Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

Understanding the Risk Perception of People: A Step towards Effective Building Code Compliance

Risk perception of communities is an important aspect to consider for developing risk reduction policies and programs. Safety measures such as building code compliance in the construction of residential homes are a result of efforts in several fronts including techno-legal frame work, availability of resources, education and awareness of public among others. To understand the effect of awareness and education that results into change in risk perception, a study on the influence of change in risk perception to the change in building code compliance, was conducted in 23 municipalities of Nepal under Building Code Implementation Program in the municipalities of Nepal (BCIPN) being implemented by NSET with the funding support from USAID/OFDA.

Risk perception study in the municipalities was carried out using KAP Survey approach where KAP stands for Knowledge, Attitude and Practice. It is used to investigate: what the respondents know about it (K); how the respondents feel about it (A); and what the respondents do about it (P). In the study, a total of 39,874 samples were administered as base line data in different wards across 23 municipalities during 2013-2015.

The KAP assessment of the municipalities reflected that the level of knowledge of the residents is fairly high (scored 47 out of 100). Their attitude towards earthquake risk reduction is also found very positive (scored 73 out of 100) but it was observed that there still seems a significant gap in transforming these knowledge and attitude into real actions/ practice (scored 20 out of 100). Level of risk perception was then compared with the level of building code compliance.

The study showed that there is some existing knowledge of earthquake risk reduction, including building code implementation, in the municipalities. This is complimented by the positive attitude of the people towards earthquake risk reduction. The need now is to widen the knowledge coverage, to translate raised awareness into risk reduction actions and the scaling up of all successful methods through institutionalization of building code implementation process into the regular activities of municipal institutions.

Intervention such as orientation on earthquake risk reduction, training programs, awareness campaigns were carried out as a part of BCIPN program to enhance the level of risk perception. The level of risk perception together with the level of building code compliance is being measured in the year 2017. Preliminary results show that the level of building code compliance increased significantly as the level of risk perception enhanced.


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