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Fundamental Elements to Achieve Change in Non-Engineered Construction Practice

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Current evidence suggests that there is a widespread resistance of communities to the application of seismic codes to their non-engineered buildings. An example can be seen when a severe ground shaking hit Yogyakarta and Central Java, Indonesia on 27 May 2006, and left over 156,000 private houses, mostly low-rise non-engineered houses, completely collapsed. The implementation of seismic codes requires a thorough understanding of non-engineered construction practice because flawed construction practices often lie at the heart of their implementation. This paper highlights some fundamental elements to achieve change in this situation, based on data collection in Indonesia. The present research found that the reasons for the extensive inadequate non-engineered construction practice leading to poor seismic resistance of non-engineered buildings encompass social, cultural, and politic influences, and not simply in terms of failing of construction practices. In this matter, there are three guiding principles of sustainable and effective dissemination of seismic codes to achieve change in non-engineered construction practices: (1) the government should act as a proactive backbone of dissemination initiative, (2) dissemination mechanisms should use the existing social bond and/or indigenous methods, and (3) the dissemination message should convince the community that the implementation of codes is easily achievable under their control. A successful implementation of seismic codes through changing non-engineered construction practice can be achieved by government in the first line, followed by the involvement of many technical and non-technical actors, such as researchers, scientists, contractors, educators, and others.


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