Monserrat - A Case Study in the Application of Multiple Methods to Meet a Post Disaster Housing Shortage

Following the violent eruptions of the Soufriere Hills volcano in 1995 the Island of Montserrat suffered extensive damage and loss to its housing stock. The post disaster reconstruction Program involved the provision of new housing to meet both the immediate emergency need and the longer term need for the resettlement of the population. The re-housing Program drew heavily on both local and international resources and incorporated a range of solutions from low-cost prefabricated units, traditional timber framed units, masonry construction (upgraded to meet revised building code requirements) and high quality modular units. This paper will set out the challenges faced in the implementation of this Program, which included the logistical complications presented by an Island with very few natural resources, a need to maximise local employment and a desire to conform with accepted notions of best practice. The paper will also compare and contrast the effectiveness of the alternative methods in meeting both the above mentioned challenges and, more importantly, the needs of the Island population. In conclusion this paper will suggest ways in which lessons learned can lead to improvements of best practice.