Emphasizing how essential America’s critical infrastructure is to our national security and economic growth, President Barack Obama has proclaimed November to be Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month.
This month and throughout the year, the National Institute of Building Sciences works on a number of projects that directly focus on achieving such goals.
Institute programs include:
The Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) – A building industry association-based council, BSSC develops nationally-applicable seismic design provisions through the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In addition, BSSC advocates practical NEHRP-based improvements to the nation’s model building codes.
The Integrated Resilient Design Program (IRDP) – The Institute established this program to focus on innovative approaches to the design, construction and operation of buildings and infrastructures that are resilient to natural and man-made disasters. The IRDP has worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate’s High Performance Integrated Design Resilience program to develop tools and resources so users can integrate resilience to reduce the impact of disruptive events and the duration of their effects. These tools include the Owner's Performance Requirements Tool and the Integrated Rapid Visual Screening Program.
The Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC) – MMC advocates reducing the total losses associated with natural and other hazards by fostering and promoting consistent and improved multihazard risk mitigation strategies, guidelines, practices, and related efforts. The Council developed the well-known "Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves” study, which found that every $1 spent on mitigation saves society an average of $4.
The WBDG Whole Building Design Guide® – WBDG is a comprehensive, Internet-based portal to a wide range of federal and private sector, building-related guidance, criteria and technology. It creatively links information across traditional professional disciplines to encourage integrated thinking and a "whole building” performance approach. The WBDG includes a comprehensive library of over 12,000 design criteria, other construction documents and executable programs from federal and private organizations, including resources on risk management, and a whole section on safety and security as a design objective.
In addition, the Institute hosts a number of events to educate the building industry on ways to improve resilience.
Upcoming events include:
Cybersecurity of Buildings Workshops – The nation’s buildings are increasingly relying on building control systems (otherwise known as operational technology) that are Internet-enabled. These systems provide critical services that allow a building to meet the functional and operational needs of building occupants, but they can also be easy targets for hackers and people with malicious intent. The Institute is hosting a two-day workshop series, the first an introductory workshop and the second an advanced workshop, to better prepare industry professionals. The next events are scheduled for December 3 and December 4.
Creating High-Performing Resilient Communities is the theme for Building Innovation 2015 – the National Institute of Building Sciences Annual Conference and Expo, to be held January 6-9, 2015, in Washington, D.C. This Conference specifically focuses on improving community resilience with all scheduled symposia addressing resilience as it applies to various building priorities.
MMC Hazard Mitigation Webinar Series – In early 2014, the MMC rolled out a series of webinars to address social considerations; governance, including building codes and zoning ordinances; the built environment; hazard and risk assessment; and economics. The webinars are free and open to the disaster community and the public. The next webinar, planned for January 2015, will address the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS).
The Institute looks forward to continued work with the Administration and the building industry to realize the goals of secure and resilient infrastructure.