Review of Non-Engineered Houses in Latin America with Reference to Building Practices and Self-Construction Projects

This report presents a review on non-engineered buildings, that at present make up a substantial part of the Latin American residential fabric. Within the different self-construction practices, earth-based construction techniques constitute the focal point of the report, as adobe housing units are traditionally prevalent in the region. Special consideration is given to the identification of the factors contributing to the high levels of seismic risk associated to non-engineered buildings as evidenced by the devastating effects following past and more recent earthquakes. The seismic performance of Latin American non-engineered housing units is documented through case studies from field reports of previous seismic events. The current housing and post-disaster reconstruction policies currently in effect in Latin American countries are also presented, as major components that determine the seismic risk associated to self constructed dwellings. Finally, the report provides a detailed review on a thorough selection of the manuals produced to date that support self and assisted construction housing projects of earth-based, concrete masonry and reinforced concrete housing units.