The Carrasco family's new home in Ixtaltepec. The Carrasco family's new home in Ixtaltepec.

Quake victims choose monolithic house

Single-piece construction said to be earthquake-resistant

Monolithic homes have arrived in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca in response to the need to house thousands of victims of the September earthquakes.

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They also respond to another need: they are, according to their builder, resistant to earthquakes.

After nearly three months without a home, Nicolás Carrasco Pineda, 50, and his family have moved into an affordable new monolithic home in Asunción Ixtaltepec with his wife and two children, thanks to help from the Federal Mortgage Society, a federal agency.

It was prepared to offer disaster relief fund beneficiaries like Carrasco, who was only eligible for 15,000 pesos after the damage to his house was deemed partial, a mortgage of 100,000-pesos (about $5,300) to rebuild their homes. The agency also offered different models of homes and prices.

The Carrasco family’s new house cost 160,000 pesos to build (close to US $8,500) and Carrasco himself chipped in with 45,000 pesos. Earlier this month he received the keys to his new home.

Built by Sinaloa-based Delta & Com, the 58-square-meter home has three bedrooms, living and dining room, kitchen and bathroom.

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The architect in charge of the project, Alberto Villa, told the newspaper El Universal that the construction method used on the Carrasco family home is known as monolithic, or a “single-piece house.”

It consists of a steel framework covered by metal forms into which concrete is poured. Once the concrete has set the metal sheathing is removed and the house is nearly ready to move in.

The method “makes the homes resistant to earthquakes because when the earth moves the whole house moves with it because it’s a single piece . . . the system has been fully proved to be resistant to earthquakes,” Villa explained.

Carrasco’s 10-year mortgage will cost him 7% interest but he described it as “one of the cheapest on the market. Either I went into debt or my family and I continued living under tarps.”

Source: El Universal (sp)

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