Costford pioneered the introduction of low-cost and eco-friendly construction methods in Kerala. They have even developed several unique technologies to make construction hassle-free and pocket-friendly. Costford experts say costs can be reduced by up to 40% if these methods are used at various stages of construction.
Costford Architects note that the width of the floor should be only one and a half feet. They say there is no advantage in over-extending the area. Moreover, it would lead to additional costs. In addition, the smaller width of the floor does not require drilling larger holes in the ground. The excavated sand can be used for construction. Costs can skyrocket if there is too much sand and rock to fill the foundation. Laying hard rock in the foundation and then filling the voids with slaked lime or mud is the Costford method of strengthening the foundation. If the mud in the ground is hard, then concreting can be avoided.
The walls are usually built of bricks, mud or sand-lime blocks. The ideal brick size is 9×4.5×3 inches. Ideally, it should be the size of a palm. For a one-story house, it is not necessary to build the wall from the center of the foundation. The wall should be built 9 inches wide on the outside of the foundation wall. This would help avoid weakening the solid bedrock that juts out.
Costford mostly adopts a construction method called the rat trap method. This method can reduce the use of bricks by up to 25%. In this method, two layers of bricks are paved horizontally, leaving a space in the center. This empty space would be rectangular in shape. Interestingly, this helps to provide amazing air circulation in the house.
Walls can also be built with gaps rather than horizontally or vertically to allow for air circulation. This would help avoid windows, thus saving lumber, glass, and other costs. Interestingly, this feature can be made attractive by glass flooring.
Paving of the bricks
The bricks are paved using the cross-section method. The blocks can be selected according to the length of the wall. There is no need to fill the gaps between the large blocks with shortened ones, as this would affect the connection between the bricks. The void can be managed by leaving space in the center. First add a layer of slaked lime and then make the bricks on top. Slaked lime can be used to fill the gap.
There is no need for plastering or painting with the construction method developed by Costford. A little decorative work on the whitewash will add a unique charm to the walls. The construction of the walls can be completed by leveling the bricks and adding straight lines.
There is no need for steel or concrete barriers to build windows or doors that are four feet wide. Instead, Costford suggests placing a layer of bricks, with the wider side facing forward, over the window and door frame. Then add a layer of brick, with the narrow side facing the front, on top of that. Make three layers of bricks on both sides with a little space in the center. Place two steel bars in the center and reinforce them with concrete. Not only would this reduce construction costs, but it also looks amazing. This feature can be built in an arched, flat or segmented form or as a corbel arch. Perfectly fits homes that are plastered with mud. Corbel arches are extremely less expensive to design. In this method, the bottom of a block is projected 2.25 inches from the bottom block.
The infill plate technology is used for the construction of the roof. The ceiling is built before fixing tiles on concrete. The advantage of this method is that it is extremely cheap. In addition, the walls are not loaded, since the roof is not too heavy. This will increase the durability of the structure.
Bamboo rods are widely used for testing. Costford uses treated bamboo instead of regular sticks. Using attractive shutters instead of windows and reusing old timber for furniture and building biogas plants are some of the ways in which Costford makes its houses extremely eco-friendly.