Technical Consultancy Services
The IFRC-SRU develops innovative material and technical shelter solutions, bringing together and sharing resources for sheltering by cooperating with national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies as well as international or public agencies or non-governmental shelter actors in their humanitarian efforts. The IFRC-SRU is involved in drawing up specifications for the IFRC Emergency Items Catalogue (the procurement catalogue used by IFRC and other humanitarian actors) and offers research and development expertise as well as technical evaluation and testing services to producers and suppliers of shelter solutions and materials who are interested in exploring new markets. Furthermore IFRC-SRU offers technical consultancy to humanitarian shelter actors for development of contextualized shelter solutions and technical capacity building.
Services for private sector:
IFRC-SRU evaluates individual shelter solutions and materials to ensure that they meet the existing minimum standards and are suitable for use in humanitarian sheltering. The SRU also conducts comparative studies of similar products. IFRC-SRU can provide clear recommendations on the performance criteria to be met, to facilitate R&D of suitable products for the humanitarian shelter sector.
Experience has shown that many products used in humanitarian assistance do not perform as expected. When sheltering materials fail, it is mostly for one or more of the following three reasons: 1) the delivered material do not meet the required specifications, 2) the requested specifications were not precise enough or are missing critical detail, or 3) the products were only lab-tested, not field-tested, and the lab testing could not reproduce critical field conditions. While certainly a necessary tool, lab testing can only simulate certain conditions. With field testing, however, the products and materials are subjected to a wide variety of real-life conditions that cannot be replicated in a laboratory environment. The IFRC-SRU provides services to field-test shelter products and materials, and in the process confirms the products’ real-life suitability or provides recommendations for improvements.
IFRC-SRU in collaboration with the Architecture and Climate department of the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL, Belgium) is preparing to apply today’s most advanced building physic simulation tools “computational fluid dynamic and dynamic hydrothermal models” to emergency shelters.
Services for humanitarian shelter actors:
Development of context-specific shelter solutions
Emergency transitional and permanent shelters should be adapted to local climate and cultural conditions and built with local materials and techniques to as much extent possible. However not all agencies or NGOs have dedicated shelter professionals with the capacity to design such solutions. IFRC-SRU provides consultancy services to design shelter solutions suited to the context and to the available budget.
In general such consultancy work would include a field visit to assess the situation; The available capacities and quick market study of available materials. The conception, and if wanted prototyping, of the solution to be finalized in Luxemburg and delivered to the “client” in the form of technical drawings, bills of quantities and a basic “user-manual”. Further services are: Support of implementation by technical trainings of beneficiaries. Volunteers, technical staff and technical supervision of implementation. IFRC-SRU is also available to accompany the operations with parallel on site testing of a few prototypes to identify possible weaknesses and issues in order to modify the models or add upgrade kits if necessary. IFRC-SRU will collect exact data of the technical performance of the shelter for research purposes and further development projects.
IFRC-SRU can also provide final evaluation services of already implemented projects. We propose a field visit analysis of the project with final documentation and report.
Technical capacity building on construction techniques and materials
Based on extensive field experience and analysis of local building techniques IFRC-SRU can offer technical capacity building services targeted at specific regional building traditions. A module on construction with earth, combining basic technical knowledge essential for earth construction with practical sessions to identify earth quality and introduce basic construction techniques is already available.
Modules on other particular techniques (e.g. timber, bamboo, concrete, etc.) can be developed on demand, for any given context.
For a more detailed description together with real examples of IFRC-SRU’s work in providing these services please consult IFRC-SRU services flyer