The vast majority of bridges, so-called short-span bridges with a length of less than 120 m, are constructed under a community-based scheme.

The Nepal government’s Trail Bridge Strategy 2006, Trail Bridge Sector Wide Approach Frameworks and Directives II 2014 and the User’s Committee Guidelines 2012 provide the legal foundations for the bridges. Bridge construction is preceded by a process facilitated by a local NGO, in which the primary future users of the bridge are identified and organised into a user group with a user committee. Meetings of the user group are called to take broad decisions regarding the planning, implementation and maintenance of the bridge, whilst the committee has responsibility for ensuring that construction proceeds in line with the agreed government budget allocation and time-frame. It is the committee members who order materials, ensure that workers are hired as required, and liaise with government officials as necessary.

Although Nepal has undergone considerable social change in recent decades, society remains strongly patriarchal and hierarchical, especially in rural areas.