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Operating in today’s new “normal” – what you need to know

Posted By Christine Cube, Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 30, 2020

All eyes are on the COVID-19 situation, watching things unfold.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), different parts of the country are seeing different levels of COVID-19 activity.

“The duration and severity of each pandemic phase can vary depending on the characteristics of the virus and the public health response,” the CDC reports, on its situation summary.

The National Institute of Building Sciences continues to closely monitor the situation, particularly as it relates to the built environment and how it affects the industry and our people.

Our chief concerns are those affected – those in self-quarantine, the health care and law enforcement officials on the front lines, critical infrastructure trades officials who must report to work to keep things running smoothly, the businesses whose operations must cease, and the children and students whose institutions have closed.

NIBS will continue to bring experts to the table, as we grapple with this new reality and face head-on what’s needed as it relates to off-site construction and any other resources needed to keep the built environment safe, healthy, and sustainable.

Who’s considered critical infrastructure during this time?

There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets and systems are considered so vital to the U.S. that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, public health, or safety.

essential


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) identifies these sectors as chemical, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, and energy, among others.

Bloomberg has reported how power and gas utilities are keeping energy flowing. For example, there’s no working from home for control room staff, who must physically be present to keep systems operating.

Even The Hill reported that the U.S. power industry may ask essential staff to sleep on site, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow.

“Electric power plants are considered ‘critical infrastructure’ by the federal government, meaning as local and state governments impose shutdowns, they will still have to go to work,” the Hill reports.

Industry trade groups and electric cooperatives have said that companies are stockpiling beds, blankets, and food for those employees.

Also critical: water and wastewater systems

Safe drinking water is a prerequisite for protecting public health and all human activity, says CISA.  

“Properly treated wastewater is vital for preventing disease and protecting the environment,” it says. “Thus, ensuring the supply of drinking water and wastewater treatment and service is essential to modern life and the nation’s economy.”

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials recognizes the announcement that plumbers fall into the category of “essential critical infrastructure workers.”

In an initial list of critical infrastructure workers, CISA Director Christopher C. Krebs said these folks would help “state and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”

There are approximately 153,000 public drinking water systems and more than 16,000 publicly owned wastewater treatment systems in the United States, according to CISA. More than 80 percent of the U.S. population receives their potable water from these drinking water systems, and about 75 percent of the U.S. population has its sanitary sewerage treated by these wastewater systems.

Are there small business loans available?

The answer is yes.

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

There’s also the Paycheck Protection Program, which prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

Under this program, eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount. Loan payments will be deferred for 6 months.

Nonprofits eligible for financial help

A coalition of 40 of the nation’s largest charities asked lawmakers for $60 billion in COVID-19 pandemic relief and economic stimulus, The NonProfit Times reports.

On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was passed by Congress, and it included a universal charitable deduction as part of the COVID-19 stimulus relief.

This creates a new above-the-line deduction that applies to all taxpayers for total charitable contributions of up to $300, The NonProfit Times reports. The incentive applies to donations made in 2020 and would be claimed on tax forms next year.

“Nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees will be eligible for $10 million in Emergency Small Business Loans (emergency SBA 7(a) loans),” the Times reports. “The loans can cover costs of payroll, operations, and debt service, and provides that loans be forgiven in whole or in part under certain circumstances, according to guidance from the National Council of Nonprofits. The loans would be eligible to be turned into grants.”

We will continue to stay on top of this story. For more information, visit https://www.nibs.org/. You can also follow us @bldgsciences on Twitter or on Facebook.

Tags:  COVID-19 

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World Water Day: It’s important to consider the role of infrastructure.

Posted By Christine Cube, Monday, March 23, 2020
Updated: Sunday, March 22, 2020

WWD

March 22 officially was World Water Day.

It reminds us of the strong link between water and climate change.

Adapting to the water effects of climate change will protect health and save lives, says United Nations Water (UN-Water), which coordinates the efforts of UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues.

WWD infographicEveryone has a role to play, and in the built environment, it’s our infrastructure that brings water in to our homes and cities.

