Mumbai man jacks up house by 5ft to prevent flooding
The technique – house-raising or lifting or jacking – used across the world involves digging up the topsoil to approach the foundation of the buildingUpdated: Mar 06, 2019 09:43 IST
In a bid to prevent flooding this monsoon, Milind Patil, 54, is lifting his 50-year-old house in Middle Class Society (MCS) in Palghar by 5ft using 180 jacks.
The technique – house-raising or lifting or jacking – used across the world involves digging up the topsoil to approach the foundation of the building. The foundation is then separated from its walls and pillars and steel beams or jacks (manual or hydraulic) are inserted to evenly lift the house to the desired level. After a natural calamity, such as the 2018 Kerala floods, 2015 Chennai floods or the 2012 Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, several houses have been rebuilt using the technology.
“My house, which was built in 1969, gets flooded every time the road is re-carpeted,” said Patil, adding, “I started looking for a permanent solution, as there is a sentimental value attached to the house. I searched the social media and came across house-lifting. I then decided to use it for my 2,800-sqft house.”
Patil contacted a Haryana-based house lifting service provider in December and the work began on January 10. “Each jack can withstand a weight of 95 tonnes. The entire raising (upto 5ft) will be completed by mid-March. It costs around ₹350 for a sqft, which is cheaper than reconstructing the house,” said Patil.
According to Palghar municipal council records, this is the first house-lifting carried out in the region.
“Sixteen labourers are working in 12-hour shifts. The raising has to be perfect. We had to first calculate the weight of the house and decide the number of jacks to be used. After the house is raised, the gap created by the jacks would be filled with bricks, boulders and concrete mixtures to give a new foundation to the house,” said a contractor of the firm, who is supervising the job. “We have worked on nearly 2,500 buildings across the country, a majority in Chennai and Gujarat,” he said.
Paritosh Mhatre, a civil engineer from the National Institute of Construction, Management and Research (NICMAR) Pune, said, “House-lifting is a cumbersome process that needs great attention to detailing. Even a small mistake can destroy the structure.” Bhumik Patel, another civil engineer, said, “Reinforced Concrete Cement (RCC) houses are easier to lift, compared to masonry construction, owing to their design, construction and weight.”
Surprised with the attention the house is getting, Patil said, “I hope my house doesn’t flood this year.”
First Published: Mar 05, 2019 23:25 IST