Rural Construction

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rural Construction


a sector of construction serving agricultural production and the cultural and domestic requirements of the rural population. The projects of rural construction include the construction of agricultural production buildings and installations, housing, and public buildings in agricultural and worker settlements, urban-type settlements, cities under raion jurisdiction, and raion administrative centers. Other projects are the construction of production facilities for rural construction organizations, pipelines and communications lines, and structures used in crop cultivation and land reclamation. In the USSR, the volume of rural construction in 1974 was approximately 30 percent of all construction and installation work.

In prerevolutionary Russia, rural construction was seasonal and was carried out with manual labor. The industries producing construction materials were primitive. After the October Revolution of 1917, rural construction developed rapidly. In 1918 a department of rural construction was set up under the Committee of State Construction and Public Works. The Statute on Socialist Land Allocation (February 1919) defined the basic principles that were to govern rural construction. With the organization and development of kolkhozes and sovkhozes, construction of various types of rural housing, production buildings, and public buildings was begun. Rural settlements began reflecting architectural planning and design (seePLANNING OF RURAL POPULATED AREAS).

The scale of rural construction increased substantially after the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). Extensive reconstruction work was carried out until 1950. In 1954, rural construction was started in the virgin lands of Kazakhstan and Siberia, and in 1959 large-scale construction was started in accordance with rural regional planning. The solution of problems related to the development of large-scale agricultural production and the reconstruction of the countryside provided an opportunity to establish an ordered network of rural population areas. Rural settlements were significantly enlarged by eliminating small villages and single-family farms. According to data from the 1970 all-Union census, the number of villages declined from 705,000 in 1959 to 469,000 in 1970.

The decisions of the Central Committee plenum of the CPSU of March 1965 and the decrees of the Central Committee of the CPSU and Council of Ministers of the USSR On the Regulation of Construction in the Countryside (1968) and On Measures for the Further Development of Agriculture in the Non-chernozem Zone of the RSFSR (1974) expanded the scope of rural construction. Capital investment in this sector continuously increased. During the fifth five-year plan (1951–55), investment totaled 14.7 billion rubles. During the sixth (1956–60), the figure was 28.5 billion, during the seventh (1961–65) 45.6 billion, during the eighth (1966–70) 74.6 billion, and in four years of the ninth (1971–74) 91.1 billion rubles.

With the mechanization of agriculture, rural construction has acquired increased importance. Agrarian and industrial conglomerates have brought qualitative changes in rural construction, which to an increasing extent is taking on the character of industrial and urban construction. Present construction includes large livestock-breeding complexes, facilities for the storage and processing of grains and such enterprises for the commercial processing of agricultural products as refrigeration units, canneries, mixed-feed plants, and slaughterhouses. Large hothouses and poultry farms are being built, and extensive land-reclamation work is being done.

Substantial changes have occurred in housing and public buildings. Housing of different types is being erected in the countryside, for example, houses of three to five stories, single-story houses containing one or two apartments, and duplex apartment buildings. In the construction of public buildings, such as schools, hospitals, stores, clubs, children’s institutions, dining facilities, and consumer service centers, the guiding principle has been an ordered arrangement of facilities offering services to the rural population. This principle requires a network of facilities providing daily services at each population area. Facilities offering the services not required on a daily basis have been built in central farm settlements or raion administrative centers. In this way, such institutions as large hospitals and trading centers with services equivalent to those available in cities can be built. With large facilities, commercial, cultural and educational activities can take place in a single building. The construction of, for example, roads and pipelines for water and gas aids in providing services to the countryside.

The achievements of modern science and technology are being applied to rural construction. Light structural elements and efficient materials are used in the construction of livestock buildings. Here, the frames consist of reinforced-concrete beams or columns and laminated wooden frames or arches. Walls are made from light concrete panels or reinforced-concrete panels in three layers and insulated with plastic foam or sheets of mineral wood. These panels are placed on a wooden frame which is faced with a sheet of cement-asbestos and insulated with mineral wool. The flooring of livestock buildings is made from light reinforced-concrete corrugated slabs, panels of cement-asbestos, or stamped metal flooring; roofs are made of large corrugated sheets of cement-asbestos. Prefabricated elevators are made of metal, and ground-type storage buildings for mineral fertilizers are constructed using laminated wooden arches and frames. Housing is built using large, light-weight concrete structural elements, which are manufactured in special lots for rural construction. The construction of large production buildings is a new area of scientific and technological progress in rural construction. The first multistory poultry farms and swine-fattening complexes have been erected; these structures occupy less space and have lower construction costs than single-story buildings. A tendency toward larger buildings can also be seen in such other examples of rural construction as potato storage facilities and hothouses. Broad standardization of the prefabricated elements of rural buildings greatly simplifies construction work and increases labor productivity. In the years 1970–74, output per person employed in construction and installation work and in subsidiary production increased by 22 percent. In 1974, rural construction used 27,300 excavators, 12,900 scrapers, 29,900 bulldozers, 4,900 tower cranes, and 25,600 truck cranes. The level of mechanization has reached 99 percent in installation work, 98 percent in freight handling, 96 percent in earthwork, 74 percent in painting, and 68 percent in plastering.

