Reformation of the Curricula on Built Environment in the Eastern Neighbouring Area

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Practice questions

  1. Widen your reading by searching for more case studies on major infrastructure reconstruction following a disaster. Identify further problems and challenges associated with restoring damaged infrastructure.

  1. In widening your knowledge, identify further details on the California 2003 earthquake

    1. What unique characteristics can you identify in this case (if there are any)?

    2. What lessons can be learnt from the 2003 California earthquake in relation to post-disaster planning and management that could be applied to communities in other parts of the world (including developing countries)?

        1. Lecture 2- Rehabilitation and reconstruction

The process of rehabilitation is based on concerns relating to the community’s needs in the aftermath of a disaster, the need to increase capacity and the need for the community to be autonomous and resilient to any future disasters. Experience shows that in disaster situations, affected individuals and their neighbours are the best disaster managers. Rehabilitation should therefore also be a mitigation exercise (Kobe Action Plan, 2003).

An ideal process in the post-disaster scenario is to link immediate recovery to development. Broadly the process follows three stages, as illustrated in Figure 1:

Figure 1: Different stages of the recovery process

In the first stage (Principles and planning), an overall plan defines the principles and the aim of the rehabilitation exercise. The second stage (Implementation) is carried out jointly with the community with a two-way flow between the Project Team and the individual household. The third stage (Ensuring sustainability) is the exit stage for the Project Team, after it has ensured sustainability of its interventions while the community prepared itself to integrate itself to mainstream development.

When the immediate needs of the population are met and people have settled from the hustle and bustle of the event, they begin to enter the next phase, the recovery phase which is the most significant, in terms of long term outcome. There is no distinct point at which immediate relief changes into recovery and then into long-term sustainable development. Normally this phase lasts from six months to many years. It is during this time that the victims actually realise the impact of disaster and move to long term reconstruction. In the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, considerations of disaster risk reduction should form the foundations for all activities (ADRC, 2005).

Taking appropriate measures based on the concept of disaster risk management in each phase of the disaster risk management cycle, can reduce the level of overall disaster risk (ADRC, 2005). Therefore, disaster risk reduction can be identified as a pre-disaster phase of the disaster management cycle, but also an important concern in the post-disaster reconstruction phase. Reduction of disaster risk is an important step that leads to effective management of disasters. For this purpose, it is imperative to understand and identify the benefits that disaster risk reduction brings forth. The major reason for this focus is to examine the possible contribution from integration of disaster risk reduction into infrastructure reconstruction.

Case study 3 - The rehabilitation of the village of Patnak in Gujarat State in Western India after the Gujarat Earthquake

[Source: Shaw, R., Gupta, M. and Sarma, A. (2003) Community recovery and its sustainability: Lessons from Gujarat earthquake of India –The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, Vol. 18 No. 2, pg. 28-34]

A consortium, included government, non-government, academic and international organisations from India, Japan and Nepal formed a Project Team on an initiative called the ‘Patan Navjivan Yojana’ (Patanka New Life Project) (PNY). The project had two major goals:

    • to rehabilitate the lives of the residents of Patanka providing safer houses, better infrastructure and greater livelihood security; and

    • to provide a shake table demonstration for building local capacities in building earthquake-safer construction.

    • The project team felt the need for a model approach to community rehabilitation due to following factors:

    • Disasters in recent decades are causing more deaths than in the past century. Indeed, some areas re repeatedly affected by disasters, yet the relief and rehabilitation carried out following one disaster does little to protect against subsequent disasters.

    • Some areas vulnerable to recurrent disasters do not learn from past incidents and consequently experience a disaster-poverty cycle (Bhatt, 1998). Limited education and awareness among the stakeholders and a lack of confidence in disaster- resistant practices (i.e. construction) are regarded as two major reasons for the repetition of mistakes and tragedy (Shaw et al, 2003).

    • The reconstruction efforts being largely ad-hoc, mean there is no strategic framework and coordination. Inadequate planning, coupled with lack of preparedness and mitigation infrastructure, poor information dissemination and inappropriate measures for accountability have aggravated the problem.

    • Population increases are felt in most parts of the world directly contributing to a rising trend of life loss. 
Case study 4 - Restoring Road and Energy Infrastructure- in Kabul

[Reference: Asian Development Bank (2003) Afghanistan- Rebuilding a nation, Asian Development Outlook]

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) helped Afghanistan to restore key infrastructure in its shattered road, electric power, and gas sectors through a loan of $150 million equivalent approved in June 2003. Two decades of war and turmoil have left most of the country’s infrastructure either damaged or destroyed, and lacking the resources and capacity to carry out maintenance. Poverty was endemic, with about 45% of the population in the seven provinces under the project living on less than a quarter of $1 per capita per day.

The project expected to generate employment during the construction period, while the operation and maintenance of rehabilitated facilities will create permanent jobs. Additional long-term jobs are expected from increased production, trade, transport, and services arising out of the improved roads, power, and gas supply.

