Scaling safe housing


Image courtesy of Build Change

Software solutions for safe housing

Build Change is harnessing the power of Autodesk software to retrofit and fortify homes for 2 million people in the earthquake-prone city of Bogotá, Colombia.


Build Change workers and a resident looking at exposed rebar in the wall of a Build Change residential renovation project.

Image courtesy of Build Change

5.9 million people at risk in Bogotá

Build Change is a social enterprise with the mission to prevent loss of life and loss of housing caused by disasters. It retrofits existing homes and constructs new ones in places at risk for natural disasters, like Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá.

In Colombia, a country where earthquakes are common, 65% to 70% of housing is informal, meaning that it is built outside of building codes and is vulnerable to earthquakes. According to recent data, it is estimated that 5.9 million people are at risk of suffering housing damage or loss of life during the next major earthquake in Bogotá.

Since 2014, the Autodesk Foundation has supported Build Change’s work through nearly $2 million in grant funding, facilitated $2.6+ million in Autodesk software donations through Autodesk’s Technology Impact Program, and multiple pro bono consulting projects in service of Build Change’s scaling of safe housing worldwide.

Two women Build Change workers wearing white hard hats smiling at the camera for a group shot, standing on the rebar framing of a roof at a Build Change renovation project.

Image courtesy of Build Change

Autodesk software solutions for risk assessment

Five years ago, creating a single retrofit design could take Build Change as long as a week. Today using AutoCAD, Revit, and Dynamo, engineers and architects can get the job done in as little as half a day.

To improve homes for families in need, Build Change has partnered with the government of Bogotá to implement a pilot project aiming to improve and strengthen 1,250 homes, as a first step to scale up resilient housing efforts in the city. For this, Build Change trained and equipped 30 home evaluators conducting risk assessments. Engineers and architects then used Dynamo scripts to convert the assessment data into 3D models in Revit.

Through Revit, architects create a retrofitting design package for each home, which is handed off to builders and contractors to complete the structural improvements needed to ensure the homes will be safe and stable for years to come.

Additionally, Build Change provides technical support to Colombia’s Ministry of Housing for implementation of Casa Digna Vida Digna, a program aiming to expand home improvement and strengthening programs at national level.

Headshot of Juan Caballero, Build Change VP of Programs

“To design a retrofit for a home just five years ago, we could have taken one week. Today, just by digitizing parts of that process, that can be brought down to half a day.”

— Juan Caballero, VP of Programs, Build Change

Six individuals with their backs turned to the camera walking down a narrow alleyway in Colombia, with brick walls on either side of them. All individuals are wearing hard hats and jeans; three are wearing Build Change-branded jackets.

Image courtesy of Build Change

Optimizing and automating with Dynamo

“Dynamo scripts have rapidly accelerated Build Changes process. The software checks the house for deficiencies and automatically proposes retrofit improvement intervention, guiding the user through the process,” says Andrés Felipe Robles Cuestas, a Build Change civil engineer.

Build Change is currently developing new Dynamo scripts to improve and automate even more, like automatically pulling photos from the home visits into Revit models and moving its computational steps to the cloud using Autodesk Forge and Autodesk Construction Cloud.

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