About Build Change


Our mission is to greatly reduce deaths, injuries and economic losses caused by housing collapses due to earthquakes in emerging nations.


Our vision is that (1) all houses built with inputs from Build Change in seismically active emerging nations are resistant to earthquakes and other natural disasters, and (2) building codes are enforced or construction practices are permanently changed so that houses built in the absence of external funding and technical support are also earthquake resistant.

Value Proposition

Build Change designs earthquake-resistant houses for emerging nations and trains builders, homeowners, engineers, and government officials to build them.

Build Change leaves in place permanent change in construction practice by building local skills and stimulating local demand.

After a major earthquake in a developing country, agencies typically build masses of houses that are not always culturally appropriate and sustainable in the local construction sector. Often, the homeowner is only minimally involved in the decision-making and construction process. The opportunity to build local capacity is often missed, and in many cases, the houses built after the funding and technical assistance cease are not earthquake resistant. To overcome these challenges, Build Change applies the following principles and strategies.

  • LOCAL SOLUTIONS. Use detailed housing subsector studies to determine the most cost-effective ways of building earthquake-resistant houses using materials and skills that are available through the local private sector.
  • TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE. Leverage the knowledge and skills of the best engineers and architects in the world - both in the US and the developing world – to ensure that the very best designs and design thinking are applied to the reconstruction efforts while sticking to a carefully compiled list of criteria for local sustainability and acceptance.
  • EQUALITY. Empower the homeowners to choose their own layout and materials and manage their own construction with our technical assistance, by providing a range of solutions appropriate for different income levels, family size, culture and climate.
  • JOB CREATION. Work with local masons, carpenters and homeowners to incorporate disaster-resistant building techniques that are culturally accepted and easy to adopt with limited training and education.
  • LOCAL CAPACITY. Build local capacity by hiring and working with local engineers, architects, builders, universities and governments and training technical high school students.
  • ECONOMIC GROWTH. Kickstart the local economy by purchasing locally available materials and products.
  • BRIDGING THE GAP. Learn and spread best practices from post-disaster housing reconstruction programs so that the many other agencies involved in these efforts build better houses and leave in place more sustainable local impacts.

Theory of Change

Earthquake-resistant construction will become common only if the right technology is locally available, widely known, and culturally accepted. Plus, the cost must be competitive with existing and commonly used (but vulnerable) building methods.

Build Change Core Principles

Build Change's Core Principles are illustrated in the following posters (pdf format):