“The revival of Afghanistan’s economy and resumption of growth depends crucially on rebuilding key infrastructure that can create jobs, boost incomes, accelerate the rehabilitation of displaced populations, and promote greater stability and unity in the country” (Frank Polman, ADB’s Senior Advisor, South Asia Department). The Government had declared road improvement, especially for the national primary roads, to be a top priority. High priority was also given to improving the electric power infrastructure, especially around Kabul, where it was poor in condition, resulting in high system losses, poor service, unreliable supply and daily load shedding. “Better roads will promote greater physical and political integration, and international and domestic trade, and ease the path for critical humanitarian and development assistance” (Hasan Masood, ADB Project Engineer- Transport, 2003).

Case study 5 - Rebuilding a Community through Transportation Infrastructure Rehabilitation- A case study of Hancock County, Mississippi

[Reference: CDM Knowledge Centre, Case Studie- Rebuilding a Community through Transportation Infrastructure Rehabilitation, Available from: (Accessed on 11 March 2009)]

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Hancock County, Mississippi, was left with damaged infrastructure and destroyed businesses and homes. Although some businesses and residents have returned, the area was still plagued with critical infrastructure issues that need to be addressed, particularly in the realm of transportation.

CDM has been selected by the Hancock County Board of Supervisors to provide rehabilitation and replacement engineering services for Beach Boulevard—a 10-mile long stretch of scenic roadway that runs along the western shoreline of the Gulf Coast. Originally built in the 1950s, this two-lane concrete road was an essential gateway providing access to beaches, marinas, shoreline shopping, restaurants, and the area’s bustling seafood industry. This roadway was a key component to rebuilding the beachfront community and restoring tourism in the area.
Post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction for improved quality
What is quality of infrastructure?

‘Quality’ in everyday life and business, engineering and manufacturing has a pragmatic interpretation as the ‘non-inferiority’, ‘superiority’ or ‘usefulness’ of something. This is one of the most common interpretations of the term. However, there is neither an accepted nor a best definition of quality for every situation. The most popular definition of quality relates to fulfilling or exceeding expectations (Love et al, 2000). The same meaning has been given to ‘quality on construction projects’, as well as ‘project success’, as the fulfilment of expectations (i.e. the satisfaction) of those participants involved by Sanvido et al. (1992) and Barrett (2000) (Ahmed et al., 2005). Excellence, conformance to standards or specifications, and fitness for purpose have all been criticized as definitions of quality by Dotchin and Oakland (1993). Expectations are not necessarily consistent or predictable (Love et al, 2000). They are subjected to many influences, including management communication or advertising. On the other hand, Chan and Tam (2000) notify that ‘Quality’ is defined in BS 4778 Part 1: Quality Vocabulary (British Standards Institution, 1987) and ISO 9001: Quality Systems - Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing (International Standardisation Organisation, 1994) as the totality of features and characteristics of a product/service that bears on its ability to satisfy stated/ implied needs. Chan and Tam (2000) further claim that with particular reference to the construction industry, quality is defined as:

  • Fitness for purpose (Construction Industry Research and Information Association, 1985);

  • The effective achievement of agreed goals between the client and the main contractor (Fan, 1995); or

  • The conformance to requirements of clients as defined by Atkins (1994)

Within this context, establishing infrastructure quality measures is found to be a difficult and complex task. One such clear and simple way to define what infrastructure quality means is, to create links with service quality, which deals with the final product, or else, the total infrastructure facility after it has being constructed/reconstructed. Similar to the concept of quality, service quality also has several different definitions (Love et al, 2000). As far as the overall quality of infrastructure facilities is concerned, the ‘service quality’ can provide a better meaning and makes it easy to understand what quality infrastructure means. The term ‘infrastructure service’ carries the meaning of ‘facility supplying some public demand’. The service quality can be measured through the external appearance of the infrastructure facility, ability to withstand disaster situations, achievement of project objectives, frequency of maintenance requirements, performance levels and the service provision levels etc.

Though it is relatively easy to calculate the costs of establishing and operating a quality infrastructure, it is hard to quantify the benefits it brings to the society as a whole. However, a quality infrastructure would help by reducing disaster risks, improving health care, increasing productivity in manufacturing and productivity in service delivery, and distributing national wealth more equally. As long as infrastructure is reconstructed to a satisfactory level of quality, its ability to withstand future disasters will undoubtedly be increased.

Planning and implementation of infrastructure reconstruction for improved quality

Quality management is a critical component towards the successful management of construction projects (Abdul-Rahman, 1997). As discussed, quality is different from person to person and from sector to sector. However, the final quality of an infrastructure project would depend on many factors. Chan et al (2004) have developed a framework with the factors affecting construction project success. All these identified factors have been categorized under five different categories as: project management actions, project procedures, external environment-related factors, project-related factors and human-related factors. The group/category called ‘Project management actions’ includes implementing an effective safety programme. In a similar way, Chan and Tam (2000) have discovered that ‘implementing an effective safety programme’ as a factor affecting the quality of building construction project. These two studies provide a sense that disaster risk reduction has an ability to influence the final quality of a construction project.