Using water more efficiently will reduce greenhouse gases.

Consider these facts, from the Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves study:

·       Lifeline retrofit. Society relies on tele­communications, roads, power, water, and other lifelines. Case studies show that upgrading lifelines to better resist disasters helps our economy and society. A lifeline retrofit saves society $4 for every $1 invested.

·       One leading option for natural hazard mitigation of utilities and transportation infrastructure includes replacing specific water supply pipeline segments to create a “resilient water-supply grid” that better resists earthquakes. There currently are at least 2 West Coast water utilities designing a resilient grid. The Mitigation Saves team estimates this measure would save up to $8 per $1 spent, depending on local seismic hazard.

·       Mitigation measures. There are affordable and cost-effective strategies that policymakers, building owners, and the building industry can deploy to reduce the impacts of natural disasters. Strategies include adopting and strengthening building codes, upgrading existing buildings, and improving utilities and transportation systems. U.S. disaster losses from wind, floods, earthquakes, and fires now average $100 billion per year. In 2017, it exceeded $300 billion.

·       Above-code design could save $4 per $1 cost. Building codes set minimum requirements to protect life safety. Stricter requirements can cost-effectively boost life safety and speed functional recovery.

These are just a few things to keep in mind as we build a more resilient and sustainable built environment.

Ultimately, if we take care of our infrastructure, it’ll lead to stronger systems when disaster strikes. And in doing that, we do more for the greater goal of responsible water usage.

Want to learn more? Visit https://www.nibs.org/. Let’s be social! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

Tags:  infrastructure 

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#IWD2020: Celebrating Women’s Achievement and Raising Awareness About Continued Bias

Posted By Christine Cube, Friday, March 6, 2020

International Women’s Day is March 8.

According to the IWD site, “The race is on for the gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, more gender equality in health and wealth.”

This has been a work in progress over several years, but we’re not there yet. Women’s equality is not just a women’s issue. It’s an everybody issue.

Recent news reports have found women constantly work against big barriers, from being underrepresented in New York’s construction sector to female firefighters in California and New Zealand who must wear uniforms made for men. Even Forbes has reported that women in STEM leave the field twice as often as men do and released a piece on 9 ways to recruit and promote women in STEM.

Recently, the National Institute of Building Sciences wrote about #GirlDay2020, which aims to inspire youth entering into STEM careers. We found this type of education needs to start early.


It’s Time

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, fewer than 5 percent of skilled construction jobs are held by women. The Society of Women Engineers reports that just 13 percent of engineers are women.

An equal world is an enabled world, says International Women’s Day. But, how do you help forge a gender equal world? It starts with celebrating women’s achievement and raising awareness against bias.

Taking action.

In recent months, the NIBS board of directors approved gender-neutral bylaws. This is just one step of many.

Last fall, NIBS hosted female leaders from across the built environment to network and discuss industry issues, diversity, and thought leadership at the Women Executives in Building (WEB) Summit. The event drew dozens of association leaders to talk about challenges and address possible solutions.


Welcome to WEB

On Sept. 23, we plan to host the next WEB event in Nashville.  The details still are coming together.

For the inaugural summit, the NIBS team hand-picked the executives to attend. Going forward, the event will be open to female business owners and C-suite leaders across the built environment.

Stay tuned. For questions about this event, contact Jennifer Hitzke at jhitzke@nibs.org.

Want to learn more? Visit https://www.nibs.org/. Let’s be social! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

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It’s #GirlDay2020 – A Day to Recognize that Inspiration in STEM Starts Early

Posted By Christine Cube, ccube@nibs.org, Thursday, February 20, 2020

girl day 2020

Happy #GirlDay2020!

Inspiring today’s youth to enter into STEM careers begins with education, and it must start early.

According to the Society of Women Engineers, just 13 percent of engineers are women. More than 32 percent of women switch out of STEM degree programs in college, and 30 percent of women who have left the engineering profession cite organizational climate as the reason.

