Humanitarian shelter assistance increasingly employs build back safer messages as a technical assistance tool to disaster-affected communities. We sought to prioritise the importance of key messages for small, light-weight timber shelter using a combination of Delphi and Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) methods. A panel of twelve academic and practitioner experts were asked to rank build back safer messages developed in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 which have formed the basis for subsequent humanitarian messages in the Asia-Pacific region. Findings revealed three groups of shelter key messages by importance: (1) bracing and joints, (2) foundations, tie-downs, and roofing and (3) shape. However, there was low consensus among panellists in their judgements of these overall comparisons. The individual structural components used in guidance within each message were also ranked with high consensus among panellists. Our results were consistent with the original message ordering, but expert judgements revealed differing relative structural capacities between components. The resulting numerical weightings and rankings offer clearer guidance on the relative importance of different groups of build back safer messages for non-engineered shelter and housing in low- and middle-income countries. Results may help humanitarian agencies create more targeted messaging to support safer and more durable shelter.
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