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< prev - next > Disaster response mitigation and rebuilding Reconstruction PCR Tool 10 Quality Control (Printable PDF)
Reconstruction using dhajji dewari, a traditional timber frame
wall, filled in with stone and mud, in Kashmir, Pakistan
resistance of traditional (kutcha) houses, while
retrofitting hospitals against hurricanes in St Lucia
and Dominica added only one or two per cent to
the cost. However, the Gujarat earthquake in India
caused an estimated five billion US$ in direct and
indirect losses while Hurricane Mitch in Honduras
in 1998 caused losses estimated at 41 per cent of
GDP and Hurricane Luis in 1995 in Antigua and
Barbuda led to losses equivalent to 65 per cent
of GDP. Thus, there are ways of achieving quality,
even when resources are scarce. This requires
information about appropriate technologies,
capacity building, and quality control.
Finally, construction quality also matters to
the agencies supporting reconstruction. They are
accountable not only to their beneficiaries, but
also to the donors who are funding them. Donors
need to be reassured that their money has been
well spent, and they will not have to finance more
reconstruction in the same location in the future as
a result of poor building. Thus, agencies and donors
alike have to strike a balance between the quantity
of houses they can build within a given budget
(which determines the number of people they are
able to reach), and the quality-standards these
houses must reach in order to be disaster-resistant.
What to do to achieve quality of
For houses and other buildings to stand up to
future hazards:
• All key partners involved in reconstruction
need to be aware of the need to mitigate future
disaster risks and have a basic knowledge of
building structural features that can help with
• The design must be structurally sound to
withstand anticipated risks (see: PCR Tool 6,
Participatory Design;
Woman rebuilding a house in Chincha, Peru, using improved
quincha; this is a relatively simple and familiar technology that
self-builders can use with good results
• The design must be such that building artisans
and families can implement them. Preferably,
technologies should be selected that they are
familiar with. Where essential skills are lacking,
training must be provided;
• Building artisans, materials producers and
families rebuilding their houses must be aware
of the need for quality to ensure building safety,
and have basic skills to control quality;
• Building materials and components must
be produced to an adequate standard and,
where necessary, protected from climate and
contamination during storage;
• Agencies involved with PCR need to provide
adequate technical support and supervision
during construction works;
• Further extensions to houses must utilise
similarly safe designs and technologies.
Technologies chosen for reconstruction therefore
need to be affordable in the long run, not just
in immediate reconstruction when extra external
resources are available;
• People must be able to maintain houses in a
safe condition;
• Reconstruction grants need to cover the cost of
building according to an approved design and
standard, and accommodate for inflation.
What may go wrong and reduce
Past reconstruction experience tells us that projects
often work out differently in practice than was
expected. Below are some examples of where and
how this has happened, how it has negatively
affected reconstruction quality and how such
mistakes can be prevented:
• Housing plans, designs, specifications and
guidelines drawn up by somebody with