In September of 2017, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, both category 5 hurricanes, swept across the Caribbean, including the U.S. Territory island of Puerto Rico. These two storms, particularly Hurricane Maria, caused catastrophic damages from high winds and flooding to the island paradise. This research investigates the direct effects that Hurricane Maria had on the residential construction industry within Puerto Rico and evaluates how to better prioritize and manage these types of efforts in the future. This research was initiated to identify challenges and opportunities that have been encountered within the Puerto Rican construction industry during the first year of reconstruction, post-Hurricane Maria. Residential structures that were built using current building codes experienced minimal storm damage. Many of the damaged residential structures, on the other hand, were made up of informal construction, predominantly using light wood framing methods. Unfortunately, homes built using informal construction practices were not insured nor eligible for government rebuilding assistance. Therefore, these damaged structures will more than likely be rebuilt using informal building practices again. Other immediate challenges faced by the construction industry included finding skilled labor and creating access to resources. The results of this research can be used to help prioritize reconstruction efforts and provide best practices following other similar disasters that will inevitably occur in the future. This research is unique in that it specifically targets the construction industry's experience and ultimately the ability to increase the effectiveness of the critical role the construction industry plays in rebuilding efforts.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





disaster reconstruction, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, residential construction



Included in

Engineering Commons