Literature Review The Application of Construction Industry Knowledge
The literature review revolves around three focused areas of research, disaster, knowledge in the post disaster context and the reconstruction process. The aim of the study is to achieve an understanding of how the reconstruction process is effectively dealt with in affected disaster regions, focusing on the deficiencies in the reconstruction practice and where the construction industry can be employed to offer their knowledge and expertise. It is conducted as a critical assessment of the works of others classified as secondary data.
The study will examine how the application of construction industry knowledge in post disaster reconstruction could benefit the post disaster reconstruction process and the areas in which construction expertise can be utilised. Within the subject area of disaster management which follows disasters, different elements include: crisis management, contingency management, emergency management, disaster recovery management and business continuity management. (Lakha & Moore, 2004). This research will focus on disaster recovery- post disaster reconstruction. Construction industry knowledge and expertise in the built environment can prove to be very applicable in a disaster hit region.
A review of existing research studies has been utilised. For the purpose of this research electronic journal data bases were the main source for identifying studies, along with conference proceedings from the events of major built environment and disaster related networks. The full papers were downloaded from the databases or directly viewed from the web site of the publisher.
Following major disasters a coordinated and structured approach is necessary to manage environmentally sound reconstruction and rehabilitation programme in order to avoid waste of valuable resources through inefficiencies, corruption, duplication and misuse.
What is a Disaster?
A disaster is something that disrupts the normal functioning of a system or community and therefore severely affects people, infrastructure and the environment. (Pan America Health Organisation, 2010) It can be either the result of nature, such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes or manmade like war, terrorist attack or an accident.
Disasters, both natural and manmade, have been occurring with increasing frequency and effect in recent decades in many countries around the world. They have had a disproportionately heavy toll on developing countries both in terms of loss of lives and damage to property. Since the year 2000 there has been a series of disasters that have struck the world. These include the terrorists events in America (2001) the Bam earthquake in Iran (2003) the Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004) Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (2005) the earthquake in Haiti (2010) and currently the floods in Pakistan (2010) to name but a few.
The term disaster refers to the impact of different physical, social, economic, political and complex hazards on vulnerable communities. A disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources (UNISDR, 2004)
The term disaster is further defined by UNISDR, (2006) “as a situation or event, which overwhelms local capacity, necessitating a request to national or international level for external assistance” it can be classified as an unforeseen and often sudden event that causes great damage, destruction and human suffering. For a disaster to be entered into the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) database, at least one of the following criteria must be fulfilled:
10 or more people reported killed
100 people reported affected
Declaration of a state of emergency
Call for international assistance (ISDR, 2006)
XXXXXXThe need to take action to effectively manage disasters has been highlighted at many major international conferences and measures are underway in many countries and at the international level.
Disasters have the ability to disrupt economic growth and reduce the possibility of a person’s ability to emerge from poverty. The built environment offers a sense of security and has protective characteristics which reduce the risks imposed by hazards. Unless this built environment is capable of protecting the community it places the people in that community in a very vulnerable position.
Naturally occurring hazards have caused devastating losses to communities around the world. They demonstrate the far reaching impact of geo and hydro-meteorological hazards when they come in contact with vulnerable populations, such as communities within the developing world. (Haigh & Amaratunga, 2010). It should be noted that many scholars have expressed that disasters are always manmade, and there is actually no natural disasters, rather we have natural hazards that can turn into disasters when combined with human input (Paton & Johnston, 2006) (Oliver-Smith & Hoffman, 2002)
The degree to which such disasters can be considered natural has long been challenged. O’Keefe et al (1976) identified the cause of the observed increase in disasters as “the growing vulnerability of the population to extreme physical events” and not changes in the nature. (O'Keefe, Westgate, & Wisner, 1976)
However in 2009 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen, it was recognised that disasters were on the increase and this was strongly contributed to by the constantly changing climate. At the conference it was expressed that there are growing concerns over the threats posed by climatological hazards such as extreme temperatures, drought and wild fires and the multifaceted threats associated with the rising sea levels. (Haigh & Amaratunga, 2010).
