NSET’s Strengthening Resilient Construction Practices through Effective Implementation of Building Code in Nepal


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Past earthquakes have evidenced that large proportion around 80% of human deaths is mainly due to the collapse of houses and building structures. Analysis of building damage data from recent 2015 Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal revealed that more than 98% of the human casualty is due to the damage or collapse of buildings. It is because those buildings were owner-built unreinforced masonry structures as well as poorly built non-engineered reinforced concrete structures.
Nepal formulated the National Building Code (NBC) in 1994 and was made the NBC mandatory for all municipalities and urbanizing settlements in the country as directed by Nepal Building Act, 1998. Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City was first to take the initiatives for NBC implementation in 2003 followed by Dharan in 2007, both with the technical support from NSET. NSET worked with 10-12 more municipalities in 4-5 years period.
Based on the experiences of NSET works with Lalitpur, Dharan and few more municipalities and with the view to addressing the need to support municipalities mainly in their efforts to implement the NBC, NSET designed and implemented the Building Code Implementation Program in Municipalities in Nepal (BCIPN) during 2012-2016. The program was supported by United States Agency for International Development / Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA). BCIPN was largely successful in developing and piloting methodologies for building code compliance in 30 municipalities and urbanizing settlements of Nepal. The program demonstrated the feasibility of ensuring safer building construction through building code implementation.
TSBCIN Program
To continue the success and institutionalization of the NBC enforcement process, NSET is now implementing the program Technical Support for Building Code Implementation in Nepal (TSBCIN) with funding support from the USAID/OFDA in 30 Municipalities during 2017-2019.
The program focuses on assisting the municipalities in enhancing their capacities to appropriately develop and adequately administer the building permits and control systems to ensure the improved seismic performance of all new building construction.
The overall goal of TSBCIN is to build the disaster resilient communities in Nepal through technical support for Building Code implementation. It aims to support Building Code Implementation (BCI) through awareness, capacity building, institutionalization, and networking. This program focuses on improving Building Permit System, Building Code Implementation Mechanism, and Risk-based Planning and Implementation System, enhancing capacities of masons, contractors, engineers, municipal professionals on safer construction and raising awareness of communities for safer construction practices.
This program is being implemented in 30 municipalities covering all the 7 provinces of Nepal. It is being implemented under the overall guidance and directives of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC), Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD) and under the leadership of program municipalities.
TSBCIN adopted the four main strategic components to implement the program:
  1. Earthquake Awareness and Sensitization Programs – Awareness and sensitization programs for house owners, municipal staff, political/social leaders and other stakeholders through safety campaigns, mobile clinics, local radio campaign etc.
  2. Capacity Enhancement Programs – Training on safer construction practices for masons, contractors, engineers, municipal engineers, municipal staff, officials and elected representatives
  3. Program for Improving Institutional System – Consultation meetings and thematic workshops, development of local disaster risk management plans, earthquake loss estimation, risk-sensitive land use plan and mobile application
  4. Collaboration/Cooperation/Networking – Meetings, sharing workshops, joint research works, collaboration with local private organization, exchange portal, international sharing visits/conferences 
Accomplishments (until December 2018):
  1. 4755 persons made aware on earthquake resilient construction through community orientations.
  2. 721 persons served for improving institutional system.
  3. 1452 persons (masons, engineers, social/political leaders, municipal staff) enhanced the capacity on earthquake resilient construction.
  4. Assisted Vyas municipality to survey and map all buildings (20,040 buildings and 86,755 population) within the municipal area.
  5. Carried out collaboration and networking among all related stakeholders like municipalities, Ministry of Federal Affairs and general administration, local radios, students, volunteers, academia and engineering institutes for effective support for building code implementation.
  6. Conducted baseline surveys in 30 municipalities on status of municipalities in terms of institutional mechanisms and technical capacities for risk-based planning and enforcement of building code.
  7. Conducted baseline surveys in 30 municipalities on general perception of people and professionals towards disaster resilience and safer construction
  8. Carried out isk Perception Survey of the Mayors and Deputy Mayors
  9. Carried out baseline surveys on status of safer building construction practices in 30 municipalities
  10. Carried out Evaluation of Training Courses to engineers, media persons and municipal representatives
  11. Conducted Masons Retention Survey in 15 municipalities.

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