Housner Fellows Visit to Ghana 8/28/2013

Day Three: Design & construction collaboration

Today was our third full day of meeting with various seismic safety stakeholders here in Accra – this time focusing on our architect, engineer, and contractor colleagues. We began the day with a morning workshop at AESL (Architectural & Engineering Services Limited). Our intent of the workshop was to explore the post-earthquake role of schools while also identifying potential ways to improve the seismic performance of new designs. Ali and Cale began the workshop with a brief presentation related to past earthquake performance of construction types similar to those currently used in Ghana. This included non-ductile concrete performance observed in ChiChi, Kashmir, and Christchurch among others. We then had an interactive conversation many of the architects and engineers with AESL and left the meeting feeling quite satisfied that we had all learned from each other. A particularly rewarding moment of the morning was when one of the younger AESL structural engineers suggested a simple solution to the captive column issue would be to create a gap by placing styrofoam between infill walls and the adjacent columns.

After the workshop, a couple of AESL engineers joined us for lunch at a restaurant inside of the landmark National Theatre before we departed for our afternoon meeting with the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana. The ABCECG office was across town and on our way we passed one of the largest markets in Accra. Unfortunately we did not have time to stop for shopping – perhaps tomorrow!
We found the contractors to be very interested in improving the standard of practice and ensuring consistent levels of quality across all regions and all projects in Ghana. Carlien presented their president with an EERI pin and encouraged them to become active in the research institute and the newly-formed Ghana Earthquake Society.

Our evening concluded with a technical lecture at the Ghana Institution of Engineering where Ali and Cale shared lessons from past earthquakes and Kate introduced GEM (Global Earthquake Model) and their goal of earthquake resilience worldwide.

One encouraging note is that our presence here has been noticed by the local media. Carlien was featured on the news last night and the NADMO meeting and ShakeOut were mentioned in a few print news outlets. Tomorrow we will meet with the Ghana Earthquake Society to brainstorm seismic safety initiatives and strategize how to advance them with the collaboration of the various stakeholder groups we have met so far this week.

Day 3-Pic 01

AESL workshop

Day 3-Pic 02

Lunch at National Theatre with AESL engineers

Day 3-Pic 03

Contractors Association

Pic 3-04

Market in Accra

Day 3-05

Technical lecture – Ali and Cale present on lessons from past earthquakes and Kate introduces GEM