Disasters occur throughout the world with varying effects on the regions that they occur. As mentioned previously it has been well documented that disasters have a disproportionately heavy toll on developing countries both in terms of loss of life and damage to property. Developing countries are less able to cope with the effects of such disasters. (Ofori, 2004) Their infrastructure and built environment is less able to withstand the effects of disaster when compared with similar disasters in the developed world. Disasters therefore have a larger impact on the built environments of developing countries than industrialised ones. A clear example is provided by Keraminiyage et al, (2007), an earthquake which hit California in 2003 which measured 6.5 on the Richter scale killed two people and injured forty people whereas an earthquake that hit Iran four days later with a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale killed at least 26,000 people. Obviously there are certain factors to take into account such as population density as both earthquakes took place in areas of high population density but there is a vast difference in the damage and loss of live between both earthquakes. Keraminiyage et al, (2007) also note that developing countries experience higher levels of mortality during a disaster.  They generally require longer periods to recover from disasters. Even though these developing countries receive huge financial aid from developed countries and other humanitarian support from the international community it still seems to take a considerable amount of time to obtain the basic quality of life back. It appears that the frequency and impact of disasters is greater in developing countries. These are nations that tend to be repeatedly affected by various types of disasters and as a result must reconstruct appropriate structures that can survive repeated events or at least reduce the impact on the built environment.
A problem has been identified in much literature as there is a huge lack of coordination and planning for a successful long term disaster recovery programme. (Ofori, 2004) This has been reiterated by Ofori (2004), who states disasters, both natural and human made, cannot be prevented, the most effective action is in providing the constructed items with features which can limit the damage from the occurrence of disasters. Ofori, (2004) also acknowledges that there is to be some commercial merit in some construction organisations developing a rapid response capability in order to attend to post disaster reconstruction in developing countries. This suggests that there is a market or niche for construction sector to tap into and become a vital part of the reconstruction process in the post disaster situation. 
Disaster Management Cycle
There are four different phases of the Disaster Management Cycle (DMC) according to (Warfield, 2007). These phases are:
Preparedness: Preparing and planning how to respond.
Response: Minimising the hazards created by the disaster.
Recovery: The work of turning the society back to normal again.
Mitigation: To minimise the effects of the disaster.
The initial stage, preparedness, is where all the planning for disaster should take place. When a disaster unexpectedly strikes all the plans need to be in place. The response should preferably start as soon as possible after the disaster occurred. The second phase, response, is followed by recovery which is the work of rebuilding the society to a living standard which hopefully will be at least the standard previous to the disaster. The main aim is to “build back better” than what was there prior to the occurrence of the disaster. Mitigation follows the recovery phase and aims to minimise the effects of the disaster. The Disaster Management Cycle as the RICS, (2009) (see Figure 1) is an ongoing process which feeds experiences into the work in order to learn from successful and less successful experiences. Reconstruction and development must be linked.
Figure 1: The risk management and response spiral (Source: RICS, 2009)
Post Disaster Reconstruction and the Deficiencies in the Process
Post disaster reconstruction is a challenge for the country involved in the disaster. It is described as a complex and extremely difficult situation for a county to be in. In the most extreme cases, some if not all of the countries resources have being wiped out and they must seek help and assistance from neighbouring and international communities. Rotimi et al (2006) describes the task of reconstruction after a major disaster to be an onerous challenge. They stress the importance of coordinating all stake holders for effective and efficient recovery of an affected region. (Rotimi, Le Masurier, & Wilkinson, 2006). Twigg, (2002) states that we should not forget that housing provision is a complex and difficult problem, particularly in the chaos and suffering that follow disasters. It requires multi-sectoral involvement, very significant resources and a wide range of skills. (Silva, 2010) Toigo (1989) highlight the importance of reconstruction planning and the benefit gained through accumulation of knowledge and experience collected from successive events and research into the area. Likewise, Haigh et al (2006) indicates that it is a significant area for further research with particular attention necessary in developing countries where they are less capable of dealing with causes and impact of disasters. (Haigh, Amaratunga, & Kerimanginaye, 2006). Many authors have highlighted the complexity of post disaster reconstruction which involves huge risks and uncertainty.
