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aggrey commented on Build the Builders

Further more to my earlier comments I would like to add that this is a complex problem which requires holistic approach to tackle the problems at local, regional and Government levels. Locally, populations should document their experiences with the changing climate, particularly extreme weather events, in many different ways, and this self-generated knowledge can uncover existing capacity within the community and important current shortcomings. Measures should then include early warning systems; risk communication between decision makers and local citizens; sustainable land management, including land use planning; and ecosystem management and restoration. This should be supported by improvements to health surveillance, water supply, sanitation, and irrigation and drainage systems; climate-proofing of infrastructure; development and enforcement of building codes; and better education and awareness. Meanwhile Governments must also put in place appropriate national institutional and legal frameworks, policy, and planning as a beacon to guide its citizens. Government can then link local risk management practices and Technology transfer and cooperation to advance disaster risk reduction and climate change. Furthermore Integration of local knowledge with additional scientific and technical knowledge can improve disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation taken at regional and international levels. Experiences from other parts of the world with similar problems will result in appropriate choice of materials, sharing of skills and building acceptable structures that can withstand the hazards. Once we have theses resources we can then build a pool of expertise and depository of knowledge which can be used simultaneously in different parts of the world or rotationally to avoid mistakes of previous usages and enhance good practices to be deployed in the new regions. However it is also vital that as this exercise takes place we should not loose sight of registering appropriate local materials that can be used exclusively in that region and the ones that can be transported to the other regions with the possibility of mutual exchange between the participating partners in the cooperation. This can be North South cooperation or cooperation between developing countries. Lastly but not least I cannot overemphasize the need for transfer of techniques and sharing of proven tools which are normally not easily available in the affected areas.

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aggrey commented on Build the Builders

I have a young company that is actively engaged in trying to alleviate the problems highlighted in the building industry right across the spectrum of East Africa. Damp has featured as a very dangerous problem which is a result of poor construction practices or complete negligence of the requirements to use suitable materials and apply them correctly. My observation is that because of the rapid urbanisation the demand for shelter outstrips the available accommodation. The end result is that very many buildings are mushrooming without proper stringent regulations being adhered to. In case of Damp this is something which is always re surfacing some three to five years when the construction has already been completed. The major problem is the diagnosis of the problems which almost always require invasive survey something which the building owners would accept as a last resort because this means more costs having spent already money in putting up a structure. Most if not all the surveyors are not trained to assess and diagnose buildings. The general training given in East Africa is for building costs evaluation and conveyancing rather than structural defects in the buildings. This makes it critical to import knowledge on know how to train the surveyors and teach the artisans good building practices using suitable materials properly regulated and requiring legislation and government appointed bodies who can be transparent , free of corruption and remain accountable to appropriate authorities to achieve acceptable construction to withstand the elements