During the last decade, the construction community has become increasingly aware of the need for resilience in the built environment. Sometimes this awareness has been quickly and painfully raised in the wake of increasingly frequent devastating storms, like hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. Sometimes it has been part of a slower process, as the cumulative effects of severe weather take their relentless toll on existing structures.
However, if there is one date that marks a turning point in the sense of urgency surrounding resilience, it is May 10, 2016. That was the date when the Obama White House hosted a conference on Resilient Building Codes to underscore the importance of “incorporating resilience and the future impacts of climate change in the codes and standards development process.” In the wake of this conference, 40 leading organizations within America’s design and construction industry released a report about efforts to achieve resilience in the built environment. The report detailed a set of guiding principles, including “developing and advocating for codes and policies that advance resilience; developing ‘whole-systems resilient design’ approaches for the built environment; and providing guidance, beyond the baseline life-safety codes, that recognizes the importance of fortifying property for individual and community resilience.”