Many problems have been encountered in the reconstruction process and these have been identified by many authors who have carried out research in the area. These problems occurred due to lack of experience in the reconstruction process and poor leadership (Athulathmudali, Karunasena, & Haigh, ????). These areas have the potential to be addressed by incorporating practitioners from the construction industry who are highly skilled and experienced in the construction process. Some of the problems that have been identified include a lack of coordination for maximum use of aid funds and a lack of transparency (Athulathmudali, Karunasena, & Haigh, ????). The lack of clarity regarding duties and functions of many actors created confusion and delays in the tsunami recovery process (Studies, 2006)???? The report further says that the absence of a coherent structure caused problems in coordinating and ensuring that aid reached people in an efficient and effective manner, to avoid duplication. It emerged that these issues arose due to poor leadership qualities shown by the various authorities which in turn adversely affected the reconstruction efforts post tsunami.
Leadership is highlighted by Athulathmudali et al (200??) when they state that leadership would appear to be vital for the success of post disaster reconstruction programme. Elsewhere, the lack of inter-connectedness in practice is highlighted by Warren and Matthews (2008) (Warren & Matthews, 2008) citing the findings of a report commissioned by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which concluded that the effectiveness of medium term recovery and long term reconstruction is constrained by the lack of planning, co-ordinated management and targeted funding of the response in the post disaster recovery phase. (Lloyd-Jones T. , 2006)
Communication has also been identified by many authors as an essential building block to sustainable development. (Jha, Barenstein, Phelps, Pittet, & Sena, 2010) Jha et al (2010) believe that good communication is the foundation for acceptance, sustainability, and mutual understanding when rebuilding people’s lives. Jha et al (2010) also state that it is imperative that the lead communications agency should confer with key stakeholders and the local private communications sector to agree on the role of the community, local governments, NGOs, and the private sector in defining and implementing the communications strategy. This can lead to major problems in the reconstruction efforts where project teams believe that they know what the affected population wants without asking, and design reconstruction projects that do not appeal to the affected population. This could be averted by engaging the population on a practical level so that their views are expressed and met appropriately from both perspectives.
An example of where reconstruction efforts have proved to be slow and non-existent is in the case of the earthquake that hit Latur, India in September 1993, where at least 80,000 people lost their lives and 230,000 houses were seriously damaged or collapsed and where still about 30,000 affected families had to stay in temporary houses for 4 years after the earthquake. (MERDP, 1998). This is unacceptable and the situation has to be improved so that a more efficient and rapid reconstruction process is employed so that temporary does not result in semi permanent or even permanent in some cases. Ghafory-Ashtiany, (1999) believe that temporary units may be acceptable for short periods, in good weather conditions and in urban areas, but cannot fulfil people’s need for sustained accommodation. (Ghafory-Ashtiany, 1999)
Recent events such as the Indian Ocean tsunami, hurricane Katrina and Pakistan-Kashmir earthquake revealed both a lack of preparedness and a delay in commencing reconstruction were contributory factors to the failed reconstruction efforts. Tens of thousands of people were still living in temporary shelters more than one year on. (Lloyd-Jones T. , 2006) It has be acknowledged that once the immediate aftermath in humanitarian relief has been completed and media presence disappears, it seems, interest in disasters weakens. Lloyd-Jones (2006) appreciates that, there appears to be an alarming ‘gap’ between humanitarian aid and long-term reconstruction. Fleming et al (2009) cites Auf der Heide, (1989) (Auf der Heide, 1989) by stating that the large number of international aid organisations which includes governments, the United Nations (UN), World Bank, and NGOs should distribute tasks and resources so that there is a clear definition of responsibility. Currently, this is not the case and it is an area that is worth considering to improve disaster relief and reconstruction efforts. Silva, (2010) describes that reconstruction plays a wider role in early recovery and the need for an integrated, coordinated and multi-sectoral approach.
Deficiencies in the Reconstruction Practice
According to Haigh et al (2006) a lack of effective information and knowledge dissemination can be identified as one of the major reasons behind the unsatisfactory performance levels of current disaster management practices. This is one of the reasons behind the undertaking of this research. The aim is to find an improved way in which knowledge from the construction industry can be disseminated to the relevant authorities to improve the overall post disaster reconstruction process.
