Changes in resource need for post-disaster reconstruction: a longitudinal study in China
Alice Chang-Richards, Suzanne Wilkinson, Erica Seville, Regan Potangaroa
Building Research & Information 40(3): 327-336 2012, DOI:10.1080/09613218.2012.684867
Following a major disaster, shortages of resources and the increased costs of building materials are likely to slow post-disaster reconstruction. To examine the resource needs for post-disaster housing reconstruction, a longitudinal study was conducted between 2008 and 2010 of the Wenchuan earthquake-impacted Mianzhu City in China. Cost escalation of the common materials of brick, cement, aggregate and steel shows the varying correlation between material requirements and the reconstruction progress. Based on in-field surveys and interviews, the underlying drivers that contributed to changes in the cost of these materials were identified. Findings suggest that apart from physical disaster impacts and urgency of housing reconstruction, other effects, such as legislative interventions and the economic environment, are primary factors in explaining changes in resource requirements. Cost changes for brick and aggregate were to a great extent influenced by local policies and mandates. In contrast, cost changes for non-localized materials such as cement and steel were largely dominated by broader economic effects and domestic strategies in China. To reduce potential resource cost fluctuations and their impacts on recovery, robust post-disaster reconstruction planning is needed and requires systematic mapping and monitoring of resource demands over the reconstruction period.