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< prev - next > Disaster response mitigation and rebuilding Reconstruction PCR Tool 10 Quality Control (Printable PDF)
A reconstruction project in Tacna, Peru, where adobe housing
had failed in an earthquake. In reconstruction, the quality
of adobe production was strictly controlled and walls were
reinforced with cane
after which they could be allowed.
Community leaders as well as members are
often well informed about who in the area is
building where and at what stage they are in
construction. They can therefore visit the sites and
find out who is building their house well and who
is having problems. In doing so they can learn from
the good builders and pass on information to the
weaker members. They may also be able to request
the help of the successful builders on behalf of
the less competent or able. This can be particularly
important for households who have lost members
during the disaster, who have disabled members, or
who have few resources themselves to contribute to
Building artisans as well as residents need
to understand the importance of quality in
construction to avoid similar disasters in the future.
They should not attempt to carry out jobs that
are beyond their level of skill and knowledge and
should seek help if they run into difficulties.
Reconstruction projects need to provide training,
to both residents and local builders, in aspects
Training session on the construction of foundations in a
reconstruction project for IDPs in Vavunya, Sri Lanka
of construction that the damage assessments
highlighted as weaknesses. If additional
technologies are being introduced that are new to
the area, training needs to be provided in those.
Training may also be needed for local authority
staff responsible for ensuring construction quality.
After the tsunami in Sri Lanka, GTZ and Practical
Action provided a training programme on quality
assessment to such technical officers. The regular
training that public or private training institutions
had already provided to those officers lacked
the basics of disaster risk reduction and related
standards. In this case, the remedy was to provide
2.5 day courses, but a better long term solution
would be to incorporate disaster risk reduction in
the curricula of those existing institutions.
Projects will also need to provide adequate
supervision and support on site. There is a
tendency for field visits in some projects to focus
mainly on quantity with questions such as: has
sufficient progress been made, and therefore can
the next instalment of cash for reconstruction be
allocated? Instead, such visits need to also cover
quality, so may require different fieldworkers, or
mixed teams. If fieldworkers who visit sites regularly
cannot provide this type of support adequately,
another option could be to engage master builders
with proven competences in the skills required
and have them reside in the area. For example,
following the tsunami in Sri Lanka, Practical Action
used experienced masons, in coastal locations
where there was a scarcity of experienced builders,
to support reconstruction there. Even after training,
not every community member or builder will
be equally competent to complete a particular
construction component well. They may not always
realise that they are doing things wrong, thus
supervision, additional explanations and perhaps
demonstration are needed to set them right.
Consider independent quality control
Agencies involved in reconstruction would normally
aim to achieve adequate quality housing. However,
they are also often under enormous pressure to
build quickly, which may limit their willingness
to spend time training people. Reconstruction
also causes a sudden upsurge in demand in the
construction sector, so good staff and builders are
often hard to get, and some of the training and
support may therefore be inadequate. Furthermore,
donors want to keep overheads down so the less
money spent on staff costs, (including for capacity
building, support and supervision), the more that
remains for building houses. But there comes a
point when quality is compromised for cost, and too
many houses end up being of inadequate quality,
meaning inhabitants are still at risk of living in
houses that are unsafe.
Therefore, is worthwhile to consider independent
quality control. Many countries have a system