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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Building With Jews and "Lego"









It's not quite Lego, but a lot of neighbors who are expanding their homes are not using bricks and cement at all. In Hebrew it's known as בניה קלה bniyah kallah, easy or light construction. Except for a "shelter" made of poured cement, which is now required, it seems that buildings, or added rooms are specially coated styrofoam and plastic.


A new boys high school is opening in Shiloh in a few weeks, and it, too, is to be constructed from this stuff, as you can see. It's mind-boggling how quickly even a large building can be constructed. This is amazing. In a few weeks it will be bustling with kids and staff. I can't wait to go back in a few days to see the progress. Last week we just saw the large flat cement foundation "floor," and now there are walls and doorways. Soon windows, roof and finishing, so you'd never know what's underneath.











This new method can also be used in two or three storied homes. As you can see, it's based on metal supports.  It's so funny seeing these coated styrofoam sheets piled up on the side of the road. I guess that next week they will be in the shape of a building like this one:


And some people are also saving on roof tiling, as you can see here. This addition has a red painted roof. Besides being quicker and easier to construct, the tiles won't fall off, because there aren't any. A classic tiled room, as on the original house is very time-consuming and expensive to do. You also need highly skilled workers.

The skills and strength needed for this sort of building method versus the classic brick and cement is very different. Nowadays fewer construction is being done by Arabs in Shiloh. Also, when hiring Arabs, one needs an armed guard.

Once the construction is finished, it won't look any different from a "regular" old-fashioned brick house, because the outside gets coated with a cement stucco finish. I recently spoke to the owner of this one to the right and bottom. He said that over the metal roof, which is specially insulated, they will have tiles. So, it's going to be very hard to distinguish it from a brick building.

No doubt these new construction methods won't last as long as our double-walled brick house, and I wonder about the flammability of them, too. No doubt that they will need all sorts of smoke detectors in each room. That's what there is in Rami Levy and Yafiz, which are also constructed in this quick method.


I know that synthetic and wood construction, both rather flammable, is the norm in other parts of the world, but until now, most Israeli homes were safer -though more expensive per meter to build. If this helps people make affordable homes... who am I to complain?

1 comment:

Neshama said...

I wonder about the ecological and health issues with such material? I wonder if sleeping between those walls there might be off-gasing from the styrofoam-type synthetic? Personally I don’t think it a good idea. However, we need a good scientific spec on the material and its affects on humans.