Sponsored by McGraw-Hill Construction and Engineering News Record with partners ASCE and the National Building Museum the "Mitigating Disaster Through Design and Construction Conference - Planning and Building for Resiliency" brought together leaders from the disaster mitigation, construction, planning, insurance fields and building owners to hear presentations and discuss actions that can be taken at the national and local levels to strengthen disaster resiliency in the built environment.
175 leaders from these communities participated in the two day program in Washington, D.C.. Keynote speakers include Deputy Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administrator, Sandra Knight, Ph.D, P.E. form FEMA and Oregon Congressman Early Blumenauer. Five panel sessions cover topics that include: "Searching for Common Ground: Creating Common Risk Assessment Methodologies & Standards; "How Planning, Codes & Standards Can Help Mitigation Succeed,""Sustainability & Natural Hazard Mitigation," Incentive *& Disincentive Programs that Encourage Risk Mitigation and Resilience," and "Taking the Philosophy of Resilience into Practice."
FIATECH Streamlining Project Manager, Robert Wible, served as opening speaker and moderator for the Planning, Codes & Standards Panel. Among the members of his panel were Black & Veatch Vice President and former White House Senior Fellow, John Voeller; ICC Vice President and former FEMA Mitigation Director, Michael Armstrong; Spencer Rogers, Coastal Construction & Erosion Specialist, North Carolina Sea Grant Program; Scott Tezak, Program Manager Infrastructure & Risk Assessment, URS Corporation and James Schwab, Manager, APA Hazards Planning Research Center, American Planning Association.
In his presentation at the conference Robert Wible described the need for closer coordination between public and private sector in addressing disaster mitigation and resiliency and other emergency codes and standards issues (including sustainability and energy conservation) in a more cohesive manner to increase the cost benefit to building owners and developers to incorporate resiliency into the building construction and renovation projects. He also noted advances in the application of information technology and regulatory streamlining to make communities more disaster resilient. Information on several FIATECH Streamlining efforts including the ICC Guideline for Replicable Buildings and the new Proof of Concept effort to develop a automated plan checking tools based upon the ICC family of codes were provided to attendees.
Presentations during the second day concentrated on building owners and insurance industry perspectives on the benefits of building above code to include greater disaster resiliency in both the siting and the construction of buildings and taking a multi-hazard approach towards disaster mitigation.
Highlights from those presentations included the following statements:
At the close of the conference recommendations from a number of participants including FIATECH’s Robert Wible, resulted in ENR working with panelists and speakers in developing a series of recommendations concerning future Federal, state and local government and private sector actions to enhance disaster resiliency throughout the nation.
Recommendations that are gathered will be included in a report being prepared to the U.S. Congress by ENR and McGraw-Hill on the March 2-3 conference. That report is scheduled to be issued in May.