Residents of Kochi’s low-lying areas are increasingly adopting extraordinary measures to prevent storm water from entering their houses as waterlogging becomes a continuing problem. Their entire homes are being raised off the ground.
Residents in Kadavanthra, Kaloor, Pachalam, Elamakkara and other city neighborhoods have started contacting house-lifting companies with inquiries.
Raising a house is significantly less than purchasing a new city lot and building a new home. It only accounts for a third or a fourth of the price of building a new house.
To raise houses, many companies employ various methods depending on the bulk and stability of the building. To lift the building uniformly to the desired level, the dirt up to the foundation is excavated, and either manually driven jacks or hydraulic systems are used. Then a new foundation is put down on top of it.
After getting a loan from the bank, Shibin A. M., a resident of Kammattipadam, a low-lying area once covered by paddy fields, is raising his three-story, 1,800 sq ft house.
“We are raising the house by 4ft from the ground. The house was constructed in 2002 and fearing waterlogging, we constructed the house 4-5ft above the ground level when we built it. But over the years, the height of the road has increased with the authorities relaying it several times. Since 2018, the storm water has been entering the house during the rainy seasons as the road and the house are at the same level,” says Shibin.
House owners, according to those in the house lifting business, must ensure that there is no compromise on the quality of the work, or the lifted house will sink back to the ground and sustain structural damage.
“Lifting a house does not cause much environmental impact as it requires not many raw materials,” says Jose Francis, CEO of a building lifting firm in Kadavanthra.
The majority of inquiries come from locations where residences were built 20 years ago or more, according to Ashique Ebrahim, MD of another firm in Kaloor.