First garment factory building retrofitted against earthquakes

Japanese experts teamed up with local engineers to make a garment factory in Ashulia more earthquake-resistant by systematic retrofitting. 

DK Knitwear, a unit of DK Group, carried out the retrofitting with $850,000 in soft loans. "We are confident about structural safety as the factory was constructed as an industrial building," said Syed AQM Zahid, managing director of DK Knitwear.

The retrofitting works will have a positive impact on Bangladesh's garment sector as workers are suspicious of and panicky about any issues they come across, Zahid said.

The retrofitting initiative, taken in Bangladesh for the first time, aims to help boost the garment sector's resistance to earthquakes-related disasters, Japan International Cooperation Agency said.

Retrofitting is a building technology used to make a vulnerable building earthquake-resistant without demolishing it. Usually, the cost is just 30 to 40 percent of new construction cost of the targeted building, according to Jica.

The retrofitting was carried out under the RMG Sector Safe Environment Project that the Japanese government initiated through Jica after the Rana Plaza disaster.

Jica created a Tk 100 crore fund with Bangladesh Bank to assist factory owners to construct safer buildings for their workers.

Jica had earlier invited garment factory owners to apply for factory-building assessments and utilise the fund to boost their earthquake resistance.

Some 300 factories applied for the assessment, of which 214 were selected for assessment by another Jica project -- Capacity Development on Natural Disaster Resistant Techniques of Construction and Retrofitting for Public Buildings -- to be implemented by the Public Works Department.

Japanese technology and experience will make buildings earthquake-resistant and help Bangladesh strengthen its vulnerable garment buildings, said Hiroyuki Tomita, senior representative of Jica. 


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