Most disasters are followed by legislative changes, emergency legislation, and new disaster legislative measures. Some of the changes are a reaction to the need to build back safer and to be seen to be facilitating a better future environment. For instance, the Royal Commission into the Canterbury Earthquakes in New Zealand recommended changes to the Building Act, a rewrite of building codes and building standards. Other disasters, such as the Wenchuan earthquake in China, Black Saturday bushfires in Australia, and Hurricane Katrina and Northridge earthquake both in the USA, had all occasioned changes in legislative requirements for reconstruction and code changes for buildings.
The impact of legislative changes tends to slow recovery, but often they facilitate in building a better, more resilient, post-disaster environment. In this entry, the focus will be on the common postdisaster legislative changes encountered for reconstruction, such as those affecting building acts and building codes. Examples and effects of the changes are discussed using a variety of cases from earthquakes and other disasters. This entry provides an account of the ways in which legislation changes post-disaster can help and/or hinder reconstruction programs.