Comparison between routine construction and post-disaster reconstruction with case studies from New Zealand
Legislation that applies to routine construction provides for the safe development of infrastructure, capital improvements and land use, ensuring preservation and environmental protection, however there is often little provision in legislation to facilitate reconstruction projects. Much existing legislation was not drafted to cope with an emergency situation and was not developed to operate under the conditions that will inevitably prevail in the aftermath of a severe disaster. If well articulated and implemented, the regulations should not only provide an effective means of reducing and containing vulnerabilities disaster mitigation), but also a means of facilitating reconstruction projects. The purpose of this work is to examine how reconstruction differs from routine construction, focussing on the interrelated reconstruction challenges of allocation of responsibility for coordination, scarcity of resources and the application of legislation and regulations that were written for routine construction rather than post-disaster reconstruction. Case studies of reconstruction following recent small scale disasters in New Zealand are presented to support the points raised. Extrapolation of the main issues to larger scale disasters identifies some significant challenges which, if not addressed in advance, are likely to hinder the reconstruction process. The paper concludes that whilst routine construction processes have proved adequate for small-scale disasters, the greater degree of coordination required for programmes of reconstruction following a larger disaster has not been adequately addressed in policy and legislation.