Solid Houses

Order yougaramdewababa On the event of re-advertised vacancy of project manager (see Comment below), this post is hereby re-published:
Still, there is not one real good development at Arugambay to report.
But, at nearby PottuVille, the Dutch Solid House Foundation is getting on very well with their Tropical Iglu project.

Build to a high standard, mainly for Tamils in a Tamil area, and above all also popular with the locals:
Here we have, at last! a project to be proud of. regrets that no such brilliant progress has ever been made in the Bay itself – after all How much does prograf cost Arugam is “The hardest hit Community in the whole of Sri Lanka”

11 Responses to “Solid Houses”

  • Tabitha Perera


    Can you please let me know if one Mr Duncan Wickramasinghe played a part in the building of these dome houses?



  • > Does anyone have a database…

  • Your are correct, Mr. Vinod!
    But the immediate area, and the land these brilliant dome houses are constructed upon is, as far as we are informed, Tamil owned.
    The Northern end of PottuVille, on the way to Akkaraipattu is called “Inspector Eatham” for some (strange) reason.
    Again, we are led to believe that there are mainly Tamils living in this region.
    Many feel that National unity and pride should replace constant “our area” and ” Your area” discussios and the Nation might get somewhere towards real peace one day.
    From my observation, I am happy that some good project has come this far, and for a a change it even benefits others than just one group in this ‘Muslim Area’ of the beautiful island of Sri Lanka.
    The latter group has shown that they are very much united and work together just with their own kind and for their own mutual benefit and advantage.
    Greg, France

  • Vinod Moonesinghe

    Arugam Bay and Pottuvil are not in a ‘Tamil area’. The area is populated mainly by Muslims.

  • Remco,
    Arugam Bay is perhaps one of the safest places in the whole of Sri Lanka!
    Don’t let people tell you rubbish.
    But, if you really mean to go to Arugam THIS year:
    There is better surf on the other side – the Eastern season begins in March, when they sure have the very best waves Sri Lanka has to offer.
    And: The locals are no way as spoiled as their counterparts in the South and West..
    Only foreigners changed them.
    And what hordes of tourists didn’t achieve – some NGO guys have managed to do already in the East:
    They made them greedy and jealous. And lazy.
    That’s life and we have to deal with it when all the ‘helpers’ have at last disappeared.

  • Re- Advertised Job Vacancy:

    Job description

    Job title: Project Manager Sri Lanka

    Employer: Solid House Foundation

    Location: Inspector Eatham, Pottuvil, Sri Lanka

    Start date: 1st March 2008

    Duration: 8-12 months

    Purpose of the role

    Solid House Foundation Lanka (SHFL) is a partnership between the Solid House Foundation in The Netherlands and Sewalanka Foundation in Sri Lanka, established to implement joint habitat projects in Sri Lanka focussing on community building. The project currently being implemented from 2005 is the rehabilitation of the tsunami and war affected Inspector Eatham community in Pottuvil on the east coast. You’ll coordinate all housing, infrastructure and social mobilisation activities, improve the management capacity of the organization and help it meet its development objectives. You’ll work with a diverse team of Sewalanka Foundation staff, a building team comprising of masons and labourers, the Inspector Eatham community, Solid House Foundation head office and implementing partner organizations. The team works well and has constructed 56 concrete domes, 8 wells and undertaken social mobilization activities, like coaching with the start of businesses. The overall project includes approximately 110 buildings and infrastructure on the 35 hectare site. You will manage all relevant parties and all aspects of keeping housing and infrastructure works to schedule and to budget. You will be reporting to SHF in The Netherlands and to the SHFL Board of Directors.

    Job summary

    · To assess, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate all works;

    · To ensure quality, cost effectiveness, sustainability and timely completion of all works;

    · To liaise with the central/local authorities and obtain all official and legal permits, licenses and approvals required by the laws, rules and regulations of relevance that are in force in Sri Lanka to realize the project;

    · To work in conjunction with accounts staff, technical and field officers and managers to produce regular reports to donors on project progress;

    · Reviewing the existing management systems and training staff in better management practices;

    · Assisting with the preparation of project proposals and implementation plans;

    · Assessing staff capacity and organising training for staff development;

    · Identifying networking, documentation and monitoring and evaluation needs.

