45179_towardssaferschoolconstruction_0 (2015) - Page 80

Key considerations for the Community Design Stage Has the design team considered hazards that may not yet be represented accurately in building codes and available hazard maps? Building codes and hazard maps may not be up-to-date. It is important to complete a site investigation before designing a school. Community stakeholders can help identify local hazards and provide a qualitative assessment of their severity and frequency. Does the school design follow appropriate local and international building codes or guidelines for non-engineered structures? National or international building codes may not cover local materials and construction practices. Many good practices have been developed through trial and error with traditional materials. These have been documented in guidelines for non-engineered construction. Even template designs should be modified to suit the local site conditions. Does the design and configuration of the school buildings on the site take into account hazards? Safety Long and narrow school blocks, as well as those in L and T configurations, tend to be more heavily damaged in earthquakes. When buildings are placed too close together, they may also smash into one another, causing unnecessary damage. In floods, closely spaced blocks may channel water and increase soil erosion around building foundations. Careful layout of school blocks can reduce damage. Extreme temperatures can also be alleviated through careful design. Will the local community help set the performance objectives for design and understand the risks the design does not address? Some safer school designs may ensure the school will be “life safe” but heavily damaged in an anticipated hazard. Other safer school designs may reach higher standards, ensuring a performance objective of little or no damage in anticipated hazards. Communities should help determine the appropriate level of safety a school design will achieve. All should understand what damages may still occur and what risk the safer school design is unable to mitigate. Will non-structural building components be secured to avoid po sing a threat to occupants? Design of non-structural components like parapet walls, veneers, partition walls and railing guards are usually not part of formal structural design. Earthquakes and strong winds can knock these components down unless they are properly secured. SECTION III: DESIGN Do stakeholders understand the cost-effective strategies for safe designs of school buildings? Capacity building Community members may turn hazard-resistant construction down, thinking of it as costly and complex. Design teams can help communities understand that hazard-resistant construction means using materials effectively. Rather than pouring resources into large walls and foundations, simple changes like a higher portion of cement in concrete or shear ties with hooked ends can be more effective. Does the local community understand design elements used to create hazard resistance? Communities in remote regions or in informal urban settlements may design buildings through informal discussions with master builders. Sometimes there can be a distrust of engineers. However, they will need to understand the value of formal engineering design and be able to ask questions about materials, dimensions or construction techniques with which they have little familiarity. Will communities be able to make decisions about school design and layout that do not affect structural safety, both now and in the future? Transparency and sustainability Some design choices are limited to ensure school safety. Other design choices are a matter of aesthetics and preference. Communities should have full responsibility for making design choices that do not affect safety, such as the material for doors and windows, paint and wall finishings. They should also make some decisions about the school block layout. In the future, communities may want to expand or modify the school. These changes should be accounted for in the design and site layout. Will communities be able to replicate the materials and construction techniques proposed in housing and small-scale commercial construction? When techniques used in safer school construction are transferable to housing and commercialsector construction, the safe school program can serve as a community learning opportunity. Local tradespeople should be consulted about the constructability of the design and the transferability of the construction techniques. New techniques, when coupled with risk awareness and training, are likely to be replicated, greatly extending the long-term impact of the program. 71