Visualise a house complete with three rooms and living room - a seemingly impossible feat if one has a minimal budget of RM20,000 and limited time frame of less than a month.

Fighting against these odds, the combined efforts of polytechnic and community college students, with the aid of their lecturers, accomplished this extraordinary feat in Besut, Terengganu.

To date, armed with the skills and knowledge acquired, they have built 19 houses of 600 square feet each, under the Community House programme inspired by Higher Education minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

Idris said the idea came from a need to resolve the issue of housing availability for the poor and needy while providing a platform for students to improve their skills.

The first house was completed in Kampung Padang Landak, Jerteh, within 22 days, at a cost of RM19,900, which was accomplished through the Industrialised Building System (IBS).

Idris said by using the cement board material, a technology using lightweight but durable building blocks through the IBS method, the 19 durable and affordable houses were built, according to requirements needed for a house.

Besides that, he said the construction of the community houses was upgraded with the involvement of various parties such as Universiti Malaya (UM) and construction companies.

"UM's engineering department is introducing its expertise in frontier green technology construction while construction companies are introducing high technology construction products."

A satisfied occupant, Malay confectionary trader, single mother, Normahani Mohamad, 43, and her six children were grateful for the free house which they described as cool, spacious and well-built.