Structural Safety Assessments of Textile Factory Buildings in Bangladesh

  • Development of a methodology for assessing the structural safety of the factories in Bangladesh.
  • Over 2,500 factories in this country have been inspected to date using our structural methodology.

Following the disaster in Rana Plaza in 2013, where a garment factory collapsed with the loss of 1,129 lives, we have been asked to develop a methodology for assessing the structural safety of the factories in Bangladesh.

Understanding the importance of the garment industry for the people of Bangladesh, employing more than four million people, we came up with a pragmatic approach for carrying out the structural safety assessments, focusing on critical life–safety issues.

Driving change

In the two years post-Rana Plaza, we have supported a number of clients in driving an agenda of change. So far, we have inspected over 750 factories there for Inditex (Spanish retail group) and the Bangladesh Accord—an umbrella organization of clothing companies, employers and workers representatives. We have provided clear advice on actions required to ensure the safety of the workers, including closure of a small number of facilities. In addition, we have overseen and provided a quality review role on an additional 750 fire, electrical and structural factory inspections which were commissioned by the International Labour Organization on behalf of the Bangladesh Government.

In total, over 2,500 factories in Bangladesh have been inspected to date using our structural methodology.

The challenge presented by this project was how to balance the immediate requirement of preventing another Rana Plaza without shutting down an entire industry which is critical to the national economy

The structural safety assessments are directly leading to safer workplaces for those employed in over 3,500 garment factories, ensuring that people feel safer going to work every day.

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  • External view of one of the buildings. Credit: Arup.Open gallery

    In total, over 2,500 factories in Bangladesh have been inspected to date using our structural methodology.

  • View of one of Arup engineers playing with some kids in Bangladesh. Credit: Arup.Open gallery

    We have provided clear advice on actions required to ensure the safety of the workers, including closure of a small number of facilities.