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Chapter 225: Are You Satisfied with the Speed of Building?
“Are you all satisfied with the speed of my house construction?” Lin Beifan asked with a smile.
“As part of my third invention, I present to you cement!” he continued.
“Cement?” Everyone looked puzzled.
Lin Beifan explained, “Cement is a building material. It is a powder at ordinary times, but once you pour water on it, it becomes a gel-like substance that can quickly solidify. Once it solidifies, it becomes as strong as rock! With cement, we can build houses, repair bridges, mend city walls, and so on. Its applications are incredibly vast!”
“The materials used are relatively simple, mainly quicklime, clay, and some iron slag. After being processed through calcination, cement is formed!”
Seeing everyone looking bewildered, Lin Beifan felt the pride of a student from the science discipline. These people are really ignorant; they can’t even understand such simple principles!
He thought to himself, talking to them is like talking to a brick wall, or like playing a harp to cows!
Thus, he said with some impatience, “Let me make it clear to you! With cement, we can build a house in just three days! Moreover, the strength of the house will be no less than that of a luxurious mansion!”
Finally, the expressions of the audience changed.
Wang Rushui, the Minister of Works, blurted out, “Build a house in three days? How is that possible? If you were talking about constructing a thatched cottage, three days might be barely enough! However, if you want to build a house with a strength comparable to a luxurious mansion, how can three days possibly be enough?”
“As far as I know, to build a proper house, you first need to dig the foundation trenches, which takes 3 to 4 days! Next, you need to lay the foundation, which also takes 3 to 4 days and cannot be taken lightly!”
“After that, you need to place the topstones, erect the large wooden pillars, which takes 2 to 3 days! Only at this point can we say that the construction of the house has truly begun, but already 8 to 9 days have passed!”
“After successfully erecting the large wooden pillars, you can start bricklaying and building the walls, and if things go smoothly, this may take 4 to 5 days! Finally, you need to complete the roofing and tile laying, which will also require 4 to 5 days!”
“Therefore, to build a house properly, it would take at least half a month, and that’s assuming there are sufficient materials! Yet, you’re telling us it only takes three days; isn’t that a joke?”
Seeing the Minister of Works speaking so authoritatively, everyone began to question Lin Beifan’s words.
“It’s impossible to build a house in three days! For example, it took three years to complete my official residence, from start to finish. Even a small house inside took more than three months to construct!”
“When I was still a student, I loved watching others build houses. To construct a large house in less than a month is simply impossible!”
“I don’t believe that you built such a house in just three days!”
Facing everyone’s doubts, Lin Beifan remained calm. “Gentlemen, just because you haven’t seen something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! Just like before when I said I would develop a flying divine tool, did you believe it? No, you didn’t believe it at all, but it was still created by me and is now in mass production!”
The officials exchanged glances with each other.
“And the watercraft masterpiece, the hovercraft, is also my invention! It is now in mass production and has played a significant role! Whether it’s transporting people or supplies, it performs exceptionally well!” Lin Beifan continued.
Gradually, the officials fell into silence.
Lin Beifan continued speaking, “Therefore, my intentions are not unfounded! When cement is applied properly, it is no less effective than airships and hovercraft! In some aspects, it can even be more practical than these two divine tools!”
“As long as we use cement, I am fully confident that within two months, we can provide millions of disaster-stricken people with affordable, sturdy, and warm houses! Within three months, we can completely build a new city!”
The expressions of everyone changed drastically once again!
Solving the housing problem for millions of disaster-stricken people within two months!
Building an entire new city within three months!
How could that be possible?
Just as they were about to voice their objections, the Empress waved her hand decisively, “It’s pointless to say more now. Let the Sir Lin give it a try! Sir Lin has been serving as an official in the court for over half a year and has never disappointed us. Let’s see the results first, and then we’ll fully support it!”
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” Lin Beifan bowed.
The Empress thought for a moment and added, “By the way, since this involves construction, the Ministry of Works will provide full cooperation!”
“As you command!” replied the Minister of Works.
With the Empress’s support, Lin Beifan began to take vigorous action.
Holding a hand-drawn map of the area around the capital, he led a group of people outside the city.
“Here is Panniji Mountain, where there is a large amount of limestone. Lead a group of disaster-stricken people here to mine the limestone! There’s a river passing through below, and the limestone can be transported here through the river!”
Then he ran to another location.
“Here, we have a large amount of high-quality clay that can be used to produce cement! Take the disaster-stricken people here to excavate the clay, and then transport it downstream to this location!”
“Notify the Ministry of Works to bring all the iron slag left over from their usual production of weapons and various iron products here! Also, collect as much iron slag from the civilians as possible, the more, the better!”
Continuing, Lin Beifan brought out the artisans from the Ministry of Works to create a huge forging and burning factory in his designated area, specifically for producing cement. He also arranged some artisans to make molds and others to excavate and transport sand and gravel.
