Informal construction in Peru is a common practice. According to figures estimated by the Peruvian Chamber of Construction (Capeco), 80% of homes are informal constructions and, of this percentage, half are highly vulnerable to a high intensity earthquake. These constructions are built without supervision or technical assistance from a professional, which implies a high risk for the safety of the house and the people who live in it.
In this context, the Construya Perú project aims to ensure that more families have a safe and sustainable home, providing mechanisms for them to learn the importance of building with plans, choosing quality materials, respecting the correct structure of a house and having access to professionals in the process of building their homes. In this way, we have been working with various local partners to raise awareness among families so that they can make better decisions when building, expanding and/or renovating their homes.
Rosmery participated, together with other homeowners from North and South Lima, in one of the awareness workshops on safe construction, via zoom, which allowed her to learn a little more about the basic principles of safe housing and thus make better decisions at the time of construction.
She highlights, for example, the importance of a soil study to determine whether the land is suitable for construction, as well as the materials needed to lay a solid foundation for the house, especially since Peru is considered a highly seismic country.
Rosmery also emphasizes some of the most important topics discussed in the awareness-raising sessions for families: construction plans and professional technical advice. These talks have generated greater awareness of the importance of having your house built with plans, as a tangible action to make your home safer.
“It must be done with plans because the architect or the engineer designs it adapting the precise spaces, he does not use more space. The 1st floor must always be well ventilated and well illuminated.”
Rosmery's house, like many others in Peru, follows the practice of progressive construction, that is, building the house according to the availability of resources and the family's growth needs. Thus, they usually start with a first floor, and then extend it with a room or warehouse (horizontal construction) or with a second floor when the children grow up and want to be independent (vertical construction).
“I am building with plans because I already have knowledge. In the course of life you see things, how people build empirically, but since it's your money and you don't want your money to be misused, you want it to be well built so that it has a good foundation with future projection.”
Another aspect learned during the workshops was the use of quality construction materials, recognizing the characteristics of bricks, steel or cement that may have been adulterated or that do not have the optimal conditions, thus avoiding the purchase of materials that put the safety of their families at risk.
“Yes it is true because if you don't build with good bricks there are leaks. You always have to use good materials, you know why, because the first floor always has saltpeter problems, in all the houses there are always saltpeter problems because they don't do their proper study and they don't see how they mix the materials.”
The project continues to promote these awareness-raising activities for homeowner families, through district municipalities and construction materials companies, in order to institutionalize this initiative among our partners and make it sustainable over time, thus addressing the problem of self-construction from the demand side.
In this way, the project expects to reach more families like Rosmery's. "I thought the talk was very important, with good language, simple for us to understand, it was not very technical, it was accessible to everyone so that we can understand better. It should be more widespread, not only in this area but throughout Peru, because we are a risk area.”
This project is funded by the Hilti Foundation. This project is part of the Swisscontact for Development Program, co-financed by the SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation of the Federal Foreign Office FDFA).