MINISTRY LAUNCHES UPGRADED TWO BEDROOM HOUSE PLAN
Fijians living in the Rural and Maritime areas now have the opportunity to build better and stronger homes.
This is after the Ministry of Housing and Community Development launched its upgraded Two Bedroom House Plan which is a Category 4, Engineer Certified house plan.
With frequent and increasing occurrence of natural disasters having made a great impact on the housing infrastructure, especially for those living in the Rural and Maritime areas, Hon. Premila Kumar, Minister for Housing and Community Development highlighted that the introduction of this upgraded plan will provide a safer and cost-effective option to Fijians living in these areas.
“The Ministry’s aim is to assist the Rural and Maritime dwellers in building stronger and cyclone resilient homes. With this upgraded house plan, more people will be able to benefit and be able to build more resilient houses in these areas. They will be able to feel secure knowing that their houses will be strong enough to withstand strong winds and extreme weather conditions,” Hon. Kumar stated.
Hon. Kumar also highlighted that the plan is available to all rural and maritime dwellers free of charge and can be accessed and downloaded from the Ministry’s website.
“It comes with a complete set of engineering drawings and list of materials. The Ministry has gone one step further this time in negotiating very competitive material pricing with suppliers and these prices are accessible to any Fijian who wish to build his home using this plan. The negotiated cost of materials for the basic house is around $21,000.00 VIP. There are optional items such as kitchen joinery which can be added as per the affordability to the households,” said the Hon Minister.
The new house plan is a refined version of the existing plan where the kitchen and sanitation facilities have been further upgraded into a “core house”. This core house has a block wall structure and includes a living area, kitchen and sanitation facilities. In the event of an unforeseen emergency such as a cyclone, this can act as a “safe house”. The living room can easily be converted in to a smaller bedroom or as storage to store the valuable belongings in preparation for evacuation. This can also act as transitional shelter for a household in the unfortunate event that the other parts of the house are damaged by a strong cyclone.
The additional two bed rooms of the house are timber framed structures with weatherboard exterior coverings. The breezeway separating the “core house” from the bed rooms can work as an open living space and will mitigate any risk of fires as the cooking facilities are located separately.
“This concept has been developed after a long thought process. The concept of the “Core House”, as you can see bring in many value additions to the concept and in increasing the level of climate resilience of our Rural and Maritime Dwellers. This also will help Fijians to return to their normal livelihood within a very short time after a natural disaster,” said Hon. Kumar.
Hon Kumar also added “by introducing a two staged house concept, the Ministry has made the process more affordable. The material cost for the “core house” is just over $8,000 VIP. This makes this model a far superior solution for those waiting to rebuild after the damages from the recent cyclones. A family can build the core house first, move in and then slowly expand to complete the rest of the house overtime”.
Furthermore, the Minister also emphasized “it is extremely important that the carpenters constructing the houses use the correct procedures of building to ensure that the houses are built as per the specifications. Anyone who needs technical assistance can always contact the Ministry for support”.
The Ministry is also working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Habitat for Humanity Fiji (HFHF) on a carpentry training program centering this new house plan. This is expected to roll out in the North once the current travel restrictions are lifted.
In addition, the Ministry is currently in the process of reviewing a Forty year old Rural Housing Assistance Programme. As part of this review, the Ministry is also considering assisting those who intend to upgrade their existing house structures to cyclone standards.
The Minister added “the ultimate objective of the Ministry is to increase the level of climate resilience in rural and maritime housing with engineer certified house structures and suitable insurance protection in the event of natural disasters”.
The new house plan, material list and the price list are now available free of charge on the Ministry website www.housing.gov.fj and can be downloaded by any Fijian who intends to build a new home.
For further information please contact:
Mr. Sanjeeva Perera
Ministry of Housing and Community Development
Tel: 3304 364