Thankfully, the tides are changing with regard to higher education: Since 2012, there’s been a 58 percent increase in bachelor’s degrees awarded to women in engineering and computer science. Further, 6.1 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering were awarded to women of color.

GirlDay2020 is a program of DiscoverE, which “works to ensure people everywhere understand how engineers, technicians, and technologists make the world a better place.” The organization mobilizes and supports the engineering and technology volunteering communities. It also provides engineering activities for kids and students.

The GirlDay2020 program is part of EWeek, which runs from Feb. 16-22. EWeek was founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951. It’s dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.

Formally, EWeek is a coalition of more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and 50+ corporations and government agencies. Every year, EWeek reaches thousands of schools, businesses, and community groups across the country.

Tackling workforce issues at BI2020

At the National Institute of Building Sciences, we’re putting the finishing touches on our speaker lineup and educational sessions for the Building Innovation 2020 Conference & Expo.

We have an entire day dedicated to workforce, which is being affected across the board in the built environment. It starts with a labor shortage and not finding enough skilled workers to fill job openings.

Among the highlights of the BI2020 sessions is one being led by Marjan Sadeghi, a VDC Engineer at VIATechnik. Sadeghi holds a doctorate in construction engineering and management, and she has a background in civil engineering.

Her session is entitled Extending Virtual Design and Construction for Facilities Management.

This talk will look at the power of computational building information models (BIMs) in facilitating automated workflows to generate data-rich FM deliverables, retrieve and verify model data for the transition to FM systems, and carry out analysis for downstream FM tasks.

Building Innovation 2020 is scheduled for April 6-9. It’s a premiere event for the built environment that brings together innovators, government leaders, public and private sector representatives, and officials from building and construction. Register today to attend.

In other news, here’s another date to put on your calendar: March 4. It’s World Engineering Day. 

Tags:  workforce 

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Dell Technologies Named Exclusive Technology Day Sponsor for Building Innovation 2020

Posted By Christine Cube, ccube@nibs.org, Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Dell Technologies will sponsor Technology Day (April 8), the third official day of the Building Innovation 2020 Conference and Expo.

As the exclusive Technology Day sponsor, Dell will showcase the latest in virtual reality, gaming consoles, and solutions to the technological challenges in the built environment.

In addition to supporting the Building Innovation conference, Dell also has signed on to offer members of the National Institute of Building Sciences exclusive savings on Dell products. Discounts can be found at www.dell.com/nibs.

Among the promotions, Dell is offering a coupon to NIBS members, allowing an extra 5% off all Dell desktops, notebooks, servers, electronics, and accessories. This is in addition to current promotions, so members can use more than one coupon for even greater savings.

BI2020 is scheduled for April 6-9. It’s a premiere event for the built environment that brings together innovators, government leaders, public and private sector representatives, and officials from building and construction.

The event takes place at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel. Register today to attend.

Want to learn more? Visit https://www.nibs.org/. Let’s be social! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

 

Tags:  BI2020  Conferences 

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NIBS and GSA Kick Off Third Year of Federal Building Post Occupancy Evaluations

Posted By Stephanie Stubbs, Program Director, Facility Lifecycle Management, NIBS, Monday, February 10, 2020
Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2020

Pictured, from left: GSA Lead Program Specialist for Facilities Operations Mike Malane, Office of Facilities Management; GSA Architect Sean Garrett, Office of Design and Construction; Architect David Asofsky, Delta Engineers, Architects, and Landscape Surveyors; Team Leader Earle Kennett; Mechanical Engineer Ken Schram, RG Vanderweil Engineers; Lighting Engineer Nancy Clanton, Clanton & Associates; and Building Enclosure Engineer Matt Farmer, Wiss Janney Elstner. (Photo by Nancy Clanton)

This week, the NIBS and General Services Administration (GSA) Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) team performed their first site visit for 2020 to the Marcelino Serna Land Port of Entry in El Paso, Texas.

NIBS staff, its subject matter experts, and GSA leadership will blend their multidisciplinary expertise to analyze conditions at 6 additional federal buildings this year. The goal is to create a Lessons Learned summary evaluation for GSA to use for federal buildings going forward.

