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< prev - next > Disaster response mitigation and rebuilding Reconstruction PCR Tool 10 Quality Control (Printable PDF)
Case 2: Effective Collaboration between Communities and Professionals to Ensure Quality
The South Indian Federation of Fishing Societies (SIFFS) reconstructed some 2,300 houses in the fishing
villages of Tarangambadi and Chinnangudi, devastated by the 2004 tsunami. The houses were built by
a team of local labourers supervised by engineers and local people recruited and trained by SIFFS. Local
people also participated in the housing design. A priority was the orientation and training of the supervisors
in construction quality so that they would be able to supervise the labourers effectively to undertake
reconstruction to a satisfactory standard. This involved having the supervisors participate regularly in
training courses to update their knowledge. To facilitate these courses, the project’s architect and technical
advisor prepared a series of notes about how to implement quality in building the types of houses selected
within the project. These notes covered:
• Durability of buildings and quality of work
• Quality control in the production and use of building materials – fired clay bricks, cement, sand, coarse
aggregates, steel reinforcement, water, mortar, and the curing of cement mortar and concrete
• Building elements – foundations, concrete, damp-proof course, brickwork, formwork and concreting,
plastering, flooring and painting
• Design details – rising damp, salt crystallisation, coping, sloping sunshades and sloping of ground away
from buildings
• Health and safety on the building site.
See: Kuriakose, B. (2006) in the Practical Resources section
Case 3: Evolving Standards in a participatory manner
Following the massive 2005 earthquake in Northern Pakistan, the government supported by UN-Habitat
decided that a very large part of housing reconstruction would be undertaken using an owner-driven
approach. This raised the problem of how to ensure the quality of almost half a million houses to be
constructed by households on their own or with the help of local builders. Many people were in a hurry to
rebuild their house before the winter, and did so before quality standards and information resources could
be developed; this resulted in many problems and mistakes. Some people, for instance, decided to rebuild
with a reinforced concrete frame and concrete block infill in preference to the traditional stone and earthen
buildings that had proven to be so vulnerable. However, they did not understand how a reinforced concrete
frame can function to resist shaking, so the reinforcement was installed incorrectly or not tied together
properly, and the quality of mixing, applying and curing of concrete was poor. This makes the houses
vulnerable to eventual future earthquakes. The programme has adopted retro-fitting measures to strengthen
the vulnerable concrete frame houses, but it has not been universally adopted.
In other cases rebuilding of houses in more earthquake resistant ways has been implemented more
successfully. The use of dhajji, for example, has boomed. Dhajii is traditional timber-framed construction
in the area with stone or earth infill. Before the quake, its use had almost died out end there were only
about 5,000 dhajii houses left in the area. But they performed well during the quake, and since then over
100,000 new ones have been built, mostly to a satisfactory quality of construction.
The engineers, architects and planners of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority
(ERRA) have had to adapt their professional skills and incorporate more people-centred approaches. The
development of housing designs and quality standards, for example, have had to be guided by people’s
preferences rather than produced in a design office, based on classic earthquake-resistant construction
principles. They also have had to find new ways of communicating safe design to builders. Many
builders do not understand lengthy descriptions, conventional blueprint drawings. Photographs showing
how to build or mistakes to avoid, scale models, demonstration houses, and simple visual tests and
demonstrations can get the messages across better.
See: Stephenson, M. (2008) in the Practical Resources section.