Saturday, January 29, 2011

Building Codes in Haiti

This came up in my email from the State Department, and then I also was talking to some people here about how there is a new "building code book" in Haiti. The book mentions requirements that buildings will have in order to ensure the structures are safe.

Now the question is... Will people follow them? I know we will at Espwa.

U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince issued the following Warden Message on January 28, 2011:

The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince is issuing this Warden Message to inform the U.S. citizen community in Haiti that it is difficult to verify if buildings here are constructed to U.S. or other international standards. Further, the resource capability of the Haitian Government to certify structural standards and to otherwise enforce particular building codes is very limited. Generally, the public must rely upon certifications by the builders and architects themselves, or third party engineering consultants.

Following the earthquake, the Department of State’s Overseas Building Office (OBO) performed limited visual inspections of certain private structures frequented by official and non-official Americans, to observe the condition of buildings following the earthquake and of any subsequent repairs undertaken by the owners. These visits were observational only and cannot be used to substitute for a formal structural evaluation process.

Neither the Embassy nor OBO has made an official determination that any school in Haiti meets or does not meet U.S. or international building standards. OBO is not able to make official determinations about the safety of foreign schools. In Haiti, as at other posts worldwide, OBO relies upon the owners of private structures, including schools, to certify the seismic and structural integrity of their buildings.

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