Want to learn more? Visit https://www.nibs.org/. Let’s be social! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

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“I’d Like to Attend Building Innovation 2020. Will I Earn AIA and ICC Credits?” The Answer is Yes!

Posted By Christine Cube, Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A big part of today’s meetings and conventions is the opportunity to earn continuing education credits, while learning more about the industry.

That’s why the National Institute of Building Sciences has partnered with the American Institute of Architects and International Code Council to make easier some of the credit-earning potential.

Attendees at the Building Innovation 2020 Conference and Expo in April can earn up to 19 AIA-approved continuing education system/health safety welfare credits, over 4 days, for full-conference attendance. If you’re an engineer, you know that many licensing bodies accept AIA credits as part of various continuing education programs.

Can’t attend the entire conference? Here’s more on the breakdown of AIA CES/HSW credits: Each day of the conference focuses on a specific theme – resilience, technology, or workforce. Every day holds a set number of CES/HSW credits that can be earned.

Additionally, we’re hammering out details now with ICC about CEU credits and how they’ll be allotted for Building Innovation attendance. Stay tuned for more information.

BI2020 is scheduled for April 6-9. It’s a premiere event for the built environment that brings together innovators, government leaders, public and private sector representatives, and officials from building and construction.

Building Innovation takes place at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel. Register today to attend.

Want to learn more? Visit https://www.nibs.org/. Let’s be social! We’re @bldgsciences on Twitter, or you can find us on Facebook.

Tags:  BI2020  conferences 

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Building Synergy in Disaster Recovery

Posted By Keith Porter, Vice Chair, Multihazard Mitigation Council, Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Porter TX GLO Conference
Figure 1. 2019 National Disaster Recovery Conference. Left to right: Keith Porter (author), Donald Leifheit Jr (FEMA), Michael Ku (FEMA), Gabriel Maser (ICC), and Jim Olk (Cities of Lucas, Texas, and Garland, Texas).

Why does synergy matter in disaster recovery, and who needs to be involved?

A panel recently addressed this, during a meeting organized by the International Code Council for a conference of the Texas General Land Office in Austin, Texas. The discussion focused on (1) building-code development (including applied research to quantify the value of modern building codes), (2) federal financial support for building-code adoption and enforcement, and (3) the role of state and local governments in actually adopting and enforcing codes.

Think of these aspects as three legs of a stool to promote disaster resilience, reduce future losses, and thereby speed recovery.

I presented the contribution of applied research to disaster recovery.

Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves shows through benefit-cost analysis that resilience is affordable, adding perhaps 1% to the construction cost of a new building to provide freeboard. (The first floor of a new code-compliant building commonly has 1 to 2 feet of elevation above the base flood elevation, that is, the flooding level with 1% exceedance probability in a year.)

Code compliance saves more than it costs, on average $6 for flood compliance per $1 added cost. It can be cost effective to build even higher: 5 feet of freeboard saves an additional $5 per $1 of added construction cost.

To recover from disasters quickly, probably the best approach is to avoiding losses in the first place.

The International Code Council offered more evidence that building codes promote resilient communities.  ICC’s Gabriel Maser showed how the Florida Building Code reduced windstorm losses by 72%, and how I-Codes in general reduced damage from hail by 10-20% in Missouri and reduced insurance by 90% after Hurricane Harvey.

But enforcement is critical: Maser argued that lax enforcement may have added $16 billion to losses in Dade County after Hurricane Andrew. (Lax enforcement is believed to greatly have aggravated losses outside of Anchorage, Alaska, after an earthquake there on November 30, 2018.) Evidence from Moore, Oklahoma shows that strong codes do not appear to affect sales price or volume, and can increase resale value: 6% for hurricane shutters, 4% for tornado shelters.

But information alone about the cost effectiveness on code adoption and enforcement does little for disaster recovery. Local communities must be able to afford to adopt and enforce the code.