It was discovered by Twigg, (2002) that most post-disaster housing reconstruction projects were agency driven and have a narrow technical approach (Twigg, 2002). It has been stated by a number of authors that the reconstruction process is complex and fragmented. While aid agencies aim is to provide immediate relief to the disaster region, the reconstruction process is said to beyond the capacity of relief workers, for it requires a much longer-term commitment, especially where damage to housing is extensive. (Twigg, 2002)
Confusion over boundaries, shortage of labour, legal rights, investment strategies, access to funds, organisa5on of rebuilding agencies and so forth can be extremely challenging. (Fleming, Lee, & Kagioglou, 2009)
Lack of funding for the reconstruction over relief operations is another issue in the deficiencies in reconstruction process. (RICS, 2006, Koria, 2009)
In a review undertaken by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) it was noted that governments and humanitarian agencies do not have the capability to deal with the long term challenges of reconstructing the permanent built environment of the disaster hit area. It requires a “vast broad range of specialists” skills and funding which exceeds their mandate. (Lloyd-Jones T. , 2006). Koria, (2009) also notes that in a post disaster situation there is a lack of appropriate technical and managerial expertise and knowledge of participants. This is clear evidence that there is an opportunity for construction professionals to help in the reconstruction efforts of many regions that are suffering from a disaster. Bosher et al (2007) makes reference specifically to the pre-construction phase as the most critical phase for integrating disaster risk management measures and it at this phase where designers, civil engineers, structural engineers, specialist contractors and consultants should be involved.
It has become apparent to the author while reviewing literature that countries hit by disasters will rely on construction companies within their own country to rebuild the region affected. This can be seen as a problem as unless the building methods are regulated to ensure quality is maintained, the result of a reoccurrence of a disaster could prove again in loss of life and damage to property. These must be followed strictly by the local builders otherwise there is little purpose in the reconstruction process.
Construction Industry/ Built Environment Contribution to Disasters
The need for the construction industry to become involved!!
Disaster recovery presents an opportunity to improve the situation and make it better than it was before. Built environment professionals are needed to achieve this aim according to Lloyd-jones, (2006). There is strong evidence that suggests that the construction sector or built environment has invaluable expertise and a key role to play in the development of society’s resilience to disasters. (Haigh & Amaratunga, 2010). Humanitarian agencies require a global vision with an agreed shared response. (Amin & Goldstein, 2008) There is a evident gap between emergency relief and long term recovery. The effectiveness of long-term reconstruction is currently constrained by the lack of planning, co-ordinated management and targeted funding (Lloyd-Jones T. , 2006). Additionally, “stable and secure post-disaster recovery is threatened by institutional constraints, gaps in communication, lack of access to professional skills and knowledge to support local effort” (Lloyd-Jones T. , 2006). Development and strengthening of institutions, mechanisms and capacities at all levels is necessary. (ISDR, 2005)
The built environment is described by Bartuska, (2007) as everything humanly created, modified, or constructed, humanly made arranged or maintained. (Bartuska, 2007). Bartuska (2007) also mentions that it is created to help us deal with, and to protect us from, the overall environment, to mediate or change this environment for our well being and comfort. Every element in the built environment is defined and shaped by context each having a positive or negative effect on the environment in which we exist. The built environment plays a vital role in serving human endeavours meaning that when elements of it are damaged or destroyed, the ability for society to function both economically and socially is severely disrupted. The built environment refers to human settlements, buildings and infrastructure.
The built environment sector includes the commercial property and construction industries and its professions. Lloyd-Jones et al (2009) elaborates that the term “build environment professionals” is concerned with practitioners primarily involved with providing technical support services in design, planning, project management and implementation. This also includes technical investigations, monitoring and evaluation studies. Architects, engineers, planners, project managers and surveyors can all be classified as built environment professionals.
Haigh & Amaratunga, (2010) describe the built environment as an attempt to describe in one holistic and integrated concept, the results of human activities. The collaborative definition of the built environment envelops a range of occupations which include design planning, construction and maintenance.
With regard to the contribution that the built environment can make to a disaster, it has been discovered by various authors that this can be quiet significant. The diverse range of technologies and systems that are in place in the construction industry can all play a critical role in the post disaster reconstruction efforts.
It has been cited throughout the literature reviewed that the construction industry or built environment can become involved at three distinct stages of the disaster management process. These have been identified by Haigh and Amaratunga (2010) as pre-disaster, disaster and post disaster. For the purpose of this study the author will concentrate on the post disaster stage as this is where the reconstruction process takes place.
