Design and construction organizations are calling on Congress to include funding in the infrastructure bill that would improve the resilience of buildings across the country.
“Buildings are an essential part of our country’s infrastructure,” said American Institute of Architects (AIA) CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. “Not just airports, train stations and utilities, but also schools where our children learn; civic centers and hospitals where we receive essential services; and the houses where we live. The vast majority of these places are much more vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters than is acceptable. “
“We need to take urgent action to address these issues and be visionary on how we design and build new constructions to withstand the threats for decades to come,” Ivy said. “As we are already seeing, climate change is expected to fuel another year above average for forest fires, droughts, hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions. It’s time to act.”
In one letter submitted to Congress, the signatories stressed that the costs of disasters are staggering and preventable. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National environmental information centers, between 2014 and 2019, major weather and climate disasters killed nearly 4,000 people and caused more than $ 550 billion in damage. Yet, with new investments to support forward-thinking planning, design and construction, the building industry can be a leader in saving lives and reducing costs.
The organizations that co-signed the letter also released the Coalition for Building Resilience Progress Report, “Prepare to prosper», Describing the actions that organizations have taken in disaster research, education, planning, advocacy and response since the signing of the Building Industry Statement on Resilience. These activities have strengthened the resilience of communities before, during and after disasters, and underscore the critical need to do so across racial, ethnic and socio-economic divisions, the AIA said in a press release.
Signatories to the industry letter include:
- Alliance for National and Community Resilience (ANCR);
- American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC);
- American Institute for Building Design (AIBD);
- American Society of Interior Designers (ASID);
- American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE);
- Builders and Associate Contractors (ABC);
- Association for the Protection and Performance of Materials (AMPP);
- Association of Building Owners and Managers (BOMA);
- Congress for New Urbanism (CNU);
- Roofing association of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM);
- Flood Mitigation Industry Association (FMIA);
- Green Construction Initiative (GBI);
- Insurance Institute for Business and Home Security (IBHS);
- International Code Council (ICC);
- International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC);
- National Association of Ready-Mixed Concrete (NRMCA);
- National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE);
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS);
- US Green Building Council (USGBC); and
- US Resiliency Council (USRC).