Building Sciences authority links construction codes to resiliency

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NIBS officials examine three primary mechanisms behind methods to incentivize investment in resilience strategies: federal grant programs; insurance premium discounts for implementing measures to reduce vulnerability; and, the political will of communities. While they have provided a level of resilience, they have taken the nation only so far, as a charting of damage from extreme weather events the past 35 years shows. A pdf of the white paper, prepared with input from Portland Cement Association, can be obtained at

A leader in building design and construction policies, the National Institute of Building Sciences (NBIS), recognized codes as a component of resiliency at its annual conference in Washington, D.C. The event saw the release of a white paper, Developing Pre-Disaster Resilience Based on Public and Private Incentivization, stemming from a years-long effort by the NBIS Multi-Hazard Mitigation Council Committee.

Portland Cement Association contributed to the paper by encouraging federal and state governments to influence local government to employ resilience principals in codes and standards through pre-disaster and post-disaster incentives. Two specific sections could lead to the creation of opportunities for concrete and masonry solutions: “Local upgrades to building codes or adoption of ordinances” and “Stronger state-wide building codes.”

A quasi-government entity, NBIS influences national policy on building design and construction, develops building guides, provides access to design and construction information, and develops recommended provisions for standards and code change proposals. In addition to the conference spotlight on codes and resiliency, the NBIS Sustainable Buildings Industry Council recognized the 2015 Beyond Green High-Performance Building and Community Award-winning projects. The Honor Award, the top prize in the High-Performance Buildings Category, went to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City for its sustainable renovation project.

The United Nations Capital Master plan called for a complete renovation of the New York City headquarters. The renovation had three major goals: to serve as an example for sustainable renovation projects; preserve the historic nature of the facility; and bring the facility up to current building code levels.

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