LAHORE - Heavy roofs and thick brick walls of multi-storey buildings were the main cause of devastation and heavy death toll during the earthquake that hit Balochistan recently, and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir & NWFP on October 8, 2005. The remedy lies in the introduction of Reconstruction Policy to strictly regulate the engineered structure according to seismic conditions. The use of timber in the seismically rich areas of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir was also recommended in the detailed report compiled by a team of engineers, architects and geologists of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) and the Punjab University (PU) who studied the Oct 8, 2005 earthquake and visited the devastated areas. The experts have already predicted that both North and Southern parts of Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir are vulnerable to earthquake due to their location in the seismically active site. As the earthquake cannot be averted, the best solution to avoid destruction is to remodel our building plans. The use of timber in roofs and lightweight construction could avert disaster if there was any in future elsewhere in the seismic rich areas of the country but it should be properly structured and engineered. It was advisable for all brick masonry structures beyond two storeys that RCC floors and roofs should be discouraged. According to the report, two horizontal concrete bands with nominal reinforcement at window and lintel level, can improve the cohesiveness and seismic performance of brick masonry by a considerable margin. As an additional measure, some vertical reinforcement at corners can also be added through appropriate brick bonding techniques but even this reinforced brick masonry construction should be limited to 2 storeys only. Steel frame construction is considered to exceed seismic performance of RCC frame. There are engineered, non-engineered and prohibited structures: 1) The legal regulatory framework for building construction in the seismic rich areas must declare that certain classes of structures will have to be engineered. 2) There should be a separate regime for regulation of engineered structures that should ensure strict compliance of seismic design code as well as place multiple checks during both design and construction phases. 3) Except the prohibited structural systems all the structural systems that do not fall within the ambit of engineered structures should be classified as non-engineered structures, which will be subject to different, less stringent/regulatory regime. 4) Timber frame construction is common and popular in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Northern Areas but this can also be applied elsewhere in Pakistan including Balochistan. However, it requires certain enhancements to improve its seismic performance that includes use of lightweight modern insulation materials in walls and roof construction, to preclude the use of stone in walls and mud on the roofs. For all non-engineered structures, light floor and roof structures should be promoted. 5) In particular, timber pitched roofs with lightweight insulation would be an excellent choice. 6) It is necessary that all floor and roof structures should be well bound to the vertical structural system. 7) While the use of sedimentary stone in foundation of a building is necessary but still full height walls on such buildings must be discouraged. However, in certain areas it is the only feasible option and popular choice. In such areas, enhanced sedimentary stone masonry employing timber or mortar levelling courses are acceptable modes of construction. 8) Prohibited structure system and riverbed rubble stone masonry and pre cast concrete have extremely poor seismic performance as it exhibited high fatality rate. New construction employing these materials must be strictly prohibited. The backbone of the regulation effort should be a Reconstruction Policy, which supported by a legal framework and implemented through a hierarchy of overlapping regulatory jurisdictions operative at all three levels simultaneously. The Reconstruction Policy should be based upon an analysis of performance of various constructional systems, determine the relative desirability of various construction systems, and set limits of acceptability of each. The regulatory administration should then attempt to implement the intent of Reconstruction Policy through a series of measures, which should range from ensuring supply of desirable building materials to direct and indirect subsidy of construction itself.