Senate advances resilient building practice via Water Resources Development Act

Sources: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

Leading into the mid-May passage of the Water Resources Development Act (S. 601), NRMCA commended Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) for an amendment requiring the National Academy of Sciences and Government Accountability Office to study and provide recommendations on how to use resilient building techniques in disaster response.

“We’ve learned many valuable lessons over the years as communities try to recover by rebuilding after natural disasters, most recently in the Northeast from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy,” says NRMCA President Robert Garbini. “We applaud Senators Nelson and Blunt for their leadership on this issue.”

Representing constituents who are no strangers to catastrophic weather events, they introduced the Resilient Construction Amendment as the Senate took up a water resources bill, which the Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) passed in March. Approved by unanimous consent, the amendment allows for a better understanding of measures that can be taken during construction to ensure homes are able to withstand potentially damaging storms—to federal and local taxpayers’ ultimate benefit.

EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) noted a strong level of support on both sides of the aisle for policy favoring resilient construction techniques, adding, “We are going to make sure that as we enter a phase of extreme weather situations that we have used the best materials on these projects.”

“As we learned in the wake of numerous tornadoes, flooding, and droughts in Missouri, it’s important that we use federal dollars wisely when it comes to disaster preparedness and response,” says Senator Blunt. Resilient Construction and another WRDA amendment for dredging of small, inland Mississippi River ports, he contends, “are a step in the right direction to ensure we’re using taxpayer dollars wisely to prepare for the future.”

Strong, stable building has the potential to greatly mitigate damages caused by storms and other natural disasters, according to NRMCA and other proponents of resilient practice. Homes and businesses that can withstand disasters protect occupants during storms, and as more disaster-resilient buildings are built, there will be less debris to cause additional damage. Defining resilient construction and adding it to National Academy of Sciences and the Government Accountability Office study targets will improve disaster preparedness.