Graduate masons and SER

Sistema de Edificaciones Residenciales Marlon (Wini) Avilés, a 2006 graduate of the dual education program, participated in a five month investigation about the system SER, carried out by the Cuban engineer, Taimi Castaño.

The "System of Edifications for Residences" (SER in spanish) is composed of prefabricated ferrocement elements that are easily managed by hand. The structurally self-supporting wall elements are 3 cm thick with 5 cm edges, and are visually attractive and of high strength and resistance. Assembly is rapid and its good termination does not interfere with its competitive cost-effectiveness.

Sistema de Edificaciones ResidencialesWini learned a great deal from the engineering professor. "She was always present, and was very demanding," he said with a smile.
When she returned to her teaching post at the University of Santiago, they continued the investigations and were able to eliminate certain weakness. Since then they have developed more efficient moulds and use a more adequate de-moulding liquid.

"The panels have a better finish and can be raised more rapidly," said the young mason.

Henry Silva and Francisco Martínez (December 2007 graduates) participated in the construction of the Center of Capacitation for the Masons during the last phase of their studies, a building that they began during the period of investigation with the SER system.

These three young graduate masons are currently involved in construction of a module with the SER system, another step in the investigative process. Two tilemakers from El Salvador also participated, in order to learn the system that they plan to introduce in their programs. This one-room building of 10m2 can be erected in three days, counting from the layout until the finished roof.

All view the panels as a technology that could resolve many needs of the population. They agree that the great advantage is the rapidity with which these solid and strong walls can be erected.

From the point of view of these young men, the education dual provided the base to participate in this new challenge. The experiences acquired on site were very productive all three feel capable to build with this technology.

Reflecting on the investigative experiences with Taimi, they said that not only they learned a great deal, but also that they were able to teach her many practical aspects of construction, such as how to layout and level a construction site, something that she knew in theory but had never practiced. This reciprocal learning scheme is one of the main goals of the interchange program between young professionals and workmen, they achieved a mutual respect and the cooperation has resulted in a technology that is about ready to be lanced to the general public.

Speaking about post-disaster situations they thought it would be an appropriate response for the people left without shelter such as after Hurricane Felix. They came to this conclusion because of the rapidity with which one can build. They explained that when one has the necessary material only one day is required to install a workshop. While the panels take 28 days to cure, they have experimented with an additive that allows the panels to be used in a few days.  With the panels ready, they could build a refuge in 3-4 days to which the people affected by the natural disaster could add other rooms later on.

This experience to work together has brought them into another dimension. "In the formal education we develop something of a mechanical mentality because we just build walls," said Henry. On the other hand, an on-site engineer said that with the SER system the young masons had to draw on their mental capacities. All agreed that their formal education provided the necessary basis for the work they are doing with SER.


Sistema de Edificaciones Residenciales


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