The work was extensive, and the details were precise, but Lin Beifan organized everything methodically. Once all the arrangements were in place, everyone rolled up their sleeves and started working. Around one million disaster-stricken people, except for approximately 300,000 who were elderly, weak, sick, or disabled, all joined in the labor.
Physically strong men were responsible for the arduous tasks on the construction site, while women who were not capable of such physical work took charge of logistics, such as cooking and fetching water. The scene was bustling with energy and enthusiasm.
A week quickly passed, and the Empress and the officials were curious to see how Lin Beifan’s efforts had turned out. They left the city to take a look.
As they arrived, they couldn’t help but feel like they were experiencing a similar feeling to a character in a story entering a grand garden, where everything was fresh and unfamiliar.
“Sir Lin, explain to Us what all these things are for!” the Empress asked.
“Of course, Your Majesty!” Lin Beifan led the Empress and the officials to a place filled with warmth.
“Your Majesty, this is the workshop for producing cement, also known as the Cement Workshop! All the cement needed for our city’s construction is produced here!”
“What does your ‘cement’ look like? Can you show Us?” the Empress inquired.
“Certainly!” Lin Beifan led them forward, pointing to piles of dull grayish soil, and said, “This is cement!”
Everyone was astonished, “This is cement? It looks… so unattractive.”
“Don’t be deceived by its appearance; it is incredibly practical!” Lin Beifan explained.
The Empress curiously asked, “How is this cement used?”
“This cement needs to be mixed with sand and water in certain proportions, and then it becomes extremely sturdy! There’s no need to say more; follow me!”
Lin Beifan led everyone to a flat area with a collection of grayish bricks.
“This is the brick-making area, and we are using cement to make bricks!”
“Bricks made from cement?” everyone was once again puzzled.
Lin Beifan explained, “We need to make bricks first before we can construct houses! Compared to traditional bricks, the bricks we make with cement have an unparalleled advantage.”
“What advantage?” they asked.
“They are fast, time-saving, labor-saving, and cost-effective!” Lin Beifan smiled, “Previously, when making bricks, we had to first excavate the clay, let it pile up in the open for about half a year under the scorching sun and rain, letting it decompose and loosen inside. Then, through a certain process, only fine and pure clay remained!”
“After that, we would mix the pure clay with water, repeatedly knead it into a thick mud, and then shape it into brick embryos. After drying, we put them into kilns for firing! This entire process was time-consuming, labor-intensive, and required a lot of charcoal!”
Upon hearing this, everyone couldn’t help but nod in agreement.
“But our cement bricks are different!”
“To produce cement, we only need about three days or so!”
“After the cement is produced, as long as we mix it with sand and water in a certain proportion to form a clay-like substance, we can use the existing molds to create bricks. Then, we leave them in a dry place to solidify! In 2 to 3 days, we can have bricks ready for construction. Their quality is not much different from traditionally fired bricks,” Lin Beifan explained.
The officials’ expressions changed.
Lin Beifan picked up two dried and solidified cement bricks from the ground and smiled, “Take a look at these bricks. How are they different from the ones you usually see?”
After contemplating for a moment, an old minister said, “Apart from the color, they are nearly as strong as the usual bricks.”
“That’s another significant advantage of cement. It sets quickly and is very sturdy!” Lin Beifan smiled. “With these bricks, building houses becomes much easier and more affordable!”
Their expectations grew.
“Everyone, please follow me!” Lin Beifan led them forward to rows of bungalows.
With pride, Lin Beifan said, “These are houses built with cement, and it only took five days to complete all of them!”
“Built in five days?” Everyone was astonished.
“How can it be done in five days?” someone asked.
“As you can see, we transport the pre-made cement bricks here and use them to build the walls, reinforcing with more cement! In this way, the houses are naturally constructed!” Lin Beifan explained.
“Do we not need to dig trenches for the foundation?” the Minister of Works asked.
“We do, but we don’t need to dig as deep. It takes half a day to handle that. All our houses are interconnected using cement, providing mutual support and stability like Mount Tai!” Lin Beifan replied.
“Do we not need to erect pillars?” the Minister of Works asked again.
Lin Beifan shook his head, “No, we don’t! The cement walls we build are very sturdy. So, we skip that step and build the walls directly. The whole process takes two days, one day for wall construction and one day for waiting for the cement to dry and solidify.”
“What about the roofing?” the Minister of Works inquired once more.
“That’s the simplest part. Look up!” Lin Beifan pointed, and they saw several large horizontal beams on top of the houses, and the walls were still made of cement.
“After we finish building the walls, we place several horizontal beams on the roof. Then, we lay the pre-made cement boards on top and let them solidify with cement! This entire process takes less than half a day!”
“After that, we wait for one more day for the roofing stones to dry and solidify, and it’s all done!”
“This is the process of building houses. We just need to produce cement, and with it, we can make cement bricks and cement boards. Then, we follow the construction process like stacking building blocks. The whole process is as simple as that!”
Lin Beifan smiled faintly, “Your Majesty and distinguished officials, are you satisfied with the speed of house construction?”
The Empress and the officials were shocked and amazed!