The construction industry can have a huge input into the reconstruction process in disaster stricken regions but construction industry integration within disaster management has been largely overlooked in the past (Spence & Kelman, 2004). But recently there has been a move towards construction professionals being incorporated into the disaster management arrangement through their involvement with NGOs and research teams. Pheng et al (2006) strongly believes that poor quality construction is a major reason for higher proportion of destruction and deaths in developing countries. This could be contributed to by lax building codes, weak enforcement of construction standards and corrupt professional practices. This indicates that laws relating to these areas should be strengthened and enforced. Fleming et al (2009) addresses this matter by stating that an integrated construction approach for improved reconstruction can only be achieved through the engagement of construction professionals to address issues of design, construction, contractual transparency, coordination and communication. There is evidence in the literature that researchers believe that the construction industry has a much broader role to anticipate, assess, prevent, prepare respond and recover from the disruptive challenges that disasters pose to communities. (Haigh et al, 2006, UNISDR, 2004, Keraminiyage et al 2007)
In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, various construction technologies can be utilised by experienced professionals for mapping and surveying the affected area. Building information modelling has been shown to have great potential in assisting search and rescue efforts (Isikdaga et al, 2008; Aziz et al., 2009) (Aziz, Pena-Mora, Chen, & Lantz, 2009) (Isikdaga, Underwood, & Aouad, 2008). According to Haigh & Amaratunga, (2010) built environment disciplines are well placed to inform decision making and develop appropriate solutions for displaced persons and evacuees. They also state that restoration of essential services and carrying out temporary repairs will all benefit from a professional input.
Similarly (Lizarralde and Boucher, 2004; Jigyasu, 2002; Jigyasu, 2004 Young, 2004) all acknowledge that construction is typically engaged in a range of critical activities such as restoration of public services which include hospitals, schools, water, power supply, communications and environmental infrastructure. (Lizarralde & Boucher, 2004) (Jigyasu, 2002) (Jigyasu R. , 2004) (Young, 2002). Post disaster regions are often required to increase their capacity for reconstruction which leads to a demand for more experienced and skilled resources to manage projects. As a result of the disaster, the region may be lacking in this expertise, maybe as a result of the huge death toll inflicted on the region as a result of the disaster. This means that they have to seek this expertise from elsewhere. Rex, (2006), states that smaller developing countries may not have people with large scale time critical management experience and ex-patriots with these skills frequently do not have the adequate experience to understand the environment. (Rex, 2006). Although this suggest that assistance should be sought from outside the country affected, Pardasani, (2006) states the importance of local participation in reconstruction activities is also imperative. (Pardasani, 2006). This would involve stakeholder management which is seen as a key element in the built environment sector. Ginige et al (2009) also mentions the need to involve and empower vulnerable groups throughout the reconstruction process. (Ginige, Amaratunga, & Haigh, 2009). Areas where agencies decide to reconstruct communities without consultation with the local people have proved to be a failure, as the new houses are not what the locals require and are inappropriate. Twigg, (2002) made reference to where disaster victims are given a voice in re-housing plans, they do highlight livelihood related features that are invisible to agency planners. Again this can be classified as stakeholder management, taking into consideration what the actual needs are of the people who are affected by the disaster. Twigg, (2002) also notes that nowadays, the managers of most reconstruction projects claim that their projects are participatory, but there is usually an element of agency propaganda in this, and the extent and nature of such participation are often hotly disputed. Local participatory engagement in the reconstruction process also serves as a training platform, and is particularly apt if those affected cannot return to their original livelihoods which have been destroyed as a result of the disaster.
From the above there is clear evidence that the built environment can provide support and enhance the reconstruction efforts in post disaster situation. According to Barenstein and Pittet (2007), one of the most visible consequences of many disasters is the widespread devastation of houses. Houses need to be reinstated so that the inhabitants can rebuild a quality of life again. As per Barenstein and Pittet (2007), post disaster housing reconstruction is considered by many experts as one of the least successful sectors in terms of implementation. (Barenstein & Pittet, 2007). There are a number of reasons for this and they will be discussed in the deficiencies in reconstruction practice section.
