The Government’s controversial 65,000 housing project in the North and East continues to come under heavy criticism with the latest call for review of the entire project by the Tamil National Alliance.

A team of experts, all faculty members from the University of Moratuwa has recently released a preliminary report of their comparison of the proposed steel houses by ArcelorMittal to constructed block wall houses, following a two day visit to Jaffna in April 2016. The three experts are engineers Prof. Priyan Dias and Dr Rangika Halwatura, and Architect Varuna de Silva.

Commenting on the structural and non structural aspects, the report states that when compared to the block wall houses, the steel houses suffer from several key drawbacks (at at least double the cost) including inadequate foundations, insufficient roof support, risk of steel corrosion despite the coatings provided, poor ventilation, poor or non-existent capacity for extension or repair, much shorter lifespan, unlikely to create a sense of ownership, very unlikely to foster the local economy and generate employment.

The report concludes that “the way forward is to construct block wall houses, while finding ways to overcome any disadvantages they may have (e.g. finding new sources of natural resources; alternative technologies to reduce natural resource usage; arranging financing). 

The complete preliminary report is available for download here.