Rural construction is carried out by a number of organizations. The main contractor is the Ministry of Rural Construction of the USSR, together with 13 republic ministeries and a network of construction associations and mobile mechanized columns. For more effective use of equipment, mechanization administrations and enterprises for servicing and repairing machinery have been set up under the construction associations. The value of the construction and installation work carried out by the enterprises and organizations of the Ministry of Rural Construction of the USSR was 5 billion rubles in 1975. The second major contractor is the network of interkolkhoz construction organizations. These organizations carry out rural construction chiefly on the kolkhozes (seeINTERKOLKHOZ ENTERPRISES and INTERKOLKHOZ ASSOCIATIONS). These organizations include raion, oblast, and republic units, and they have their own enterprises producing building materials, as well as a network of planning organizations. The value of the work carried out by interkolkhoz construction organizations was 4.6 billion rubles in 1975. All work related to land reclamation is carried out by the Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Use Management of the USSR. Work dealing with, for example, electrification or road construction, is administered by various specialized ministries (by subcontracting), including the Ministry of Energy Resources and Electrification of the USSR, the Ministry of Transport Construction of the USSR, the Ministry of Installation and Specialized Construction Works of the USSR, and the All-Union Soiuzsel’khoztekhnika Association. Construction work is also carried out by nonspecialized ministries and departments and by kolkhozes and sovkhozes themselves.

The principal scientific institution concerned with scientific and technological progress in rural construction is the Central Scientific Research and Experimental Planning Institute of the Ministry of Rural Construction of the USSR. Progress in the construction of livestock buildings is the province of the All-Union Planning and Scientific Research Institute for the Design of Standard and Experimental Agricultural Projects. Enterprises involved in the processing of grain are the concern of the Central Scientific Research Institute for the Design of Experimental Grain-processing Enterprises, while the construction of housing and public buildings is studied by the Central Scientific Research Institute for the Design of Experimental Public Buildings in Rural Construction. Progressive solutions are disseminated by a network of institutes and construction associations of the Department for the Organization of Technology in Rural Construction, headed by the State Institute for Planning Organization and Production in Rural Construction of the Ministry of Rural Construction of the USSR.

Automatic control systems are being developed for use in rural construction. In the ministries of rural construction of the RSFSR and the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Uzbek, Kazakh, and Lithuanian SSR’s, subsystems are being introduced that handle the planning of contracted projects, the management of material and equipment, and the operational management of contracted work. In individual construction organizations, operational management is provided through network planning and electronic computers.

The financial sources of rural construction include budget allocations, funds of agricultural enterprises, and bank credits. Housing construction on the kolkhozes is financed by the personal funds of kolkhoz members and rural intelligentsia with the help of state credit. Housing cooperatives are assuming particular significance (seeHOUSING COOPERATIVE).

Other countries. In socialist countries, rural construction in the 1960’s and 1970’s has been significantly expanded and has been carried out on the basis of scientific and technical cooperation. Joint work has been done in designing and constructing, for example, large grain elevators and livestock complexes. Here, use is made of the experience of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in building multistory livestock structures and in designing structures with a minimal number of elements. The Hungarian People’s Republic is able to share its experience in constructing monobloc livestock buildings and in using light enclosing panels faced with sheets of aluminum and flat cement-asbestos. The German Democratic Republic has gained experience in the production and application of light metal flooring.

In capitalist countries, most rural construction is carried out on small farms. Certain construction firms also build such large agricultural structures as livestock and hothouse complexes, grain elevators, mixed-feed plants, and enterprises that process agricultural products. Use is made in this work of efficient metal elements (United States, Netherlands, Great Britain, France), laminated wooden elements (West Germany, Sweden, United States) and plastics.


“Ob uporiadochenii stroitel’stva na sele. Postanovlenie TsK KPSS i Soveta Ministrov SSSR ot 12 sent. 1968.” Sobranie postanovlenii pravitel’stva SSSR, 1968, no. 18.
“Ob uluchshenii proektirovaniia i stroitel’stva sel’skokhoziaistvennykh ob”ektov i ukreplenii proizvodstvennoi bazy sel’skikh stroitel’nykh organizatsii. Postanovlenie TsK KPSS i Soveta Ministrov SSSR ot 26 avg. 1971.” Ibid., 1971, no. 16.
Khitrov, S. D. “Tekhnicheskii progress v sel’skom stroitel’stve.” Stroitel’, no. 7, 1972.
Stroitel’stvo v SSSR, 1917–1967. [Moscow, 1967.]
Prozorovskii, G. N., and A. D. Ternovskii. Proizvodstvennaia baza sel’skogo stroitel’stva. Moscow, 1972.
Mal’tsev, N. S. Novoe v stroitel’stve sel’skokhoziaistvennykh zdanii. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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