In September 2017 Hurricane Maria made landfall on the U.S territory island of Puerto Rico, causing substantial damage to the already weakened infrastructure and other aspects of the built environment. This research attempted to identify the challenges and opportunities that have been encountered within the Puerto Rican commercial and civil construction industry during the first year of reconstruction, post-Hurricane Maria. This was done by identifying the effects of the storm as well as the strategies of construction companies involved in the reconstruction process. The study used the events occurring after the passing of the hurricane as a case study to conduct interviews with those involved in the reconstruction efforts. The interviews followed a semi- structured interview approach to gather the data. The research found how the reconstruction efforts in Puerto Rico affected the commercial and civil construction industries, exploring the challenges, opportunities, and changes to typical business practices with regard to finances, labor, equipment, and material changes after Hurricane Maria. This was accomplished by highlighting the methods and processes used by the construction industry professionals and identifying the ones that were effective and/or ineffective in rebuilding the island. This research provided a number of key findings regarding reconstruction efforts. first, the large amounts of reconstruction related work following the storm boosted the economy of the industry and companies began growing in size and employing more personnel to fit their business needs. Second, unfortunately the vast amounts of reconstructive work created by Hurricane Maria also created a deficit in skilled labor in Puerto Rico. Third, initial reconstruction efforts were heavily focused on clearing debris, greatly benefitting companies that owned their own equipment. Finally, material availability proved to be a limiting factor in reconstruction, and lead times were directly increased because of Hurricane Maria.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





disaster reconstruction, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, commercial construction, civil construction



Included in

Engineering Commons