Nepal has been rebuilding since the earthquake, which took place two years ago killing 9,000 people and causing widespread structural damage.
The fit-out team at Gilbert-Ash worked closely with Nepalese construction companies to assist in sourcing local materials and labour to support the refurbishment. Having had little exposure of working in earthquake zones, the drew on local engineers’ knowledge of seismic projects. “The refurbishment of the British Embassy in Nepal for the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office included retrofitting to increase the safety of the buildings and our team worked closely with local structural engineers to meet earthquake building regulations,” said Gilbert-Ash Fit Out contracts manager Ian Fisher.
Fisher added: “We travel with an open mind and are constantly learning and adapting to local cultures. Everywhere we work we take away something new. It was particularly inspiring to see the construction skills, knowledge and standards of craftsmanship practiced by the local industry in Nepal; with the advances in modern technology, many of these traditional skills have been lost in the UK.”
Nepal has seen an increasing number of women taking up more prominent roles in the building trade since the earthquake due to a local labour shortage that has seen many male construction workers leave for work in the Middle East. “While we are one of many actively involved in encouraging more women to join the construction industry in the UK, it was really incredible to see so many in the workforce in Nepal who are playing such a key role in rebuilding the country,” said Fisher.
To help the Kathmandu construction companies involved in the project, the Gilbert-Ash team donated building tools and materials alongside the transfer of new health and safety skills.
“This was a humbling project as our team saw first-hand the impact of the 2015 earthquake on the everyday lives of the people in Nepal,” said Fisher. “The local response to the earthquake to rebuild their country has been inspiring and we are pleased to have supported the recovery efforts.”
The refurbishment, construction and fit-out contractor has carried out work on behalf of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office in a total of 41 countries to date, from Hungary, Spain, Poland and Bahrain to China, Japan and Australia.