Costford is a pioneer in introducing low-cost and eco-friendly construction methods in Kerala. They have even developed a few unique technologies to make construction hassle-free and pocket friendly. The experts at Costford say that the expenses could be reduced up to 40% if these methods are utilized in the various stages of construction.
The architects at Costford observe that the floor width needs to be just one and a half feet wide. They say that there is no advantage in unnecessarily extending the floor area. Besides, it would result in additional expenses. Moreover, a smaller floor width doesn’t require dogging bigger holes in the ground. The sand that is dug out could be used for construction. The expenses could skyrocket if there is too much sand and stones to fill up the foundation. Paving hard rocks in the foundation and then filling the gaps using slake lime or mud is Costford’s method of making the foundation sturdy. If the mud in the ground is firm, then concreting could be avoided.
The walls are usually built using bricks, mud or sand–lime blocks. The ideal size of the bricks is 9x4, 5x3 inches. It should ideally be within a palm’s size. For a single-storey house, there is no need to build the wall from the centre of the foundation. The wall should be built in 9 inches width from outside of the foundation wall. This would help in avoiding the weakening of the hard rock foundation that sticks outside.
Costford mostly adopts a construction method called the rat trap method. This method could reduce the usage of bricks up to 25%. In this method, two layers of bricks are paved horizontally by leaving space in the centre. This empty space would be rectangular in shape. Interestingly, this helps in ensuring amazing air circulation inside the house.
The walls could also be built with gaps and not horizontally or vertically, to ensure air circulation. This would help in avoiding windows, thereby saving timber, glass and other expenses too. Interestingly, this feature could be made attractive by paving glass.
Paving the bricks
The bricks are paved in the cross-section method. The blocks could be chosen as per the length of the wall. There is no need to fill the gap between large blocks using shortened ones as it would affect the bonding between the bricks. The gap could be managed by leaving space in the centre. First add a layer of slake lime and then pave the bricks on top. Slake lime could be used to fill the gap.
There is no need for plastering and painting in the construction method developed by Costford. A bit of decorative work on the whitewash would add a unique charm to the walls. The construction of the walls could be ended by levelling the bricks and adding proper lines.
There is no need for steel or concrete lintels to build windows or doors that are four feet wide. Instead, Costford suggests paving a layer of bricks, with the wideer side in the front, on top of the window and door frame. Then, add a layer of brick, with the narrow side facing the front, on top of this. Pave three layers of bricks on both sides with some space in the centre. Install two steel rods in the centre and strengthen them with concrete. This would not just reduce the cost of construction but looks incredible too. This feature could be built in an arch shape, flat shape or in segments or as corbelled arch. It perfectly suits homes that are plastered with mud. The corbelled arches are extremely cheaper to design. In this method, the lower part of a block is projected 2.25 inches than the lower block.
Filler slab technology is used to construct the roof. Ceiling is built before fixing roofing tiles on concrete. The advantage of this method is that it is extremely cheaper. Besides, the walls aren’t burdened as the roof isn’t too heavy. This would increase the longevity of the structure.
Bamboo rods are widely used for proofing. Costford uses treated bamboo instead of regular rods. Using attractive jali works instead of windows and reusing old timber for furnishing and erecting biogas plants are some of the ways in which Costford makes its houses extremely eco-friendly.