A partnership between the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) has been established with an objective of integrating environmental design and disaster resilience into the building codes of this region. The objective of this partnership is to gain overviews of current integration of environmental design and disaster resilience in building codes in some of the developed and developing countries in the Asia Pacific region. AIT Consulting on behalf of AIT is conducting this project.

As part of the partnership, AIT has prepared a report assessing and evaluating building codes of some developed and developing countries. To discuss this report and the integration of environmental concerns and disaster resilience in current building codes of Asia-Pacific countries, good practices from Asia-Pacific Region and what possible next steps UNESCAP and AIT could take to further improve building codes, UNESCAP and AIT jointly organized an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on 26-27 April 2012 at the United Nations Conference Center. From AIT, Professor Sivanappan Kumar, Dr. Pennung Warnitchai, Dr. Naveed Anwar and some of the staff from AIT Consulting attended the meeting.

During the meeting, issues related to the formulation and enforcement of building codes were discussed. It was mentioned by the experts that the main key problems in the formulation and enforcement of building codes are: political will, lack of knowledge/awareness, coordination of stakeholders, accountability, and enforcement framework, etc. Moreover, it was discussed that application and the proper development of building codes requires policy development to be separated from technical development. Whether a country should use prescriptive or performance-based building codes will depend on the capacity of the country’s building code authority to formulate and enforce building codes. The decision to use prescriptive or performance-based building codes must be made considering the context within which codes exist and their limitations, in order to ensure that regulation is effective and appropriate. AIT and ESCAP will further revise the analysis report discussed at the EGM, to reflect issues and recommendations.