Housing and Building Research Institute
Housing and Building Research Institute was founded in November 1960, when the Government of East Pakistan approved a scheme for establishing such an institute in Dhaka. A site at Mirpur, 11 km away from the centre of Dhaka, was selected and buildings were constructed during 1963-65. In 1964 the government requested the UN to nominate an expert on housing and building research to advise on the measures necessary to establish a building research centre. In February 1966, a UNDP expert was recruited and posted at Dhaka, and two civil engineers were transferred to the centre from the Housing and Settlement Directorate of the Ministry of Works on a temporary basis and three physicists and a chemist were recruited on work-charge basis. The original scheme was revised in April 1967. To enable the institute to undertake effective and intensified research and development activities, it was made an autonomous body in 1977 under the Ministry of Works. Its annual establishment expenditure is obtained from the revenue budget of the government.
The institute emphasises the study of availability, development and utilisation of indigenous materials in construction; promotion of better uses of building materials, particularly commonly used materials, including improvement of methods of planning and designing, construction and maintenance works; development of cheap and new materials and better technology through pilot projects. It also acts as a clearing house for the latest available knowledge and technical know-how relating to development of new materials or techniques and assessment of their potentialities for diverse application to the construction industry of the country.
Over the years the institute has built up laboratory facilities for testing and research and recruited a number of qualified engineers, architects, and scientists. With modest equipments and infrastructure facilities, research and development activities are now being executed through a number of research divisions: Building Materials Division, Structural Engineering and Construction Division, Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering Division, Housing Division, Extension and Dissemination Wing. The institute also renders services for testing building materials and soil to general public and private construction agencies and government or semi-government organisations. [Akhtar Uddin Ahmed]