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International Recovery Platform

Built Environment: Transforming disaster experience into a safer built environment - The case of Japan

This solutions brief offers lessons from Japan for developing countries seeking to increase the safety of the built environment through the use of building regulation as a tool, in an incremental, context-specific approach. The brief summarises lessons for policymakers, practitioners and project managers: Regulation should be understood as a tool to guide and support the safety of the built environment, and should not be seen principally as a means of exerting control To develop an effective approach to building safety, countries need a clear understanding of their available human, technical, and financial capacity Effective regulation takes place within an enabling environment that includes education, financial incentives, and other mechanisms designed to proactively support compliance The regulatory ecosystem must make professional expertise and technical services available to all who wish them Formal regulatory systems should recognise prevalent construction practices, including non-engineered construction, and the risks associated with them An effective regulatory regime is based on science and requires the participation of academia Governments can strengthen their regulatory regimes by coordinating action with the building industry The private sector can play an important role in effective enforcement of building regulation, but only where mechanisms for oversight, fairness, and conflict resolution are robust Financial incentives can play a key role in promoting safety and overall quality in the built environment An incremental, context-specific approach— one in which policies are based on analysis of data accumulated over many years and events— is the path to a safer built environment This brief has been published in anticipation of a full report to be completed in November 2017.

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