Building Industry Meets to Discuss Toolkit for Haiti

In the wake of the devastating 7.0–magnitude earthquake that occurred in Haiti on January 13, the National Institute of Building Sciences asked the United States codes and standards community to help provide guidance in the reconstruction of the island nation. The Institute put out a call to industry for assistance in the development of a toolkit to help guide Haiti in rebuilding. The Institute would deliver the toolkit to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton so that the Department of State could present it to Haiti for the reconstruction of its buildings and structures.

The toolkit will include recommendations, examples and specific guidance on how to build back better and stronger to resist the hazards of natural disasters. The participants convened for a face-to-face meeting, which was streamed on the web Wednesday, February 17. Building industry representatives discussed what needed to be included in the kit and volunteered their time and talent to collaborate on its development. 

The result was an overall concept of the project, with committees that would address the following categories:

  • Project Oversight

  • Design Criteria

  • Materials and Systems

  • Training

  • Enforcement and Quality Control

  • Reconnaissance, Information Gathering and Feedback

Each of the groups will be working to develop three levels of tools:

  • Residential Buildings

  • Commercial Buildings

  • Critical Structures (hospitals, schools and other essential facilities)

The time range for completion of the work is 60-90 days. Currently, approximately 40 individuals and/or organizations are engaged in the project. Learn more about the project.

James "Tim” Ryan (center), secretary of the National Institute of Building Sciences Board of Directors, talks with industry representatives about what should be included in a toolkit the group will be developing for Haiti. The meeting was the first to be streamed live via the web in the Institute’s state-of-the art conference room.


The National Institute of Building Sciences,authorized by public law 93-383 in 1974, is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that brings together representatives of government, the professions, industry, labor and consumer interests to identify and resolve building process and facility performance problems. The Institute serves as an authoritative source of advice for both the private and public sectors with respect to the use of building science and technology.

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