Learning and innovation

In order to conclude the course, students from the Build Better Professional Training Center were challenged to develop a project that applied what they learned from the course: the construction of a Model House

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Handling structural elements, having access to material technology, interpreting projects and raising structures with masonry are some of the topics included in the curriculum of the youth studying at the Build Better Professional Training Center, located in Valença, Bahia. Offering the only long duration course in Brazil – which lasts 18 months – the institution allows its students to integrate theoretical knowledge focused on civil construction with the practice exercised at “construction site schools.”

In order to complete the course, the students are presented with the challenge of developing a project that involves what they learned at Build Better – an institution associated with the Bahia Southern Lowlands Environmental Protection Area Mosaic Integrated and Sustainable Development Program (PDIS), supported by the Odebrecht Foundation.

The last group, which completed the course in May of this year, had the experience of building a Model Home project that was required to meet the parameters defined by the Brazilian Federal Government’s My House, My Life program, and which included amenities designed for individuals with special needs. These criteria meet the technical standards of the Brazilian Habitat Quality and Productivity Program and also comply with the Caixa Econômica Federal (CEF) sustainability requirements, such as with the use of wood with a certified origin.

Three weeks were required to complete the house. Each phase of the construction work had one of the youth as the process leader, together with the monitoring of the engineer Felipe Nasser and the monitor Vilson Carlos Martins, a student who completed the first group of the Build Better program. “I didn’t need much time to be sure of what I wanted and the training motivated me to learn more about the civil construction area,” said Marcos Sousa Brasileiro, age 22, one of the students involved with the project created by Alessandro Trindade Leite, Architect and City Planner.

Quality low cost housing is what makes the Model Home different from other constructions. During the project elaboration and execution activities, the youth adopted techniques of pagination, which allows them to measure the use of materials beforehand, thereby preventing excess solid waste. This guaranteed a sufficient quantity of concrete blocks for the structure of the walls, ceramic for the floor coating and PVC lining for the roof.

 Future Plans
The proposal is for the project to serve as one of the results of the Build Better work for current and future partners. An example of this is the case of prospecting a closer relationship with the Ministry of the Cities in order to make the institution responsible for the My House, My Life construction work that will take place in Valença – approximately 300 low-cost houses – as well as in other municipalities of the Bahia Southern Lowlands. The Model House will also be used as a construction parameter for the next students.

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