For the private construction sector to become involved in the reconstruction process there are a number of avenues that could be researched more. Twigg, (2002) has recognised that the main concern of the private construction sector is the bottom line profitability. Nevertheless, corporate social responsibility also plays a major role and this has been identified by Johnston et al (2005) (Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, 2005) as the ways in which an organisation exceeds the minimum obligations to stakeholders. The ultimate aim of corporate social responsibility is to benefit the business concerned. The author anticipates that this motive may encourage the construction industry sector to become more involved in post disaster reconstruction process.
Partnerships between the private construction sector and humanitarian agencies are also a possible initiative to be investigated further. Although businesses focus on economic growth and profit, while humanitarian agencies work to promote peace, security, reduce poverty and ensure human rights, there is evidence to suggest that both organisations need each other. The work of the United Nations can be viewed as seeking to create an enabling environment within which business can grow and develop. A partnership with a business can bring much needed expertise that the other doesn’t have. Partner selection should be based on a match between identified gaps, skills and capacities on offer and the ability of the agency to manage that partnership. (Binder & Witte, 2007). Construction professionals have invaluable expertise and a key role to play (Lloyd-Jones T. , 2006). Humanitarian agencies have decades of experience working at the coal face of disasters and in long term initiatives. It is important to ensure that there are sufficient trained personnel in appropriate institutions (Amin & Goldstein, 2008). From the authors initial research this has not proved to be the case. Silva (2010) states that it is unlikely that a single agency will be able to deliver all aspects of a transitional settlement or reconstruction programme themselves. This further suggests that collaborating with a partner may be an appropriate approach to a reconstruction process. From the authors initial research this has not proved to be the case.
Other efforts by Enhanced Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA) are attempting to enhance humanitarian agencies ability to deliver shelter and reconstruction projects properly. They identify a critical need for a strong shelter community and knowledge sharing, a need for project manager with the correct skills and attributes “frequently either project managers are engaged with little or no construction experience or, vice versa, construction professionals are engaged with little or no humanitarian expertise” (ELHRA, 2009) They also recognise that frequently reconstructed houses are often built in large numbers with little attention to the fundamentals of social dynamics, good design, sound engineering and good construction practice. They also identify the current rise in natural disasters and the necessity to put in place measures that are easily understood and can be reproduced by the local community to reduce the risk of natural disasters.
Knowledge Transfer and Types of Knowledge
Knowledge has been seen as essential to the process of information sharing throughout the post disaster situation. Knowledge management has been noted by Seneviratne et al (2010) as a process that can play a vital role through ensuring the availability and accessibility of accurate and reliable disaster risk information when required and through effective lesson learning. (Seneviratne, Amaratunga, Haigh, & Pathirage, 2010). They acknowledge that although knowledge management can enhance the process of disaster management, there is a perceived gap in coordination and sharing within the context of disaster management. This is further evidence of the importance of this research. Warfield, (2007) states that the disaster management efforts aim to reduce or avoid the potential losses from hazards, assuring prompt and appropriate assistance to victims of disaster and achieve rapid and effective recovery.
Knowledge can be defined as “the fact or condition of knowing something with a considerable degree of familiarity through experience, association or contact” (Mohanty, Panda, Karelia, & Issar, 2004) Three forms of knowledge have been identified. These are explicit, tacit and implicit. Explicit knowledge is that which is stated in detail and is termed as codified or formal knowledge. Tacit knowledge is what is understood, implied and exists without being stated. It is enclosed in the human brain, and only that human has the power to make it available to others. Implicit knowledge is that which could be expressed, but has not been. Aforementioned, knowledge on disaster management strategies appears disjointed, emphasising an apparent gap in information coordination and sharing. This is reiterated by Mohanty et al (2004) when they state that knowledge in disaster management situations is fragmented and there is a perceived gap in information between coordinating and administration. Knowledge management is all about getting the right knowledge and information in the right place at the right time. In the disaster context knowledge management is about applying the collective knowledge of the entire workforce to achieve specific organisational goals. The collaborative efforts of specific disciplines that aim to enhance the reconstruction process of a post disaster situation must understand that the knowledge sharing exercise is about facilitating the process by which knowledge is created, shared and utilised.
