It’s been two years since the formation of the Resilience Building Coalition, led by the AIA and the National Institute of Building Sciences, and its release of its “Building Industry Statement on Resilience.” The one-page statement aimed to build consensus among AEC associations for upping the ante on resilient design policies and practices among their member organizations in building planning, design, construction, and operations, as well as materials manufacturing for the $1.7 trillion industry. Today, at a White House conference on the role of building codes in resilience, the coalition released a report detailing the progress made by its members so far.
“Preparing to Thrive: The Building Industry Statement on Resilience” includes results from a survey of the statement’s 40 signatories about how their work has evolved with resilience in mind. The goal to move decisions around resiliency to the beginning of the design and planning process in addition to promoting the practice before, during, and after a project’s completion, seems to be catching. Among the report’s findings, a majority of respondents reported increased awareness of their role in achieving resilience for the industry while nearly one-third have seen resilient design become a greater priority within their organizations. More than half of the signatories used the report as a basis for internal action around resilient-design initiatives, and reported more than 40 such borne from this process.
Among them: the report "Banking on Green: A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-Wide," which aims to help project teams advocate for projects such as parks or additional green space; a new five-year research project by the Illuminating Engineering Society to examine the environmental impact of outdoor and transportation lighting; EcoDistricts' research and application of resilient design at the neighborhood scale with the goal of creating a new design and planning tool for applying its research to "urban regeneration projects"; the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association's Building Green with Concrete continuing education course for architects and engineers; and post-disaster building safety assessments offered by AIA members trained through the Institute's Disaster Assistance Program.
The coalition also issued a set of guiding principles to facilitate the continued adoption of resilient design policies within organizations. These include developing a whole-systems approach to resiliency, and extending guidance on implementing resilient design beyond what’s required by basic life-safety codes.
Additionally, the AIA announced that it is developing professional development curriculum around policy- and practice-based resilience, to be implemented in early 2017. Topics include hazard mitigation, climate adaption, and community resilience.
“Building codes are a powerful tool architects can use to incorporate lessons learned from natural disasters, technology developments, and building-science innovation,” said AIA CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA, in a press release. “As we launch this new curriculum, we will be equipping our profession with additional vulnerability assessment, hazard mitigation, and design adaptation tools to help them prepare communities to be resilient and adaptable to those challenges.”
The White House Conference on Resilient Building Codes, which coincides with the International Code Council's Building Safety Month, was sponsored by the National Security Council Staff, the National Economic Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Management and Budget.