Charities seek CIOB members to help with Haiti recovery
CIOB members looking for an opportunity to take part in Haiti’s reconstruction effort are being urged to contact charity Article 25, which has thousands of positions available for experienced construction managers, writes Stephen Cousins.
The UK-based charity, which designs and delivers buildings and structures for the world’s neediest communities, urgently requires site managers, project managers, engineers and foremen to work on up to 100 construction projects due to be rolled out before the end of this year.
Eight new schools in Haiti are due to go on site this month, followed by eight more next month. Looking forward, Article 25 is planning hospitals, communications facilities, housing, clinics and highway centres as part of a 5-to-10-year rebuilding programme.
“Construction managers, and particularly CIOB members, are vital to the reconstruction effort to ensure projects are run efficiently and are built to the highest standards,” said Robin Cross, director of projects at Article 25. “We’re looking for managers with direct experience of working on site who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Experience of humanitarian work is also an advantage.”
Both voluntary and salaried positions will be on offer, with a stipend or salary based on the individual’s experience. One of the charity’s fundamental goals is to build to strict building codes, which were previously ignored in the country. “We have extensive experience of carrying out earthquake reconstruction in many countries, so our knowledge base will be transferred to Haiti,” said Cross.
Disaster relief charity RedR is also seeking UK-based CIOB members with experience of post-earthquake reconstruction or damage assessment to join its technical support service.
This free online service allows aid workers in Haiti to submit technical queries relating to construction, shelter, logistics, water and sanitation, to be answered by a panel of technical experts. To apply to join the panel contact [email protected].
RedR also operates a recruitment service, which places engineers and construction workers with experience of working overseas and knowledge of humanitarian programmes, in specialist positions at charities or NGOs working in Haiti. To join, CIOB members must first register for RedR membership via the website, www.redr.org.uk.
A third charity, Build Aid UK, is planning a fact-finding mission to Haiti this month. The charity is also seeking donations, which will go towards a new training programme for local and international aid workers responding to the crisis in Haiti.
One CIOB member who has seen Haiti’s devastation first hand is Ian Rollitt, the institute’s international ambassador for the Eastern Caribbean. Speaking from Kingston, Jamaica, he described scenes of turmoil. “Haiti’s airspace is blocked and the port is completely out of action because liquefaction caused all the surrounding land to collapse,” he said. “It’s still chaos out there. Before the rebuilding effort can begin in earnest, law and order must be restored and people need feeding.”
However, he stressed that any future building work should be carried out to EU standards of safety. “The earthquake clearly demonstrated that the devastating consequences of an unregulated built environment,” said Rollitt. “Most of the building collapses were caused by the failure of columns which lacked reinforcement and had poor column to beam connections.”
Are you going to Haiti? Email your experiences to: [email protected]
RedR was set up in 1979 by engineer Peter Guthrie, who founded the charity after working for Oxfam in refugee camps in Malaysia. RedR provides training and recruitment services for the humanitarian sector.
Article25 was set up in 2005 by architect Maxwell Hutchinson following his experience of the 2004 tsunami while holidaying in Sri Lanka. It plans post-disaster reconstruction and development projects.
BuildAid UK was formed in February 2005 by surveyor Robert Muir following the South East Asian tsunami. It provides construction aid, free professional advice and construction management for rebuilding projects.