July 2008 In China, Build Change partners with the Tumen Township government and a local NGO to implement a successful technical assistance programs. All elements are in place – Money – Technology – People. Money: the government provided sufficient funding for rebuilding a basic house. People: they provided enforcement (through our team of Chinese construction professionals) and incentives for following the standards. Build Change empowered homeowners with the knowledge and technology to build safely (Read Xing Dayan’s Story). Technology: confined masonry is the commonly preferred structural system, for which there was already a building code in China. Our value-add was to make it understandable for homeowners, builders, and technical college students.
November 12, 2008 Build Change wins the Tech Award for Technology Benefiting Humanity in the Katherine M. Swanson Equality Category.
May 12, 2008 Mw=7.9 earthquake in Wenchuan, Sichuan, China levels entire villages, kills 69,195 people with an additional 18,392 missing, and leaves at least 5 million people homeless. Many collapsed buildings are multi-story, made of poorly confined masonry walls with precast concrete plank roofs. This building type is common in China, Central Asia and Eastern Europe and likely to result in more devastation in future events.
January 10, 2008 Build Change begins operations in West Sumatra, providing design advice to 655 homeowners who receive small grants from the Indonesian government to rebuild. Many homeowners cannot afford to build confined masonry buildings well; Build Change begins promoting timber frame with masonry skirt wall, a common building type in West Sumatra.
August 15, 2007 Mw=8.0 earthquake near Pisco, Peru kills 519 people and destroys over 58,000 houses. Elizabeth visits the area in early 2008; many commercial building owners following good practices in rebuilding new confined masonry buildings, while homeowners lack access to engineering advice and construction supervision needed to rebuild safely. While trying to raise money to start a program in Peru, the earthquake happens in Sichuan and shifts Build Change’s course to China.
March 6, 2007 and September 12, 2007 Two earthquakes hit West Sumatra and Bengkulu in the span of about six months; Build Change begins to wind down the program in Aceh and plan the move to West Sumatra, where the homeowner-driven model is more likely to work, given the low involvement of foreign NGOs and the Indonesian government’s pending shift to cash plus technical assistance housing reconstruction model.
October 2006 That some organizations don’t care about construction quality, or lack the ability, will or budget to enforce it, starts to become evident in Aceh.
September 2006 Build Change develops design and construction guidelines for confined masonry single story homes, Build Change expands to providing design reviews, train the trainer programs, and inspection services to other organizations such as CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam, and IOM, impacting over 4,200 homes by the end of 2007.
March 6, 2006 Elizabeth featured as abc NEWS Person of the Week on World News Tonight.
March 28, 2005 Mw=8.6 earthquake off Nias island rocks Aceh, a few days after Elizabeth arrives in Banda Aceh. Build Change hires its first three staff: an Indonesian engineer, an Indonesian architect, and an Indonesian quantity estimator, and begins designing and building houses with Mercy Corps in Lampisang and Keunue eu, Aceh Besar. The partnership with Mercy Corps has continued through other earthquakes in Indonesia, China and Haiti.
December 26, 2004 Massive Mw=9.1-9.3 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean causes devastation throughout the region. Given the enormous need for housing in Sumatra, Indonesia and the high likelihood of additional seismic activity there, Elizabeth abandons plans for starting first programs in India and Iran and focuses on Indonesia.
September 2, 2004 Build Change incorporated in State of California as Center for Earthquake Resistant Houses. A few months later, changed the name to Build Change.
February 2014 Josh Litwin joins the Build Change board of directors.
May 2004 Elizabeth visits Iran twice, in May and October of 2004, planning to start a technical assistance program in the areas hit by the Bam earthquake, noting deficiencies in construction practices on newly built houses. Unfortunately, Build Change’s application for a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to work in Iran is turned down.
2003 Using the Gujarat homeowner-driven reconstruction model as inspiration, Elizabeth formulated the Build Change theory of change, and the Build Change six step model. We would not build houses for people, but instead use a technical assistance model and leverage the financing of others as incentives for safe construction.