    Professional requirements

    You need to be qualified in a relevant field, i.e. Business Administration or Engineering. A proven ability to manage a team combined with excellent administrative, financial and communication skills. Fluency and excellence in English and preferably Dutch. Skilled computer literacy in all Office programs, including data processing skills and preferably some skills in CAD-programs. Moreover, preferably a clean valid Driving License. All-round experience with site supervising is appreciated. You’ll be a strong project manager with excellent social skills, technical construction skills and “hands on” mentality.

    Personal requirements

    You’ll need strong communication skills and interpersonal skills to provide a healthy mixture of management and involvement. You need to be enthusiastic about the project to ensure your motivation level stays high during your entire placement. Self-motivation, confidence and enthusiasm are essential for this placement. Cultural sensitivity, patience and a good sense of humour are a must. Proficient in building bridges between parties and cultures. Prepared to work in a complex environment of political, social and economic tension and shortcomings.

    The location

    Sri Lanka is a lively, friendly and hospitable country, teaming with people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and religions. The town of Pottuvil is located on the east coast of Sri Lanka about 250 km east of Colombo. It is a mainly Muslim town with minorities of Tamil and Sinhalese. The main sources of income are fishing, agriculture (paddy) and trade. The project is set up to strengthen the poor Tamil community; most beneficiaries are day labourers. The climate on the east coast of Sri Lanka is distinguished with two seasons; hot and dry from March to October; hot and wet from November to January. You can live in Pottuvil or nearby Arugam Bay where basic guesthouses and a good environment for foreigners are available. The main Sri Lankan dish is rice and curry (vegetables, fish or meat). Fruit and vegetables are ample but seasonal. A vegetarian diet is easy to cater for.

    Does the above description fit with your personal qualities and ambition, please send us your resume. For more information about the job and the conditions contact:

    Wim Stroecken, director Solid House Foundation

    tel.: ( F.C. Dondersstraat 29
    fax: ( 3572 JB UTRECHT
    mob.: ( The Netherlands

    Vacaturetype :

    Betaald werk
    Contactpersoon :

    Wim Stroecken
    Telefoonnummer :

    Email :
    Website :


  • I’m comming to srilanka again this year
    And im staying in midigama as usual still i would like to spend some time in arugam bay
    Some local friends would like to take me there but other
    sources tell me not to go cause it would be unsave.
    Please leave youre opinion

    Are the local surfers as greedy as toled?

  • There is no difference between The Netherlands and Holland. In Holland we speak dutch.You can also use it in the context of.This is a dutch project.But if you look in the history, Holland is the north western part of The Netherlands Left of the big lake called (ijselmeer)reaching from The Heage to Den Helder.

  • What is the huge difference between Dutch, Neederland and Holland?
    If you know, please let us in on it!

  • Solid house is not a dutch NGO as reported but a neederland NGO.
    Thanks to notice it
    Best regards
    a french traveller

  • As a Civil Engineer, I am also impressed with this project.
    However, I contacted the NGO in question and recommended certain improvements, mainly on matters of Heat Insulation, using a method of light weight concrete instead. I submitted a few ideas and calculations to a Mr. Wim in Holland; but had no response from him.
    Here is an extract of my earlier mail:

    Improved heat insulation for concrete.

    Sri Lanka project

    Lightweight concrete has been used successfully for many years and has the added advantage of being a good heat insulator. Many of these concretes are long established but some novel examples are included which may be helpful in your local projects in Sri Lanka.

    Lightweight concrete falls into two categories

    Airated concrete

    Concrete with lightweight aggregates

    Airated concrete

    Airated concrete is a technical formulation which requires the addition of alluminium or zinc powders which are not cheap and need to be imported. These react with the lime element of the cement which releases hydrogen bubbles. The hydrogen is then displaced with air to leave a cellular concrete which can be as light as 600kg/ and have excellent insulation properties.

