Surakshit Ghar: Building Back Safer
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) with technical support from Build Change has introduced a mobile application called “Surakshit Ghar” to provide remote technical assistance and safe construction awareness to Nepali homeowners engaged in the reconstruction effort. Surakshit Ghar was launched officially by Dr. Govinda Raj Pokharel, CEO, NRA during a press conference on 9 May, 2017.
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The application contains official NRA messages along with images, illustrations, audio clips and videos on safe reconstruction. It further contains information and recommendations on how to build earthquake resistant houses, and provides user-friendly access to the two volumes of official Government approved house designs, as well as contact details of government certified trained masons, engineers and district offices.
Catalogue: The app contains both the first and second volumes of Design Catalogue for Reconstruction of Earthquake Resistant Houses which have been prepared in compliance with the revised National Building Code of Nepal and approved by the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC). The first volume has been developed to support rural households whereas the second volume has been developed to support both rural and urban households reconstruct their homes by adopting flexible house designs suitable to all earthquake affected communities. Both the volumes include architectural designs, structural detailing and material estimates of the house designs.
Government Subsidy: The app includes a detailed audio as well as written information on inspection guidelines and legal procedures to obtain government subsidy to reconstruct houses.
Site Safety: It includes various safety measures to be strictly followed including the use of safety gears, ladders, vehicles and electricity at construction site, working at a height or on retrofits, demolitions or when a dangerous structure is adjacent to a construction site, and other safety measures that need to be adopted.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): The app contains FAQs which have been categorized into four broad categories: government subsidy, government monitoring, grant agreement and technical assistance.
My Project: The app also has a feature which allows users to maintain a systematic record of progress in their construction. Homeowners, builders, and supervising engineers can record their/homeowners’ name, village/municipality, GPS and photos (of their houses) and store in their phones for future reference.
Videos: The app also contains informative videos on obtaining government subsidy, building back safer by developing skills, receiving technical assistance and other important aspects on safe reconstruction.
Contact Information: The app allows users to search for contact information of trained masons, government engineers, district reconstruction offices and other local contacts in their respective areas.
Ask for Help: One of the key features of the application is that the users can send queries related to reconstruction of their house. They can call toll-free numbers 1660-01-72000 (NTC) or 9801572111(NCELL) for general inquiries and 1660-01-19876 (NTC) or 9801571090 (NCELL) for technical assistance. They can also use the app’s messenger feature to write a question or send a photo (of their house/s) to our technical help desk staffed to handle these queries.
One of the major reasons behind a big damage during earthquake of 2015 was also lack of proper construction information. The affected communities in the rural areas of Nepal can get firsthand information on how to build back safer through the Surakshit Ghar app.
The Surakshit Ghar app is in the process of being scaled up through its promotion among official government entities responsible for reconstruction in Nepal, through Facebook groups and social media, local promotion events and a campaign of direct Bluetooth sharing of the app in remote areas. Surakshit Ghar can be used offline after free download from Google Play Store and is available in both Nepali and English languages. It can also be accessed by Nepali citizens living abroad, who often fund the housing reconstruction effort through remittances and in many cases, are the final decision-makers on housing reconstruction matters.
Finally, the Surakshit Ghar app has the potential to be adapted to other post-disaster locations in the future, and perhaps more importantly to transition into a disaster preparedness/prevention app, in Nepal as well as in other natural disaster prone countries around the world.
Or call these toll free numbers:
For technical assistance: 1660-01-19876 (NTC) / 9801571090 (NCELL)
For general inquiries: 1660-01-72000 (NTC) / 9801572111(NCELL)