A low-cost, fireproof and energy efficient model house inaugurated at NED University

(Published in Dawn)

KARACHI: It was a marvel of engineering and architecture, on top of also being energy efficient and fireproof. The model house, the inauguration of which was organised at the NED University of Engineering and Technology campus on Saturday, is bright, spacious and comfortable. And the best thing about it is that it is low-cost and can be constructed within six weeks.

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Looking to develop energy efficient and low-cost housing facilities in a sustainable way, the Centre for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Built Environment (CAHSBE) and NED University joined hands with the construction industry to come up with the housing model in accordance to the affordable/low-cost housing as envisioned by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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“You need to be obsessed with the idea and you need to be enthusiastic to come up with this kind of work,” Federal Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry, who was joining the inauguration through video link, said. “There was a time when there used to be no link between academia and industry but we were able to combine the two in this case and to see research being turned into practical.

“As far as relationships between academia and industry are concerned, this year will be a game changer,” he added. Earlier, during his welcome address, Prof Dr Shuaib Ahmad of NED University said that one type of construction or construction material cannot suit all regions with different terrains and environment. “We need housing for rural, urban and peri-urban landscapes. In order to fulfil the requirements of housing for the masses as per the prime minister’s affordable/low-cost housing initiative, we have connected with some 28 universities who are researching different housing structure designs constructed from mud, concrete, timber, bamboo, hollow bricks, etc,” he said. While appreciating the model house, Naya Pakistan Housing & Development Authority (NAPHDA) chairman retired Lt Gen Anwar Ali Hyder observed that such houses that come up as a result of a lot of research at universities are of great standard, strong, cheap and can also be built very quickly. “The academia and industry linkage will play a big part in the country’s housing sector,” he said. Zaigham Rizvi, the chairman of the PM Housing Task Force and adviser of the science and technology ministry, said that no country prospers without contributions from academia. “The private sector also needs to step forward in all this,” he said.
‘Karachi has turned into a slum’
Mohsin Sheikhani, former chairman of Builders and Developers of Pakistan, said that those responsible for planning cities have failed. “The requirement of cities was not fulfilled and you have the example of Karachi which changed into a slum. Housing is everyone’s right and if you don’t give it to them, they build themselves and that is how a city develops unplanned.” Syed Zakiuddin and Alamdar Hussain also spoke. In his concluding remarks, Vice Chancellor of NED University Dr Sarosh H. Lodi said that the house model on NED’s campus would remain for 50 years and more. “It is a symbol of academia and industry partnership. It shows the strength and capacity of our team, it shows the honesty, dedication and will to work of our students and professors,” he said. “My mother always praised the energy and will of the students of Aligarh Muslim University, and their contribution in making this country. Now, we have these students of our universities in Pakistan, who we can trust to make Naya Pakistan,” he concluded.