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Public, Private Groups Focus on Resilience

Friday, May 13, 2016

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The White House this week announced new public and private measures to boost community resilience at its Conference on Resilient Building Codes.

Tying in with the observation of National Building Safety Month, the Obama administration noted efforts made by several federal agencies and departments toward resilience in the face of natural disasters brought on in part by climate change trends.

Government Efforts

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will update its regulations in line with recently established standards for resilient building, the administration announced. The plan follows HUD’s announcement in 2014 of its Climate Change Adaptation Plan, which specifies a series of moves the department is making to deal with issues related to climate change.

The White House
By David Maiolo [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Obama administration noted efforts made by several federal agencies and departments toward resilience in the face of natural disasters.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers launched a resilience website explaining how building codes can bolster resilience. The site is a portal to other resources that can help professionals and nonprofessionals alike learn about approaches to resilience, from construction that takes weather hazards into consideration to plans for dealing with violent attacks or explosions at public sites.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced an upcoming publication called "Smart Growth Code Fixes for Climate Adaptation," geared toward local governments as they consider changes to code to account for climate change.

The Private Sector

A variety of non-government entities are included in the push toward resilience as well.

The Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute announced it would launch an educational program regarding resilient construction. The Green Building Initiative announced the launch of a resilience task force. The National Concrete Masonry Association committed to developing new materials that focus on resilience.

The Resilience Building Coalition, headed up by the American Institute of Architects and National Institute of Building Sciences, released a new survey called "Preparing to Thrive: The Building Industry Statement on Resilience." The document commits the organizations involved to working to mitigate disaster risks.

“Disasters are expensive to respond to, but much of the destruction can be prevented with cost-effective mitigation features and advanced planning,” the document reads. “Our practices must continue to change, and we commit ourselves to the creation of new practices in order to break the cycle of destruction and rebuilding.”

US Army Corps of Engineers Graphic
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers launched a resilience website explaining how building codes can bolster resilience.

The coalition consists of a total of 40 industry associations and councils, from construction and code professionals to fire protection and sustainability experts.

Its framework includes the following:

  • Researching materials and techniques to improve construction practices with regard to resilience;
  • Educating professionals about best practices;
  • Advocating for policies and funding for resilient building;
  • Responding to disasters directly; and
  • Planning for a more sustainable built environment.

“Resilient design places architects at the center of the solution, with particular emphasis on the private, non-governmental sectors," said AIA CEO Robert Ivy.

“I would like to congratulate my fellow leaders in the design and construction sector for joining together to make sure resiliency is not viewed as just a fad but remains front and center in our efforts moving forward.”


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Construction; CRSI; EPA; Green Building Initiative; President Obama; Sustainability; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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