Research has shown that permanent re- construction following a natural disaster is often inefficiently managed, uncoordinated, slowly initiated and tend to overlook the long term requirements of the affected community. Under extreme conditions, long-term performance and the satisfaction and requirements of occupants are issues that are often overlooked by policy makers, practitioners, funding bodies, as well as housing recipients themselves. Whilst criticism is often levelled at government institutes, previous research shows that property-owners themselves tend to focus on immediate recovery and reinstatement, and overlook long-term requirements in their haste to re-instate properties as soon as possible.
Whist urgent action is a necessity during the aftermath of a disaster event requiring re-construction, adopting a long-term approach therein is a must to provide sustainable permanent housing provisions.
Revisiting post-disaster permanent housing schemes that have been occupied by the recipients beyond the short to medium-term can suggest valuable lessons for future practice. Lessons to be learned therein can shape how such housing provisions are planned, delivered and maintained in the future. Whilst a significant body of knowledge exists on project planning and delivery of post-disaster housing, how those projects perform in the long-term has received limited attention and remains under explored.
Addressing this niche research gap, a research collaboration between Aston University, University of Huddersfield, and the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) Sri Lanka investigates the long-term performance of post-disaster housing reconstruction projects. Post-disaster housing projects delivered and occupied by recipients for over 10 years will be investigated for their performance against key technical and socio-economic criteria.
The research is being conducted in the context of Sri Lanka where post-disaster housing is delivered on a regular basis due to the impacts of disaster events such as flooding, landslides, tropical cyclones, coastal erosion etc.
Long-term performance of post disaster housing is overlooked in disaster resilience literature as well as practice. The research will contribute to knowledge in this regard. The research will thus enable policy makers and practitioners to make better decisions when developing permanent housing solutions following a disaster. The lessons learnt will have a wider significance for post-disaster and post-conflict re-construction work in a global context. Although the research is undertaken for the context of Sri Lanka, the findings will be relevant to other countries where post-disaster housing reconstruction projects will be required following a disaster event.
Findings will have particular relevance to other South Asian countries; a region which consists of countries highly vulnerable to devastating natural disasters such as tsunamis, cyclones and flooding.
Guidance will be produced targeting key stakeholders involved in delivering post-disaster housing, enabling them to deliver lasting housing solutions.
The research is of practical relevance to the work of NBRO and the country’s ongoing post-conflict and post-disaster reconstruction efforts. NBRO will integrate the findings of the research into its ‘Hazard Resilient Housing Construction Manual’, thus directly influencing local post-disaster construction standards.
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