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John Cody gravatar image

I would not accept the conclusions of a structural assessment based on photos alone, and would consider such an assessment as to be worthless. Photo's in the hands of an experienced, knowledgeable structural engineers would be useful to plan a detailed assessment, but in situ assessment by someone with the requisite knowledge of structural mechanics and local building codes are absolutely necessary to allow credible conclusions to be reached.

For low rise domestic buildings the required skills and experience can be accessed via using suitably experienced local contractors. For more complicated public buildings I would am certain that the Nepalese Earthquake DRR codes would specify the required knowledge and experience required of an individual undertaking such an assessment, and may even include a register of qualified individuals.

The scale of the humanitarian needs in Nepal should not be used as a justification for short cuts in the assessment and planning of the reconstruction phase. This would undermine the considerable investment in DRR and LRRD that have been made to date. Also, in order to incorporate resilience considerations into the response, complying with existing seismic construction codes should be considered the minimum standard for permanent reconstruction activities. If these cannot be met by an organisation then that organisation should strongly consider limiting its activities in reconstruction, and instead focus on temporary shelter solutions where a need exists.


John Cody

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