Reconstructing change

Civil & Surveying

By Tabby Ellett

Build Change uses drones and Autodesk software for reconstruction efforts in earthquake-stricken Nepal.

Build Change is an international nonprofit organization that provides earthquake-resilient housing designs and expertise to local home-owners and builders in emerging nations damaged by earthquakes and typhoons. Founded in 2004, the organization has helped rebuild over 48,000 safer structures in countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines. It helps strengthen buildings by training local engineers, architects, and builders to incorporate disaster-resistant design and construction techniques when rebuilding after natural catastrophes—improving local construction practices as well as long-term resilience of structures. In the spring of 2015, Build Change expanded their working area to include Nepal after an earthquake killed close to 9,000 people, destroyed nearly 500,000 houses, and displaced 2.8 million people.

“We are using drones and ReCap 360 to capture existing conditions of earthquake-damaged villages and to upload images to the cloud for processing and point cloud generation,” says Pudasaini. “We then use InfraWorks 360 and Civil 3D software to generate high-resolution, extremely accurate digital surface models of the villages from that point cloud data.”

Build Change engineers and architectural advisors use this model data to plan new construction sites and recommend suitable building sites, which increases the effectiveness of field visits and increases areas they can visit virtually visit to support reconstruction efforts.

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