Therefore it is clear that there is a need to investigate and explore the two-way relationship between disaster risk reduction and quality of infrastructure, with a special emphasis on the context of post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction.

Restoring livelihoods

One significant aspect that needs to be addressed under sustainable post disaster reconstruction is the livelihoods of the affected population. Livelihood can be understood as the capabilities, assets (both material and social resource assets such as social networks) and activities required for means of living (Scoones, 1998). Many people in developing countries in particular are characterised by high levels of poverty, weak and fragmented social institutions, inadequate and damaged physical infrastructure, and limited access to services and markets (Asian Development Bank, 2007). According to Wimaladharma et al. (2005), loss of property and loss of income are the most frequently reported ways in which the disasters had affected the livelihoods of households. Households have lost their properties through destruction of housing, displacement of rightful owners from property resulting in others occupying, and abandonment of house and property. In certain cases, income generating properties have been destroyed and it has resulted in loss of income.

Disasters result in repeated displacement of people with loss of their physical assets and their belongings. Many of the displaced population have depleted their savings and were forced to liquidate their assets. Many will also lose their means of livelihood during major disasters. Further, due to the increased level and extent of post disaster activities, many professionals, technical and skilled personnel have left, creating a dearth of skilled personnel in certain areas. In order to improve the livelihoods of the affected people there is a need to develop/improve their capabilities related to construction trades, such as carpentry and masonry, and to produce construction related materials. Livelihood programmes can help the population within the host community who have lost their income earning job. This can not only develop their income earning capacity, but also improve the standard of living of the affected people.

Entrepreneurial development

Supporting economic recovery for displaced people in disaster affected regions is a challenging task for many organisations. In particular, many people lack assets, inputs and tools to engage in their traditional income generating activities. On the other side, many do not have the necessary skills and capacities to begin alternative income generating activities. Entrepreneurial development can play an important role in the sustainable development of the affected areas since formation of enterprises can create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income. This can assist them not only in the creation of employment but also in the development of quality in their work.

Assistance for the formation of construction related enterprises, such as SMEs and manufacturing companies of construction materials using locally available resources, can improve the economic status of the affected areas. Some sectors of the affected population might struggle to find jobs related to their traditional work and there is a need to provide them an income earning opportunity. Development of relevant entrepreneurial skills can produce competitive human resources which are capable of competing in national and international markets.

Due to a lack of earlier experience and insufficient guidance on business management many face problems related to access to finance, business planning, legal requirements, etc. These prevent them from obtaining loans to start up new businesses and to expand the existing business. Disaster incidents might have disrupted traditional networks, as well as existing market and trade arrangements. Many displaced people will have been forced to return to areas that are still widely considered unsafe. Thus, they need to be educated about the application of business management techniques to manage these risks for business continuity. In addition, training on innovative marketing ideas can help entrepreneurs to sustain their business within disaster affected regions. In order to lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth instead of activities that will be short-lived, there is a need to ensure that the infrastructure reconstruction and rehabilitation will help to develop the local industry capacities and revitalise other sectors of the region. Further, the money that is injected into the economy needs to be utilised for sustainable development.

Coordination between the public and private sectors is an important aspect of improving the local economy. This recognises the importance of entrepreneurial development within disaster affected communities. There is a need to provide new employment opportunities for the returning local community. Therefore, development of business skills such as contract management, procurement, financial and management accounting, business planning, etc. will be of assistance to the affected community to form their own business.

Institutional set-up

There is a need for the livelihood coordination activities to be carried out by teams at district and divisional levels. These teams will be able to contribute to or establish livelihood coordination with all stakeholders participating. They will also be able to develop partner arrangements with identified stakeholders to strengthen facilitation and coordination among these key stakeholders.

As a means of restoring livelihoods, livelihood development plans could be prepared through a methodology such as participatory consultation. Individual requests of affected populations could then be linked to development partners of the area. Sector progress can then be managed based on a structure such as that identified below:

  • Income

  • Fishers

  • Agriculture

  • Support to micro, small and medium enterprises
Issues and constraints

Some of the issues and constrains associated with this process include:

  • Lack of capacity in certain districts to plan, implement and coordinate livelihood programmes.

  • Lack of financial allocation to plan and monitor ongoing livelihood activities in the affected areas.

  • Lack of authority to introduce guiding principles such as zero tolerance of corruption in livelihood related activities.

  • Lack of continuing loan schemes for identified enterprises.
        1. Practice questions

  1. Read cases studies 3, 4, & 5, which provide some lessons on restoring communities and infrastructure. Widen your reading by searching for more articles on the summary case studies provided and evaluate their progress and impact.

  1. Evaluate a situation that you are familiar with on its plans and progress in dealing with restoring an infrastructure sector, and consider the steps that have been taken to rehabilitate the community. Your evaluation may consider issues such as the government, organisations, and individuals’ plans and progress.

  1. Identify examples of built environment and construction specific livelihood programmes that could be put into practice after a disaster in restoring livelihoods

    1. What sort of institutional settings do you suggest, to make schemes such as you have identified, a success?

    2. How could the progress of such schemes be monitored?

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