dcsimg El Salvador village rebuild - Ramboll UK Limited

Rebuilding a village

In 2004, Ramboll UK engineer Robert Godbold, together with eight Imperial College students and aided by a translator, formed a team to help rebuild the village of Costa Rica in rural El Salvador in Central America. The area had been devastated by a series of earthquakes in 2001.
Rebuilding a village in El Salvador
The re-building team for the village of Costa Rica worked with a local non-government organisation — Reconstruction & Development of El Salvador (REDES) — to manage the construction of 17 earthquake-resistant dwellings and a retaining wall to protect the village school.

The 17 dwellings, designed by REDES, are of lightweight construction — with reinforced concrete foundations, a slender steel frame and a diaphragm wall made of plastered-over bamboo rods. The roof is made of prefabricated fibro cement panels. This design attracts as little ground force as possible and will withstand sway created by earthquakes.

The 40m long retaining wall was built in stages: the excavation of the slope, the building of rebar cages, fixing L-bars to the cage and laying concrete for the foundations. Hollow concrete blocks placed over the cast-in L-bars were used to build the wall, which was then stiffened by concrete in-fill. The excavation was then backfilled with earth, compacted layer by layer and re-planted.

The team was based in El Salvador for six weeks during which the retaining wall was completed and half the dwellings constructed. The team consisted of Ramboll engineer Robert Godbold and the eight Imperial College students: Martin Threakall, Sanna Supponnen, Michelle Maloney, Alexandra McCredie, Neil Turkington, KK Ho, Albert Lau and Daniel Woodier. Hannah Stevens was the translator.

The project was funded by monies raised by Imperial College and what is now Ramboll UK. REDES, funded by overseas charities, identifies and provides aid to communities in El Salvador destroyed by the Civil War (1980-92) and, more recently the earthquakes.