Islamabad, 29 January, 2013 (PR): The Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBS,P) – an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in collaboration with the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) organized a workshop to share a set of building guidelines for seismic resistance and thermal efficiency of buildings in the mountainous regions of Pakistan.
Provincial Ministers Mr. Raja Azam from Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Mr. Saleem from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) represented their respective provincial governments in the workshop. Representatives from donor agencies including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan, Academia, AKDN sister agencies and various public sector institutions and development agencies also participated in the workshop. Dr. Ashfaq Ahmed, Additional Registrar, Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) presented the welcome address and noted that the building guidelines developed by AKPBS,P and PEC will be a key contribution for reducing the risk to the life and properties of the people of the mountainous communities.
Dr. Ashfaque valued the partnership with AKPBS,P and accentuated the need to work together to device an implementation plan and facilitate the legislation of the guidelines in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral regions of Pakistan. He further said that the proposed guidelines would supplement the building regulations for the region and will be a milestone contribution.
The workshop was organised as part of a four year project ‘Promotion of Energy Efficient Cooking, Heating and Housing Technologies’ (PEECH) funded by the UNDP and the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan in nine valleys of the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral region of Pakistan. The project aims to curb the degradation of forests in the target region and decrease CO2 emissions resulting from excessive use of timber and fuel-wood for house construction and household energy use in these areas. The aim of the project will be achieved by providing assistance to the local communities for adopting the energy efficient and home improvement products developed and promoted by AKPBS,P.
The Chief Guest of the workshop, Mr. Raja Azam, Minister Planning and Development, Gilgit Baltistan appreciated the role of the AKDN in the development of Gilgit-Baltistan and said that the guidelines proposed by AKPBS,P have been developed keeping in context the built environment related challenges of the region and the government of Gilgit-Baltistan commends this contribution and assures to take necessary steps for the legislation of the proposed guidelines in the respective governments.
Specialists from the foremost engineering Universities including the University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, University of Engineering and Technology Lahore and NED University, Karachi shared their analysis on the proposed guidelines. The Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral regions of northern Pakistan fall in relatively high activity seismic zones. There are more than 120,000 houses in the region and each year approximately 3,000 units of new houses are built – more than 90% of these buildings are constructed by the villagers themselves without any proper engineering inputs and quality control to meet the minimum standards of constructions as per the building codes of the country. Consequently, the population housed in these buildings is at great risk in the event of a major disaster/earthquake. The guidelines proposed by AKPBS,P present simple building construction guidelines for the implementation of these building codes in the regions.