Construction practices#

Construction practice in almost all countries in the region rely mostly on concrete and masonry, where the degree of unreinforced masonry varies country to country. Many of the older buildings in the region date back to the colonial times, which is why there can be a significant use of adobe and other mud materials, particularly in the northwest. There is a large number of slums close to the main cities, with construction being mostly unreinforced masonry and occassionally light materials. Wood is used significantly in the rain forest areas.

In many of the big cities, tall concrete buildings are constructed. However, the degree of seismic reinforcement changes among countries and within subregions of the countries. With the exception of Chile, there was a boom during the 1990s and 2000s of thin industrial walls in the region, which could be used for buildings up to 6 storeys, but have been shown to perform poorly in higher buildings.