Knowledge on disaster management strategies together with good practices and lessons learned can certainly support the effort through well informed mitigation methods and preparedness planning. This is supported by the RICS, (2009) when they emphasise that feeding back information and knowledge to inform the disaster management process of how to reduce the risk of disasters in improve resilience of vulnerable nations is imperative. (RICS, 2009)
Seneviratne et al (2010) suggest that members in a disaster management situation should improve their skills and increase their level of knowledge. To achieve this Moe et al (2007) believe that it is necessary to invest in systems databases and network structures so as to build a culture of learning and generate a knowledge base where lessons can be learned from previous experiences and the most appropriate solution can be utilised for a certain situation. (Moe, Gehbauer, Sentz, & Mueller, 2007) This could be an initiative for storing and sharing information.
Knowledge is really important in a disaster situation. Especially in the post disaster stage where information is vital for the process to move swiftly and efficiently so that reconstruction functions correctly. Kaklauskas et al (2009) indicates that the lack of knowledge management was apparent in the tsunami disaster that affected a number of countries in Asia. They highlight the lack of effective information, knowledge sharing and knowledge creation on disaster management strategies can be identified as one of the major reasons behind the unsatisfactory performance of current disaster management practices.
The benefits of knowledge transfer from the construction industry can have a profound effect on how the post disaster reconstruction process. Seneviratne et al (2010) state that participant’s lack of skills and knowledge in disaster risk management initiatives as a major issue of reconstruction. Aforementioned the reconstruction process is complex and fragmented. Koria, (2009) states that managing complex, large and demanding type projects need adequate and experienced staff, which is found to be lacking in disaster reconstruction projects. (Koria, 2009) This in turn leads to unsuccessful delivery of the project. It has been suggested that collaborating with international partners is a possible solution to achieving the necessary competencies. This is further evidence that forming partnerships with experienced practitioners and leading bodies in the construction industry could possibly lead to an improved reconstruction process. Benefits of knowledge management
Current Support from Construction Industry to NGOs
As seen above there are many problems and deficiencies that can arise during the post disaster reconstruction process. Among these problems to be faced is the fact that knowledge is arriving in a random manner, resources are scattered, governments are ill-prepared and expertise is scarce. (Fleming, Lee, & Kagioglou, 2009) It is important to understand that knowledge is crucial for the next step to be taken. It should be clear and concise and must be used in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
From the autors extensive research it has been found that there is some collaboration between the construction industry and NGOs. The Institution of Engineers of Ireland (IEI) has initiated a Protocol Agreement set in which they acknowledge the fact that the engineering profession plays a crucial role in sustainable social and economic growth. The IEI have agreed a protocol agreement with a number of engineers on the voluntary provision of a range of services to engineers working for NGOs both in Ireland and abroad. The aim is to use its member’s expertise and influence to contribute to development and improvement of living conditions in the developing world. This has been identified as an attempt to engage in post disaster reconstruction.
According to Binder and Witte, (2007), corporate support to humanitarian agency efforts has been steadily increasing. This would indicate that there is an emerging trend for private construction sector to become more involved in the reconstruction process. These collaborations can be classified as charitable, strategic, commercial and political. Charitable collaborations would be seen as a philanthropic arrangement where they (construction private sector) would facilitate the delivery of humanitarian agencies services. Strategic collaborations realise exclusive benefits for the firm while advancing social welfare through the activities of the humanitarian agencies. Commercial collaboration increase revenues for both bodies and political collaboration would seek to reproduce of change the institutional arrangement (Powell & Steinberg, 2006)
It can be said that many companies recognise that becoming involved in the management and implementation of humanitarian work can be difficult and risky, as aforementioned Rotimi et al (2006). Companies may see this as an opportunity to build a relationship with a established humanitarian agency in order to enhance their public standing and hope to gain more business in the future from doing so. For a humanitarian agency, the decision to engage in reconstruction needs to be taken mindful of the complexities and must recognise the need for expert advice (Silva, 2010).
Understanding the local context in terms of geography, society, economics, politics, climate and hazards is a key consideration in developing an appropriate strategy for recovery and reconstruction. (Silva, 2010) An effective institutional and policy framework is key to delivering transitional settlement and reconstruction programmes and projects.
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