Resilience—or, if you prefer, resiliency—may be the buzz word of 2014. And why shouldn't it be, with global temperatures and sea levels on the rise, extreme weather events increasing in frequency and intensity, wide-ranging droughts lasting months or years. Preparing for and responding to natural and manmade hazards aren't just fiscally responsible—as studies have shown that every $1 spent on mitigation and prevention saves $4 on response and recovery—but an issue of health, safety, and welfare.
Now, a number of prominent industry organizations are pledging to work together to ensure that buildings are not only prepared to respond to natural and manmade hazards such as hurricanes and floods, but also that they are designed, constructed, and operated with an eye on preventing future threats. This morning, 20 industry organizations issued a joint industry statement on resilience, pledging to research design and construction best practices, educate their memberships, advocate for governmental policy changes, and respond when disasters do occur. The statement was spearheaded by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
"It is time for the building industry to tackle some of the more prominent issues facing this country," Henry Green, Hon. AIA, president of NIBS, said at a press conference announcing the industry statement. "The building industry has a responsibility to ensure that the buildings that we design, construct, operate, and maintain protect the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens."
Green was joined at the press conference by Gail Berens, senior vice president at the Urban Land Institute; Randy Fiser, executive vice president of the American Society of Interior Designers; Jason Hartke, senior vice president of the U.S. Green Building Council; Robert Ivy, FAIA, CEO of the AIA; Tim Phoenix, president-elect of ASHRAE; Michael Gardner, executive vice president of the International Code Council; Lewis (Ed) Link, a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers Critical Infrastructure Guidance Task Committee; and Nancy Somerville, executive vice president and CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Each of the attendees signed the statement on behalf of their organization. Other signatory organizations include the American Council on Engineering Companies, American Planning Association, American Society of Plumbing Engineers, Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors of American, Building Owners and Managers Association, International Interior Design Association, Lean Construction Institute, National Association of Home Builders, International Facility Management Association, National Society of Professional Engineers, and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Although many of these organizations have been pursuing resilient design strategies and best practices on their own, the industry statement represent the first joint collaboration addressing the issue, AIA CEO Robert Ivy said at the press conference.
While no specific goals were announced with the signing of the statement, such as the desire for specific legislation or joint programs, the signatories said their next step would be to spread the news of their commitment to their individual membership groups.