Organizations / Build Change
Originally founded in the San Francisco Bay Area, Build Change designs disaster-resistant houses and schools in emerging nations and trains builders, homeowners, engineers, and government officials to build them. Build Change leaves in place permanent change in construction practice by building local skills and stimulating local demand.
After a major earthquake in a developing country, agencies typically build masses of houses that are not always culturally appropriate and sustainable in the local construction sector. Often, the homeowner is only minimally involved in the decision-making and construction process. The opportunity to build local capacity is often missed, and in many cases, the houses built after the funding and technical assistance cease do not safeguard against earthquakes. To overcome these challenges, Build Change applies the following principles and strategies.
- Use detailed housing sub sector studies to determine the most cost-effective ways of building earthquake-resistant houses using materials and skills that are available through the local private sector.
- Empower the homeowners to choose their own layout and materials and manage their own construction with our technical assistance, by providing a range of solutions appropriate for different income levels, family size, culture, and climate.
- Work with local masons, carpenters and homeowners to incorporate disaster-resistant building techniques that are culturally accepted and easy to adopt with limited training and education.
- Leverage the knowledge and skills of the best engineers and architects in the world – both in the US and the developing world – to ensure that the very best designs and design thinking are applied to the reconstruction efforts while sticking to a carefully compiled list of criteria for local sustainability and acceptance.
- Build local capacity by hiring and working with local engineers, architects, builders, universities, and governments and training technical high school students.
- Learn and spread best practices from post-disaster housing reconstruction programs so that the many other agencies involved in these efforts build better houses and leave in place more sustainable local impacts.