The January 2001 earthquake that struck the state of Gujarat in India damaged or destroyed some 8,000 villages and 490 towns. In the months and years after the earthquake, many organizations undertook widespread reconstruction programmes. One such collaboration between the NGO CARE India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) built 5,554 permanent houses as well as schools and community centres in 23 villages. This paper revisits 10 of the 23 villages that were partially or fully rebuilt by FICCI–CARE, 10 years after the earthquake. It finds that while the houses remain structurally strong and are mostly in use, residents’ levels of satisfaction, perception and usage are mixed. A central theme concerns the initial prioritization of seismic safety, which has sacrificed longer-term considerations of comfort, adaptability and the environment. The paper describes the houses that were built and presents findings according to structural condition, engagement in design, adaptations, house selling and perceptions of safety. The discussion presents four issues that emerge from the findings and wider research. The paper ends by proposing a simple equation for good housing, which places people’s involvement in building processes as the vital component.