This handbook has been produced in the Collaborative Regional Research Project “Understanding the opportunities and challenges of compliance to safe building codes for disaster resilience in South Asia - the cases of Bangladesh and Nepal” supported by the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN). The project is led by the University of Newcastle, Australia, in partnership with Dhaka University and BRAC University in Bangladesh, and Tribhuvan University in Nepal. The world is continually being barraged by disasters, often with the most severe impacts in developing countries. Poor populations living in unregulated settlements in these countries are disproportionately harmed and their informally constructed houses tend to be highly vulnerable. Building and land use regulation can prove to be a remarkably powerful tool for increasing people’s safety and resilience and limiting the risk that they face. However, many of the building codes in developing countries have been adapted from developed countries, but having significantly lower resources and weaker governance, the codes prove difficult to implement in the local socio-economic conditions. It is therefore relevant to explore ways of achieving wider implementation of safe building codes, not only in the formal sector through regulatory enforcement, but also in the wider informal building activity through voluntary compliance.
To support this process, this ‘grey’ handbook has been produced, contextualised for the local context and achievable within the socio-economic constraints of developing countries. It includes a set of options to meet varying economic and environmental conditions and extensively uses visual material for ease of communication and comprehension. The handbook is targeted primarily for the informal building sector and is expected to support capacity building at the community level.