BBB – The impact of post-disaster legislative and regulatory changes on the recovery of the built environment

Post-disaster reconstruction depends upon building and planning activities such as, deconstruction, debris clearance, provision of temporary accommodation, hazard analysis, land selection, infrastructure re-development, repair and rebuilding. A difficulty which commonly arises in post-disaster environments is the sudden increase in work load, especially in the building industry, together with a drop in the workforce, which creates bottlenecks that slow down and impede recovery (Chang et al., 2010). During recovery, governments try to balance speed with the need to make the environment more resilient to future disasters (Johnson and Lizarralde, 2012; Kim and Choi, 2013). It is common to facilitate recovery-related activities by simplifying, fast-tracking, and exempting certain rules and regulations using special legislation in post-disaster periods (Rotimi et al., 2009).

However, changing the regulations and introducing special legislation present obstacles to successful disaster recovery (Bakir, 2004; Florian, 2007). This paper shows how legislative and regulatory changes impact on post-disaster reconstruction and recovery and offers guidance for better implementation of post-disaster legislative and regulatory changes. The 2009 Victorian Bushfires in Australia was chosen as a case study to explore the legislation and regulation decisions made and their impact on reconstruction. The findings from this study are integrated with existing knowledge to determine general legislative and regulatory policy recommendations to enable better disaster recovery.

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