    To be effective the mix is usually a sand and cement mix, the sand being a fine to ensure an even distribution of air cells. This formulation is usually formed into blocks or slabs and cured in a steam autoclave at high temperature and pressure which assists in the removal of the hydrogen element.

    It is also good practice to coat any steel reinforcement with a rust preventative as a precaution against corrosion.

    Lightweight Aggregates

    Foamed blast furnace slag is available from steelworks. This has long been accepted as an aggregate and BS877 defines its properties.

    Expanded clay can also be used as an aggregate. It is formed by calcining clay at a temperature above 1200degC. This is sometimes referred to as burnt clay which is believed to be available on the sub-continent.

    The above are considered suitable for structural concrete and should conform to BS 3797 and be tested to BS 812

    Other examples include slate, shale, clinker, pulverized fuel ash which are suitable for non structural concrete. They should comply with BS 1165.

    Whilst no data can be found regarding standards references have been made for the use of wood chips as a lightweight aggregate which also has insulating properties.

    Expanding on this theme the possibility of using spent cassava, spent palm oil nuts and sugar cane etc. These will need chopping to some 3″ to 4″ in length but should be cheap.

    Another novel possibility is the use of used expanded polystyrene packing. There is usually plenty of this available with nowhere to go but the waste tip. This will again require chopping to about 20mm cubes and to form the “4” element of a 1:2:4 mix.

    It may be necessary to provide a mortar sceed to the outer surface of the latter examples as a moisture barrier.

    It is also possible that some of the fibrous products above may be able to breath and provide some degree of humidity control by absorbing moist air and evaporating it to the hotter or a drier surface similar to the characteristics of gypsum

    Anticipated weights of lightweight concrete

    Standard concrete

    2,000 – 2,400 kg/

    Airated or Celular concrete

    500 – 900 kg/

    Lightweight structural concrete

    1,700 – 2,000 kg/

    Lightweight non structural concrete

    1,100 – 1,500 kg/

    Fibrous aggregate concrete*

    1,200 kg/

    Foamed polystyrene concrete*

    1000 kg/


    *These figures require confirmation.

    The above assume a 1:2:4 mix

    Strengths of concrete

    The strength of ordinary concrete after 7 days is in the order of 130 – 150 k.s.c for non loadbearing mixes and upwards to 350 k.s.c for stronger structural mixes. The strength is dependant on the mix ratios, material quality and water content.

    If experimental mixes are attempted at the project site then some guidance need to be obtained to determine the success or otherwise of the experiment. This can be obtained from simple equipment shown as an attachment. This can easily be made at low cost locally.

    The equipment cannot provide accurate results for certification purposes. The results however are reproduceable. A reference point should be obtained from a test rod using the concrete mix normally used in the project. The weight required in the bucket when the block fails during compression and breaking tests will form a the datum against which experimental mixes can be judged.

    The 300mm test rods are easily formed in a length of 6″ PVC tube. It is necessary to grease the inner tube surface to enable the test rod to be easily removed. A collapsible mould can serve to form the block for the breaking test.

    Thermal conductivity

    Concrete is a comparatively poor insulator against heat. The use of bricks and lightweight concrete can achieve a 60% improvement. It is however considered possible to achieve up to 160% improvement using fibrous or polystyrene fillers as shown in the attached table.

    Other uses

    If the fibrous or polysyrene fillers are able to produce a strong concrete mix it may be possible to provide other non structural applications.

    This is conditional of the filler being at least equal to the cost of conventional aggregates. It is possible that the fibrous material may be available as a scrap material and hence low cost.

    One possible use would be in the forming of concrete blocks. These would not be able to compete technically with the modern cellular blocks but it is possible they could form a low cost substitute for budget housing whilst providing an acceptable degree of insulation.

    Further, and much more technical calculation were also attached, but maybe too complex to post here.
    If anyone should be interested, however, how to improve a basically brilliant idea, our findings are available by email:

Leave a Reply