Daily site inspection is a key aspect of the technical assistance package that Build Change provides to homeowners in developing countries who have lost their homes in earthquakes. “As part of our monitoring, we’ve developed a checklist that site inspectors complete on a daily basis, to make sure contractors are following Build Change guidelines,” says Build Change founder and CEO, Dr. Elizabeth Hausler.
Sichuan, China was hard-hit by an earthquake in 2013. Most of the villagers’ homes were destroyed, and it took many over a year to break ground on their new houses.
Build Change also offered homeowners the option of having Build Change draw the layout for their new homes, a process that allows homeowners to articulate their preferences and needs for their new home, as well as ensuring that earthquake-resistant design aspects will be incorporated. Drawing layouts for homeowners further allows Build Change to estimate construction costs rapidly, which assists homeowners in budgeting for a house that meets their space requirements, as well as being earthquake-resistant and affordable.
In addition to checking the contractor’s concrete mix, Chen Ting inspects the house foundations already dug, measuring their depths to ensure that they’re deep enough and their perimeters to ensure that the contractor is adhering to the Build Change layouts selected by the homeowners. “I’ve never worked for a non-profit before,” said Chen Ting, “but I feel like at Build Change I have an opportunity to do good work and help people.”
Quick tip: “If a brick can withstand the weight of your body, it’s strong enough for a single story building.”
Chen Ting tested a brick from a batch, laying two bricks parallel to each other, almost a brick’s length apart, and then placing a third brick perpendicular to, and on top of, the other two. She then stands on the third brick, balancing on one foot. Chen Ting said, “if the brick can withstand the weight of your body, it’s strong enough for a single story building.”
“Of course, Build Change’s assistance is excellent,” said Xiao Qianghui, a villager whose house foundation was among those that Chen Ting measured. “We welcome their suggestions and help.”