Adding resilience planning in wind and seismic construction and design doesn’t need to also include an increase in costs.

What is resilience in wind and seismic construction and design?

Resilience. What comes to mind when you hear the word “resilience”? First impressions may include efficiency, pure positive energy, and improvement in direction.

One meaning for the word resilience is the capacity to recover quickly or toughness and another definition is the ability to spring back to original shape. These meanings are typically psychology-related, medically-related, or even financially-related. You have to dig further and much deeper if you are seeking a reference to environmental resiliency or to the resilient design of buildings.

The first definition for resilience fits all of these varied contexts. Whether it refers to a human being, a company, a community, or a region, resilience is the ability to recover from adversity, to return to some sense of normalcy after experiencing shock or stress, or to adapt to a changed environment. With respect to buildings and communities, resiliency is also the art of recovering from experiencing shock or stress and adapting to a change environment – whether that change is small or great.

Resilient design and sustainable design are not the same; however, they do have a lot in common. Resilient design is the intentional design of buildings, communities, and regions with the ability to respond to changes in the environment while sustainable design seeks to reduce existing negative environmental impacts.

Resilient design is a natural segue and expansion of the definition of sustainable design. For architects and engineers, it is simply another layer in the design process. For building owners, it can be an added cost, but not always – especially if the conversation occurs at the beginning of the design stage. More importantly, resiliency is the wisest investment element in their properties. Since the Christchurch, New Zealand, earthquake, more owners and developers are recognizing the need for such an investment.

Lessons from Christchurch Earthquake.

After the devastation that swept over Christchurch eight years ago, attention focused on building codes. Even though structures were built to code, they weren’t resilient. Most of the structures had to be torn down as they were also not repairable.

Codes require buildings to be structurally strong and able to withstand environmental changes without collapse. Perhaps this gives a false sense of security in believing they are also able to be repaired.

More and more professional organizations in the building industry are focusing attention on resiliency. On the design side, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) created its Disaster Assistance Program and Structural Engineers Association created its Disaster Emergency Services Committee – both of which advocate for the Architect’s or Engineer’s role in resiliency planning and direct assistance to communities through a network of experts who are available to help before, during, and after an event.

What do Architects, Engineers, and Builders need to know?

Architects, Engineers, and Builders keenly understand the obvious need for the ability to recover from a devastating event – from cleanup to repair or rebuilding – perhaps more so than the average human. Yet, what does resiliency really mean for construction and design?

Every city and community experiences environmental changes in one form or another. While natural disasters are unpredictable, they appear to be inevitable. When they do occur, they impose a devastating cost in many directions. With this understanding, it certainly seems appropriate to do everything possible in order to mitigate spiraling costs of operational failures through including products with resilient properties. If resilience increases upfront costs, a calculation has to be done to see if those costs are greater than expected losses – an economic analysis of the construction and design. Implementing resiliency strategies brings increased performance now and into the future.

The National Institute of Building Sciences created the 4-Rs of resilience in buildings:

Robustness: the ability to maintain critical operations and functions in the face of crisis. This includes the building itself, the design of the infrastructure (office buildings, power generation, distribution structures, bridges, dams, levees), or in system redundancy and substitution (transportation, power grid, communication networks).

Resourcefulness: the ability to skillfully prepare for, respond to and manage a crisis or disruption as it unfolds. This includes identifying courses of action and business continuity planning, training, supply chain management, prioritizing actions to control and mitigate damage, and effectively communicating decisions.

Rapid recovery: the ability to return to and/or reconstitute normal operations as quickly and efficiently as possible after a disruption. Components of rapid recovery include carefully drafted contingency plans, competent emergency operations, and the means to get the right people and resources to the right places.

Redundancy, is proposed as another key feature, which means that there are back-up resources to support the originals in case of failure that should also be considered when planning for resilience.

In their words: “These four resilience features are simply called the 4Rs. Resilience is multidisciplinary and needs the cooperation of different disciplines for successful outcome. Without multidisciplinary cooperation and contributions, there cannot be a successful or efficient resilient infrastructure.”

U.S. Green Building Council is also interested in resiliency as it is now part of their LEED Green Building Rating System with the inclusion of three new LEED pilot credits developed by the Resilient Design Institute. These credits are available through the design process when there is integration of resiliency into the earliest phases of building planning and design.

Additionally, USGBC announced the adoption of the RELi Resilience Rating System which was created by Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS), Capital Markets Partnership, and Perkins+Will. RELi is a stand-alone program under the LEED umbrella and includes a credit system similar to LEED but with a specific focus on issues related to resilient design.

DuraFuse Frames is pleased to be on the cutting edge of innovation and provides simple, yet impressive options for resilient building. These innovative moment frame products protect beams and columns with a shear-yielding bottom fuse plate that is the ONLY part which needs to be replaced following a severe event. When the event is less, ZERO repairs are needed. This means little to no downtime before being able to resume normal operations. Additionally, in comparison to other steel moment frames, DuraFuse Frames products require no added upfront costs; rather, they result in delightful savings for most cases.

In a fast-paced world, this is excellent news.

LinkedIn | October 15, 2019

Patricia Johnson | Vice President, Marketing

Patricia holds a triple major Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Communications, Political Science, and English. Patricia is responsible for marketing, public relations, and community outreach.