The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is working very hard to repair some 90,000 earthquake damaged homes in the Port-a-Prince region of Haiti. They have spearheaded the effort to inspect the structures and to mark the good and to condemn the unrepairable. They have used many of the world’s top engineers to assist with the work and have trained Haitian engineers to provide some leadership in the construction methodology. It is this leadership that is really needed in Haiti, in order to see that reconstruction is completed safely.
Much of the repairs are focused on a neighborhood called Delmas 32 in Port-a-Prince. PADF produced a video presentation of their work in this area and shared it on their website. In this video presentation it only takes 1 minute and 30 seconds of video to demonstrate that the shovels are still mixing concrete in Haiti.
PADF suggests that they play a leadership and training role in rebuilding a stronger Haiti. They suggest that this is “because they follow the guidelines so we can be sure of the quality”. It is better quality that we are all hoping for in Haiti this time right? But we will not obtain better quality results if we accept and promote shovel mixing instead of better technology.
At 2-minutes and 40-seconds the images show work on forming the columns for a confined masonry wall. Many are suggesting that this is good engineering, and we agree. But then we watch the concrete used to fill those forms is coming from a shovel-mixed pile of material in the middle of the floor.
It seem to us that leadership in construction technology should also teach the use of better equipment and then provide the tools that will produce a consistent quality of concrete products. PADF and other leaders need to step-up and really lead on this issue. It is not enough to give a Haitian mason a book and some field experience. They need the right equipment to rebuild stronger than before. If we repeat the shovel mixing method then we must accept a repeat performance at the next quake. Do you think that this should be acceptable?
We hope that the leaders of redevelopment in Haiti mean the words “we don’t want to build the Port-a-Prince that existed on January 11th, we want to build a better Port-a-Prince”.