The College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico (CIAPR) and the College of Landscape Architects and Architects of Puerto Rico (CAAPPR) in partnership with the ENLACE Project of the Martín Peña Channel and the G-8, Group of Eight Communities close to Caño Martin Peña Inc., announced the start of the “Mi Casa Resistente” community project, with the aim of providing safe housing alternatives in the Martín Peña Channel for families affected by Hurricane María.
“María destroyed some 70,000 homes in Puerto Rico. This alliance was born to design and build safe houses to withstand hurricanes and other atmospheric phenomena for families of the Caño Martín Peña. We hope that the process of professional design, permits and construction that we are undertaking will be a community development workshop in Caño and can be emulated by other communities,” said Pablo Vázquez-Ruiz, president of the CIAPR.
The first stage of the “Mi Casa Resistente” project consists of a conceptual design contest to select three preliminary designs, whose idea will be developed to be built in the Martín Peña Channel.
This stage is already underway, following a call from. The second stage will consist of the construction process. This will be overseen by the CIAPR Foundation in coordination with the interested parties.
The design by licensed professionals seeks to produce a housing prototype that meets the needs of every citizen for a safe and resilient roof, but that in turn recognizes the economic realities that limit them to finance the design and proper construction of a home.
“CAAPPR has made a commitment through several initiatives to end unsafe construction. The construction will serve as a laboratory to guide the community,” said CAAPPR President Ivonne María Marcial-Vega.
“We believe that through on-site education, the way to build and achieve a more secure Puerto Rico can be modified,” she said.
ENLACE and the G-8 will coordinate the processes of citizen participation during the design, the selection parameters of the families that will occupy the homes that are being built, and will continue to implement strategies to strengthen construction techniques in the community.
“We thank our allies for the possibility of providing quality homes to families who lost everything with the hurricane, on land trust lots, and for contributing housing models designed with citizen participation, that we can use in the future for rehousing of families,” said Evelyn Quiñones-Ortiz, vice president of the G-8, as the Group of the Eight Communities Surrounding the Martín Peña Channel is known.
The CIAPR Foundation, which will serve as depository of the funds that are collected, will act as the project’s fiscal agent, in charge of receiving the donations from institutions that decide to join. In addition, it will provide administrative resources for accounting and project finances.
The CIAPR will provide a licensed engineer to act as general manager of the [roject and coordinate its different, including: coordination between the presidents of the schools, ENLACE and the G-8, coordination with the designer and contractors, approval of payments to contractors and suppliers as the case may be, and coordination with the administration and the CIAPR Foundation for the disbursement of the funds assigned to the project.
The contest winners will be responsible for all the permit procedures and will develop the plans and specifications and certify them as blueprints, to be replicated in the ” Mi Casa Resistente” project. A licensed engineer or architect will be appointed for periodic inspections and will certify the construction to obtain the permit for use.
“We know that with this initiative the community and entities that can help us will be encouraged to build safe structures so that they do not have to be rebuilt again and again,” Vázquez-Ruiz said.
“We want to send the message of how important it is to build in a resilient way and attract other organizations to expand the number of houses we are going to build,” Vázquez-Ruiz said.