Luang Prabhang Agriculture and Forestry College in Laos
Skat provides backstopping services to Helvetas for the planning, construction, implementation and management of the Support to the Reform of the Luang Prabang Agriculture and Forestry College in Laos Programme of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
The “Support to the Reform of the Luang Prabang Agriculture and Forestry College in Laos” (SURAFCO) is a project of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) assisting the educational reform process recognised in the “Strategy for Reform in the Agriculture and Forestry Colleges towards 2020 in Lao PDR”. The SURAFCO is implemented by the Luang Prabang Agriculture and Forestry College (LAFC) with the support of HELVETAS, the Swiss Association for International Cooperation and the Swiss College of Agriculture and Skat. The project was started in September 2009 and will come to a closure in 2012.
The development goal is to build up the Luang Prabang Agricultural and Forestry College accommodating 600 students as a centre of excellence acknowledged by public and private partners in sustainable upland farming systems in the Northern Provinces of Laos. The project objective is thus formulated: “the LAFC, as a well managed centre for skills-based education and training in upland farming systems, offers an attractive study and working environment for students and teachers (taking into account gender and ethnic groups). It is linked to a number of private and public partners, and its graduates are in demand for their theoretical and practical skills in the labour market.”
The core task of Skat is to develop socially acceptable, economically feasible, and technically sound solutions for the construction of the Luang Prabang Agricultural and Forestry College. Skat therefore has the mandate to propose to the College Management Team and the Project Director of HELVETAS appropriate technical solutions for project planning, design and construction implementation.
The provision of appropriate infrastructure is regarded as an important project component and absorbs a major part of the overall budget. In order to achieve innovative and sustainable solutions, social, ecological and economic aspects have to be considered in a holistic way. Since the community college plays an important role in Northern Laos, it will act as a model and provide a motivating, modern and pleasant environment for the students. Emphasis is being laid on the appropriate architectural style, conception, construction technology, and the requirements for studying and applying local and regional agriculture. Skat architects will face the challenge to satisfy the needs of modern times such as gender, hygiene, comfort, space, and light, etc. on the one hand, and to respect at the same time traditional values like religious and ethnic customs, ambiance, and specific technology of the region.
The architectural and engineering design is carried out in compliance with existing law, building codes, norms and standards. Best practices in the design of physical facilities for education in the regional and national context are to be verified and followed. The design shall meet or exceed the criteria established by the local authorities for cyclone and earthquake safety and will be adapted to the needs of all users. Other criteria are environmentally friendly construction methods, locally adapted and cost-efficient technology, the use of local material, flexibility and efficiency through a modular design system, low maintenance requirements and at least life span of at least 35 years for the building.
The main contributions of Skat to the project are: a) to develop a Master Plan in consultation with the College Management and Project Director of HELVETAS; b) to develop a Preliminary Project Design, Budget Frame; c) to advise in the selection and application of selected technologies and materials, and on adequate strategies/procedures and implementation approaches; d) to develop the construction and structural designs (working drawings) and, e) to provide quality assurance through spot checks during project implementation.