“The earthquake reminded us that it is our duty to intervene on sites that do not meet seismic building codes. A life is worth more than losing money. As an engineer, I am the keeper of the safety of people, their property and their lives.”Silfaut Duffault
“Everything in our lives changed with the earthquake on January 12, 2010,” said Silfaut Duffault, an engineer with the Haitian Ministry of Transportation, Public Works and Communications (MTPTC). “Had we respected the building codes for constructing earthquake-resistant houses from the start, we would not have had to endure so many deaths,” he said.
“I am an engineer and my job is to train people in construction. But I must say that many engineers, including myself, had neglected to follow the proper building techniques. Now, we must take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening again.”
“I was not aware of the earthquake danger that hung over the country. To be honest, none of us were really prepared to face natural disasters like this. An ignorance of the ever-present danger posed by earthquakes led to homes being poorly constructed,” said Duffault. “We did not account for the effects of a seismic event, but instead only paid attention to the effects of rain water when designing and building our homes.” He continued, “Now it is completely different. We know that this danger exists, and that as engineers, everyone is watching us and holding us accountable to do our job properly.”
Engineers like Duffault have been receiving training on earthquake-resistant design and construction from Build Change. His encounter with Build Change was very positive for him because he was able to acquire more knowledge and revisit concepts that he didn’t completely grasp. According to Duffault, it is essential that engineers engineer to focus on designing buildings that will save lives, and not compromise their professional ethics by building structures that could put people’s lives in danger.
“The earthquake reminded us that it is our duty to intervene on sites that do not meet seismic building codes. A life is worth more than losing money. As an engineer, I am the keeper of the safety of people, their property and their lives.”
He concluded, “I’d like to see Build Change hosting as many of these training activities as possible. In my opinion, the more people who understand the work that we do, the easier our job will be. As such, the owner and engineer will be better able to collaborate, work together and respect each other.”