Seeking common DEA assessment standards in Bangladesh

Stakeholders involved in inspecting Bangladesh’s ready-made garment factories for structural, fire and electrical safety met in Dhaka 17 September 2015 to develop harmonized guidelines for Detailed Engineering Assessments (DEA).

DEAs are necessary to determine the safety of the structure when preliminary assessment reports reveal issues that require further analysis or when there is insufficient information available about how a building was constructed.

The DEA process can see the partial removal or destruction of some structural elements, for example taking a core sample out of a concrete column, removing soil for testing or removing wall or beam finishes to see hidden or covered details.

Tuomo Poutiainen, Programme Manager of ILO’s Improving Working Conditions in the RMG sector initiative explained that with the Accord for Bangladesh Building and Fire Safety, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the national initiative supported by ILO all undertaking inspections and overseeing remediation work it was important that common standards for DEAs are developed.

“With over 90 percent of export oriented RMG factories having undergone safety assessments emphasis is now moving from preliminary diagnosis to remediation and corrective action. This needs a consensus and joint understanding of how to carry out DEAs as basis for remediation work,” he said.

“We are seeking consensus to come up with pragmatic guidelines that allow Accord and Alliance to carry on with their remediation work and which also help the national initiative factories to carry out DEAs for RMG specific buildings.”

Providing oversight and advice to the process was Dr. Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Asia Pacific (UAP) and renowned as the ‘father’ of Bangladesh civil engineering.

“The development of these DEA guidelines will not only be valuable for the RMG sector but for buildings in general. They will have a long-term beneficial effect for building safety in Bangladesh,” he said. 

Taking part in the workshop were representatives of the Accord and Alliance, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, the Department of Inspections of Factories and Establishments, the Fire Service and Civil Defence Department, the Public Works Department and Japanese aid agency JICA.
The event was organize by the ILO with the support of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the US Department of Labor funded General Building and Fire Safety project.