To find out more, download our information brochure: QSAND-Brochure

QSAND draws on the standards developed by BREEAM, the world leading sustainability certification scheme for buildings. communities and infrastructure.

QSAND aims to:

  • Guide and inform the decision making process in a disaster-affected community, promoting more sustainable approaches to shelter and settlement activities.
  • Provide a co-ordinated framework for identifying and, where relevant, assessing the sustainability of solutions in the relief, recovery and reconstruction of disaster-affected communities.

Background to the development of QSAND

The QSAND tool was developed by BRE Global (the developers of BREEAM), on behalf of IFRC. As a part of its commitment to sustainable development, IFRC commissioned the development of the QSAND tool to promote sustainable shelter and settlement activities in the aftermath of natural disasters.

The tool is the output of a project to develop a self-assessment sustainability tool focused on shelter and settlement reconstruction in the aftermath of natural disasters.  The project was formed from discussions between BRE Global and IFRC on how long-term sustainability impacts can be better considered and integrated into the disaster relief and recovery operations of the humanitarian sector.

The project was undertaken to support the drive in the humanitarian sector to begin to consider and benchmark sustainable approaches to shelter and settlement operations taken after natural disasters.


QSAND Information Videos

In the video above, Graham Saunders*, Head of Shelter & Settlements at IFRC and Yetunde Abdul, QSAND Manager at BRE Global present ‘What is QSAND?’. The video explains how QSAND was developed to help the humanitarian sector think about the longer-term sustainability of their responses.

*We were very sorry to hear about the passing of Graham Saunders. He was instrumental in the inception of QSAND and a strong supporter of the tool

A second short video provides an introduction to QSAND and is intended for all those interested in the tool.

Watch the introduction video here.



The aim of the QSAND project was to develop a self-assessment tool to inform and measure the sustainability impacts and performance of various stages of the disaster timeline, within the context of shelter and settlement. Where practical, early decisions should positively influence the sustainability of the long term reconstruction of the disaster hit area. The tool aims to take a wide variety of factors which impact the disaster recovery process into account and promote a holistic sustainability approach to address the context.

QSAND Categories Diagram


The intended users of the tool are summarised below in three sections.

  1. District / Province / Field level (e.g. field project managers / practitioners / regulatory officials). Those directly involved in the development, implementation and oversight of activities, using QSAND to inform the programme design and regularly monitoring compliance against the criteria.
  2. National / Regional / Headquarter level (e.g. desk officer / technical advisors / programme managers / national or provincial government officials). Those who are primarily desk based and not involved in day to day implementation, using QSAND to track overall progress against the key sustainability criteria identified.
  3. Global / International Stakeholder / Donor level (e.g. international organisations / donors and finance institutions / policy analysts). Those involved in overseeing or advising on the overall response and longer term development needs, using QSAND to track the trends in sustainable recovery and reconstruction.