The Gradual Manifestation of a Distant Vision

My colleague Kevin has posted recent updates on the current status of nominating a construction agency for building the toilet facilities in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. As mentioned, we are waiting on final approvals from the government and are hopeful that we will soon have a contractor confirmed, following which we can start pre-construction activities at the sites. As such, we are hopeful that we will soon break ground and see the beginning of construction.

This has come after several months of tendering activity. The design team that has worked on the various sorts of toilet facilities, have long completed all the requisite work to begin construction. (more…)

Anagram’s Current Activities

The Anagram team has been exceptionally busy the last few months due to the progress being made on getting the tenders released, with construction hopefully set to commence in the coming months once the contracts are awarded.


Tendering Update

The tender process has been long, tedious, and frustrating, but has also provided incredible insights into working with the government in implementing a project as unique and with such a scale as Sammaan, and the end is in sight. Much has been written about the tender in both this monthly newsletter and the project blog, but it is certainly a milestone worthy of such attention.

The feelings of elation shared by many partners following the tender release of the Public Toilets in Bhubaneswar were short-lived as the focus shifted to the Community Toilets, particularly the sites in Cuttack. Unlike the process that brought about the PT tender release in Bhubaneswar and is being followed for the Community Toilets there, in which the facilities are split into separate batches with total costs below the 3 crore threshold that permits the city municipalities to provide technical sanction and, therefore, release the tender, the total tender package of 32 facilities for nearly 8 crore needs to be released in Cuttack.


The Devil is in the Details

The primary focus of Anagram’s work on Sammaan right now involves detailing out the working drawings for each of the facilities. As one can imagine, providing the granular details for each of the 119 facilities being built is quite an undertaking. This is especially so considering that each drawing requires the inputs of several project partners.

A lot of our time is dedicated to interfacing with these partners to ensure that their questions are answered in a timely manner and any necessary changes are incorporated as quickly as possible. Anagram is working closely with CDD on the designs of the sewerage systems, with Codesign to detail out spaces for signage, and with Arkitechno to review and evaluate each drawing. Additionally, we’re reporting into Quicksand along the way to keep them abreast of developments and challenges we’re facing.


Workstream Activities: Week of 11/18/13

Last week we were able to get the Public Toilet tender released in Bhubaneswar which allowed us to shift the focus to the Community Toilets in both pilot cities. The municipal corporations of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack require an incredible amount of documentation to push the tender process forward: over 2,500 pages of materials were submitted to the CMC and nearly double that amount will be submitted to the BMC this week. (We’ve assembled individual booklets for each of the 92 Community Toilets across both cities; Arkitechno has taken the lead in this with a lot of support coming from Anagram Architects).
The CMC engineering department is literally signing off on every single page of these booklets before sending them to the Chief Engineer based here in Bhubaneswar. Once the Chief Engineer reviews and approves these, we will get the technical sanction and, according to the Cuttack City Engineer, the tender will immediately be released.

Workstream Activities: Week of 11/11/13

When we first launched this blog, we provided weekly recaps of project-related activities in a series of posts called “Week That Was”. The thinking behind this type of reportage was two-fold: to provide a running, real-time catalogue of events as they happen and to be as transparent as possible in sharing our work as it unfolds.

We shifted away from this type of writing in the interest of sharing more thoughtful, reflective pieces about learnings from the project and individual partner experiences with it. However, given the call for greater communication from all of the partners, we’re reinstating these updates. The hope is that it will augment the experience for visitor’s to this site such that all audiences, from casual observers to invested project stakeholders, will glean deeper and richer knowledge about the Sammaan initiative.


Community Toilets’ Tender Workflow

In the past few weeks and months, most of the work that has happened on Project Sammaan has involved intense collaboration between various partners in order to fulfill various deliverables for tendering the community toilets in both Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. The very nature of the hardware workstream currently involves sequential and simultaneous inputs from various partners, including Anagram Architects, the Consortium for DEWATS Dissemination (CDD), Codesign, and Arkitechno.

The usual sequence of work involves multiple steps:


Architecture & Design

September, what a month!! Anagram is glad it’s over, as is its work of making good for construction drawings (GFCs) for Cuttack toilet. It was such an amazing month filled with loads of detailing, discussions, management within the in-house design team and the consultants’  decision-making, and refining, refining, refining the designs.

Taking into consideration the lifestyle of an entirely different strata of society in the detailing meant trying to view things from the user’s perspective while keeping foresightedness in mind. This led to the Anagram team working tirelessly and, ultimately, adding more members to the team. This meant that half of the office was working on the project! The doubling of the team was done not only to meet the deadline but also to provide further assistance in refining the designs.


Architecture & Design Status Report

August has been an incredibly busy month for Anagram Architects and CDD. The tender documents were prepared for the 32 Community Toilet sites in Cuttack and Anagram anchored the process of preparing a bulk of this, and compiling that with inputs from CDD and Codesign, for the sewage treatment systems & signage respectively. With this, all the work for the tender stage has been completed for 11 of the Community Toilet typologies.

The first round of the documents were submitted to the CMC, with the support of Arkitechno. Most of the latter part of the August was spent in revising and correcting some of the estimates in order to work towards the total sanctioned amount of the Preliminary Project Report for Cuttack.


Of the Best Laid Plans

Modern sanitation engineering and urban planning were borne out of the strategies adopted by many of Europe’s great cities to manage their urban crises of the 1800s. Creaking, as they were, under the pressures of overpopulation, epidemics, squalor and riots, most cities underwent a drastic spatial and infrastructure overhaul.

The Great Stink of London in the summer of 1858 led to the creation of its sewer network by Sir Joseph Bazalgette and by 1870 the duo of Baron Hausmann and Eugène Belgrand delivered Paris from its perpetual battle against coups, cholera, and congestion. Primarily involving  retrofitting centralised sewerage and piped water supply to existing quarters, it also involved decongesting precincts and clearing built mass in order to improve light and ventilation and mitigate social unrest.