The global earthquake and structural engineering firm Miyamoto International has opened an office in Bogotá, Colombia, to share its expertise and better serve new and existing clients across South America.

Miyamoto already has a project office in Pasto, where the firm runs Prepare, a USAID/OFDA program that provides municipal disaster-risk management officials and first-responders such as bomberos with a better picture of the impact of a major earthquake, and assists them in preparing and planning accordingly. The city of Pasto is located near the Galeras volcano and in one of Colombia’s most seismic regions. On 17 April 2017, a 6.1 earthquake with epicenter along the border of Peru and Ecuador, rattled the capital of Nariño department.

With 19 offices in areas of high seismic activity and risk worldwide, Miyamoto says its expertise helping building investors, developers and government prepare for strong seismic events is critical to save lives and positively impact economies. “We are very excited to be in Colombia,” said  Kit Miyamoto, CEO of the company whose work in countries recovering from catastrophic earthquakes has been featured on CNN, PBS, New York Times, and international media outlets. The Colombia office will be led by Bogotá expert engineer Juan M. Sandoval Leal.

As in the United States, Miyamoto’s focus in Colombia will be on regular structural engineering projects, as well as building better than code to protect people and property. “In areas of high seismic vulnerability like Los Angeles and Bogotá, we can engineer buildings that perform much better very cost effectively,” said Kit Miyamoto. “If you follow minimum code, it essentially gives you a ‘one earthquake’ building. We can design buildings to remain operational after the event.”

The firm has a deep portfolio of work in the aviation, civic, commercial, disaster risk reduction, education, healthcare, high-rise, historic, hospitality, mixed-use, industrial, religious, transportation and university sectors, as well as seismic retrofit work and high-performance engineering.

Miyamoto International has added eight offices globally since 2014, and before launching in Bogotá, opened in Washington D.C. “Our D.C. office enables us to work with the international development clients more effectively. We see tremendous opportunities to serve and empower vulnerable communities worldwide.”

Miyamoto’s earthquake teams have been involved in assisting disaster-struck nations Ecuador, Haiti, Italy and Nepal. In the central Asian country, the company’s engineers are currently helping rebuild Nepal’s damaged UNESCO-listed heritage sites and ancient pagodas.