Workers Housing

B-Hive: Living units for workers from Wonder Grass

Vision

After a 3 years of in-house design research and technology development Wonder Grass has come out with a Workers housing solution which probably is one of its kind in the Indian context.

B-Hive – Living units is a Prefabricated, standardized and modular concept housing for workers using bamboo as principal material of construction.

The Module is 10ft wide and 12 ft long. The system is designed to be expanded on either side depending on the requirement. it can be expanded longitudinally to any length, provided there is stiffening at every 60 ft.

The base module is 10 ft X 40 ft which is 3-units together, and can accommodate 15 artisans.

The base module can be mirrored to come up with 20 ft X 40 ft unit which is 6-unit module, which can accommodate 30 artisans.

5-units together is a Module-2, which is 10 ft X 54 ft with a capacity to accommodate 25-30 artisans.

Moduke-2 when mirrored gives us 10-unit system which is 20 ft X 54 ft with a capacity of 50 artisans and a site-office.

The Assembly:

Vision

  • The Site is flattened, Lay-out is marked on site and 9" wide trench is dug, the bottom of which is rammed and hardened.
  • Precast RCC channels, are placed along the channel, as specified. The Channels are grouted using square-pipe (MS section) section which is specially fabricated for the purpose.
  • The horizontal tie-rafter is fixed on the RCC channels, using sheet-metal joinery and nut-bolt assembly. This forms the base on which the structure will be clamped.
  • The building system, which comprises of posts, lintel-level ties, truss and joists is then assembled over the base thus created.
  • The roofing is a corrugated GI Sheet fixed to bamboo rafters.
  • Composite-wall panels are then fixed to the structure. These wall panels are partly porous, mainly a mesh of woven bamboo strip.
  • The wall panels can be plastered using local soil, with appropriate stabilization process.
  • Alternatively the Wall –panels can be fixed with 6mm plywood, which gives a finished surface, is easy to fix, dismantle and carry.
  • Doors and Windows are frame-less, directly fixed onto the bamboo-structural components.

Salient Features:

  • Sustainable, eco-friendly and inclusive building process.
  • A 'System' approach - Prefabricated, Ready-to-assemble and easy to maintain building system.
  • Elegant, Aesthetically designed and climatically responsive design.
  • Competitively prised and available on demand.
  • Artisan team to assemble – erect and to provide post-sales support.
Design Parameters
  • A building system that is modular, so it can be expanded, preferably on either side.
  • A set of building components, which are inter-changeable and dimensionally coordinated.
  • Easy to assemble and dismantle, with minimum of skill-sets and available resources.
  • Should have a life-cycle of 5 – 8 years, with 2 /3 project rotations.

Defining the Problem

Largely unexplored and mostly ignored is how the state of this particular segment of housing market can be best explained. A typical construction workers, spends better half of his life (early youth specially) in the so called site- accommodations, which are a rickety collection of acacia poles and Corrugated metal sheets.

Workers on the construction projects, industrial establishments etc are typically migrant workers, who stay on-site for 8-10 months of the year and routinely go-back to their native. The living units (in most cases) are unfit to stay for long time-spans, are cold in winter and hot in summer, have unhealthy acoustics and are unaesthetic almost to the point of being 'demeaning'.

There probably is no building-system available which caters to the requirements of a housing solution for the 'workers'. It is easy to extrapolate that a good 'living condition' for worker will slowly translate into a better work and performance.

A workers housing can include a vast range of buildings;

  • This includes housing for workers staying on large infrastructure projects, residential projects etc.
  • Housing for industrial units, large manufacturing plants etc.
  • Housing requirements of migrant workers for mines, agro-industries etc.