Published: May 30, 2023 By ,

Amid rising global disaster risks, governmental and nongovernmental organizations have called for increased technical assistance to build capacity within communities to build safer housing. However, limited research has evaluated these approaches to building technical construction capacity. This study discusses the process of collaboratively designing an approach to build construction capacity for safer housing, evaluating this process through measures of builders’ self-efficacy and knowledge of mitigation measure efficacy. The capacity-building focuses particularly on the appropriate use of hurricane straps in wood roof construction in Puerto Rico, which was identified as an area where engineering recommendations did not align with many builders’ perceptions of safety. Three phases were used to design, implement, and assess this capacity-building approach. First, we interviewed staff in local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to identify propositions for building technical construction capacity in Puerto Rico. We then used these propositions as a framework to design the capacity-building approach. Finally, we piloted and evaluated this approach with existing trainers and community members who are building and repairing housing in Puerto Rico, interviewing them after implementation to analyze shifts in self-efficacy and knowledge of mitigation measure efficacy. The results reveal interviewees’ increased perceived self-efficacy and knowledge of mitigation measure efficacy following capacity-building, leading them to express increased willingness to mitigate hurricane risks to housing with appropriately installed hurricane straps. Overall, this study provides evidence that centering people’s perspectives is needed in technical construction capacity-building to influence builders’ self-efficacy and knowledge of mitigation measure efficacy and promote safer housing construction and suggests an approach that can be used to center these perspectives.


Goldwyn, B., Velasquez, C., Liel, A., Javernick-Will, A., and M. Koschmann (2023). “Capacity-Building to Support Safer Housing through Appropriate Hurricane Strap Use” Natural Hazards Review. 10.1061/NHREFO.NHENG-170.