FEMA representatives Donald Leifheit and Michael Ku explained that the Disaster Recovery and Reform Act of 2018 allows the federal government to provide pre- and post-disaster assistance to state and local governments to adopt and enforce the two most recent editions of I-codes, including 6 months of wages for new building inspectors.

So plenty of evidence shows that modern codes save lives and money and promote resilience, in recognition of which FEMA is offering incentives for local communities to adopt and enforce modern codes.

What about the third leg of the resilience stool: the state and local governments that adopt codes and inspect buildings? Jim Olk, mayor of Lucas, Texas and chief building official of Garland, Texas pointed out that disasters start and end locally.

Texas, like a few other home-rule states, leaves code adoption to local governments, and in many of those communities, people distrust government and regulation, and resent the costs associated with enforcement. That distrust and resentment allows builders to successfully argue against code adoption and enforcement. The third leg often is weak. 

Tags:  mitigation  mitigation saves  resilience 

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Flood Economics of Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves

Posted By Keith Porter, Vice Chair, Multihazard Mitigation Council, Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Mitigation Saves

When it comes to protecting your home against flood, mitigation saves homeowners time and money.

This was the crux of a recent panel presentation that I participated in, during the Strengthening Coastal Counties Resilience Workshop in South Padre Island, Texas. The workshop was arranged by the National Association of Counties (NACo), with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as part of a project to help counties think through how to improve resilience.

Keith PorterI represented the Multihazard Mitigation Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences in the panel to a workshop of officials of Gulf and Atlantic coastal counties.

I talked about the economics of flood mitigation, drawing lessons from Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves.

The Mitigation Saves study shows that people can afford to build freeboard (a requirement in modern building codes that wasn’t there in 1990) into new buildings in riverine floodplains. It also shows that more freeboard costs more up front, but ultimately lowers the long-term cost of ownership.

How do we know that? Mitigation Saves demonstrates that building a foot of freeboard saves an average of $6 per additional $1 of construction cost. The study also shows that building 5 feet of freeboard rather than 1 foot saves another $5 in avoided future losses per $1 of added construction cost. The initial freeboard costs on the order of $3 per square foot of floorplan, but saves $18 per square foot—which lowers the long-term cost of ownership by $15 per square foot. Adding another 4 feet adds about the same cost and saves about $15 per square foot, which saves another $12 per square foot.

Why would these benefit-cost ratios matter to the county officials NACo assembled? One reason is that people tend to talk to local officials about construction costs solely in terms of first costs—the portion of the ownership cost that the initial buyers pay up front—forgetting that ownership costs don’t end when the developer hands you the front door keys.

If a new house has a poor roof, no freeboard, or bad insulation, the low initial cost represents a false economy. Low first costs can be very expensive. It helps county officials to think about code adoption and enforcement in terms of long-term ownership cost, rather than just first costs.

The panel also included FEMA’s Deputy Assistant Administrator Angela Gladwell and Moody’s Investor Services Vice President Adebola Kushimo. Gladwell presented FEMA’s newly released National Mitigation Investment Strategy. Kushimo explained how a county’s resilience can affect its credit rating.

NIBS soon will release the 2019 edition of Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves. NIBS and MMC hope to continue to expand the study. For example, we would like to address the benefits and costs of business continuity planning and disaster recovery (BCP/DR), direct action by government entities such as hurricane warnings and flood-control measures, and restoring disaster-damaged buildings and lifelines to a higher performance level than they had before the disaster (called building back better). We also hope to use the study to inform the construction of new financial mechanisms that incentivize owners to do mitigation by having lenders, insurers, and governments share some of the co-benefits of mitigation back to the owner, potentially reducing the owner’s total cost of ownership below that of less-resilient design.

For more information, visit nibs.org. 

Tags:  flood  mitigation  mitigation saves 

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NIBS Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves study discussed at ICC Annual Meeting

Posted By Keith Porter, Multihazard Mitigation Council Vice Chair, Monday, November 18, 2019

The International Code Council recently held its 2019 annual conference in Las Vegas.

