to geoclimatological context from hilly terrain to plains to coastal areas and wide variations of temperature, rain fall, wind, natural disasters (cyclone, earthquake, land slides and flooding) have clearly demonstrated the sustainability of the movement at any location.
The building centre movement has created awareness among the general public to use cost effective technologies in construction practice.
Since the building centres have an amalgam of operational activities using training, production, construction and guidance, the overall economic sustainability and financial viability is assured. It is also catering to the geoclimatological context from hilly terrain to plains to coastal areas and wide variations of temperature, rainfall, wind, natural disasters have clearly demonstrated the sustainability.
The success is achieved by setting up of 385 building centres over the last six years, all over India. Most of the State governments/local initiatives have come forward to link the building centre movement with housing programmes.
Secretary/DUEPA, Govt. of India
Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment, Government of India
HUDCO, India Habitat Centre
BMTPC 'C' Wing, Nirman Bhawan
Avas Vikas Sansthan, Jaipur
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