As we’ve seen in recent years, bad weather can hit just about any part of the United States. Add to that all the publicity about climate change and you can see why disaster mitigation is top of mind in government and in the insurance industry.
It’s getting to be a hot topic in construction as well.
Whether you believe in climate change or not, There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the planet is warming and because of it, weather is getting more and more unpredictable. Carbon-dioxide levels in the atomosphere are rising and trapping more heat and feeding weather systems such hurricaines or tornados. Such additional heat is enabling not only those but many other types of weather systems to become more and more extreme.
Economic losses in the US because of natural disasters have been increasing from $528 Billion in the 1980’s and 90’s to well over $1.2 Trillion already in the 2000-2010’s and our decade isn’t over yet.
These days, it is natural for home and building owners to be more concerned about the ability of their building to withstand severe weather damage. Not only because of the physical threat to human life, but also the material costs and losses.
To some extent, building codes are being changed to mitigate the threat. The 2015 International Building Code now references special design provisions for Wind and Seismic standards (SDPWS) put out by the American Wood Council. These detail how to make engineered wood systems better at resisting the lateral forces caused by winds and earthquakes.
Some municipalities, such as Berkeley, CA are offering tax incentives for home-owners to adopt disaster mitigation measures such as installing shear walls to increase resistance to seismic activity.
You may not be located in an area where there have been disaster mitigation initiatives but it may be worth your while to look into how you could offer extra protection in your projects. Whether people talk about it or not, given the weather these days, disaster mitigation can certainly be considered a legitimate value-add.
What does TRIFORCE® open joist have to do with all of this? It’s part of a lateral force resisting system. We’ll talk about that in more specific detail in a later post.