As part of ICC’s government relations forum during a panel called Up-to-Date Building Codes Provide Significant Mitigation Savings, I discussed aspects of the Multihazard Mitigation Council’s study Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves. The panel also included Jeff Czajkowski, of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and Kevin Simmons, of Austin College, who spoke about related topics.

The 2019 edition of Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves updates the 2005 benefit-cost analysis of the same name, but addresses a much broader suite of mitigation measures: adopting up-to-date codes, exceeding codes, private-sector building retrofit, retrofitting transportation and utility infrastructure, and public-sector retrofit. The study addressed aspects of up-to-date codes having to do with greater flood freeboard relative to 1990-era codes, increases in seismic strength and stiffness, defensible space and fire-resistive materials, and various strength and detailing requirements for wind.

The panel agreed that up-to-date codes are affordable. For example, new buildings are 50% stronger and stiffer in resisting seismic forces than a generation ago for only about 1% greater construction cost, and for an even smaller percentage of first price. The reason is that the structural materials associated with lateral strength account for only about 2% of the construction cost of a new building, which itself in some cases only represents one-third of first price including land.

The public prefers and is willing to pay for resilient buildings: I cited a scholarly public-opinion survey performed for the USGS’s HayWired scenario. Simmons cited the example of Moore, Oklahoma’s enhanced wind provisions and the fact that the enhanced provisions had no effect on Moore’s housing market.

One can dispense with the objection that private-sector owners commonly decline to exceed code in new buildings by recognizing that building owners have supported mandatory, across-the-board code enhancements that keep the playing field level, whereas voluntary enhancement disadvantages the owner who opts for it relative to neighbors who do not.

Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves includes a wide variety of benefit categories in the numerator of the benefit-cost ratio: reductions in property damage, business interruption, additional living expenses, deaths, injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, the overhead and profit portions of insurance premiums, and some environmental benefits. The study also quantified new jobs and savings to the federal treasury, although to avoid double-counting, these benefits are not included in the numerator of the benefit-cost ratio.

I acknowledged the unfulfilled desire to include other intangibles: pets, peace of mind, memorabilia, culture, and protection of disadvantaged populations.

CFIRE member Tim Ryan pointed out, to general agreement, that code enhancements are fairly useless without the political will to enforce codes, which he argued shows no sign of growth.

One way to measure the value of a building under varying levels of resilience is to estimate the cost of ownership: the first cost, which increases with design requirements such as seismic strength, plus future repair costs, which generally decrease with increasing design requirements. The sum is the total cost of ownership. If one plots the first cost, future loss, and total cost of ownership as curves on an x-y chart where x measures strength (or other measure of design requirements), the total cost of ownership tends to have a U shape, with a lowest y-value (called a local minimum) indicating what one can call an optimal design level.

Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves shows that in many places, for many perils, current code is not at that optimal point, but rather produces a false economy in terms of lower first cost but higher total cost of ownership.

The report shows that the last 30 years of code development costs America about $1 billion per year in higher first cost, but saves society $13 billion in the long run for every year of new construction. But an optimal, future code could save America an additional $16 billion for every year of new construction, for an added first cost of $4 billion.

The panel generally agreed that society benefits when it adopts and enforces up-to-date codes, and that engineers, economists, building officials, code writers, insurance commissioners, and other building professionals all have an interest and a role to play in promoting up-to-date codes and future code enhancements.

The National Institute of Building Sciences soon will release the 2019 edition of Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves. NIBS and MMC hope to continue to expand the study. For example, we would like to address the benefits and costs of business continuity planning and disaster recovery (BCP/DR), direct action by government entities such as hurricane warnings and flood-control measures, and restoring disaster-damaged buildings and lifelines to a higher performance level than they had before the disaster (called building back better). We also hope to use the study to inform the construction of new financial mechanisms that incentivize owners to do mitigation by having lenders, insurers, and governments share some of the co-benefits of mitigation back to the owner, potentially reducing the owner’s total cost of ownership below that of less-resilient design.

For the latest edition of Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves, see www.nibs.org/page/mitigationsaves

Tags:  Conferences  mitigation  mitigation saves 

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