Challenges for Engineering Design, Construction, and Maintenance of Infrastructure in Afghanistan
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER HANOVER NH COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB
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Western nations, particularly the United States, may not have the most applicable construction techniques for rebuilding infrastructure in other countries. Afghanistan, for example, does not have well-documented engineering design and construction standards. The U.S. forces and Government agencies arrived in Afghanistan anticipating that construction funded by the U.S. would meet the Continental United States CONUS level of standard practice. Similarly, other well-developed countries arrived in Afghanistan with the intention of using their countrys adopted construction standards. Both U.S. and international construction standards may appear logical to use for this purpose. However, it is often difficult, and many times impossible, to meet traditional U.S. engineering design and construction standards in post-conflict areas owing to limitations that include a scarcity of high-quality materials and construction equipment, a lack of understanding of the terrain and environment, a lack of awareness of available local skills, a lack of skilled labor, and poor socio-economic conditions. A more deliberate and holistic approach is needed in which we consider and integrate the host nations capabilities and understand their limitations. The majority of infrastructure projects in post-conflict countries are mission-specific. In most cases, once constructed and operational, very little emphasis is given addressing maintenance is-sues. Site-specific and culturally sustainable guidance for maintenance must be implemented as a part of the design process and incorporated into training programs to ensure sustainable, long-term performance or service life of the infrastructure. This ensures leaving behind transportation, buildings, water, and other infrastructure that the host country is capable of managing and maintaining.
- Structural Engineering and Building Technology