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Bechtel’s Impact Report

Does Mexico Need Tougher Building Codes?

  • By
    portrait of Tam Nguyen
    Tam Nguyen, General Manager,
  • 27 March 2018

Hundreds of buildings in Mexico are reportedly at risk of collapsing or experiencing greater damage following the powerful September 2017 earthquake. Following the aftermath, only 676 of Mexico City’s 9,000 schools could reopen. Would stronger building codes have allowed more schools to open or have limited the amount of damaged buildings?


As part of The Dialogues featured Q&A, a panel of region experts weighed in on the effects of the September 2017 earthquake and how the 1985 earthquake played a key role in how the country responded to the recent disaster. The panel included Héctor L. García, president for the Latin America region at Bechtel.

García notes that the earthquake of 1985 had more of an impact on Mexico City in comparison to the earthquake of 2017. He suggests that the reason for this is because after the 1985 disaster, the city approved new construction codes in 1987 and 2004, including stringent seismic design requirements. More than 90 percent of the buildings that collapsed in September were built before 1985.

This article is an excerpt of the original published the Latin American Advisor, a publication of The Dialogue

To read the full article, click here.

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