Design, construction groups urge Congress to support stronger, safer built environment

May 31, 2021

Design and construction organizations are urging Congress to include funding in the infrastructure bill to enhance the resilience of buildings. Photo © BigStockPhoto.com[1]
Design and construction organizations are urging Congress to include funding in the infrastructure bill to enhance the resilience of buildings.
Photo © BigStockPhoto.com

Design and construction organizations are calling on Congress to include funding in the infrastructure bill that would enhance the resilience of the country’s buildings.

“Buildings are a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure,” said American Institute of Architects (AIA) CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. “Not just airports, train stations, and utility facilities, but also the schools where our children learn; the civic centers and hospitals where we receive essential services; and the homes where we live. The vast majority of these places are far more vulnerable to natural and manmade disasters than is acceptable.”

“We must take urgent action to fix these problems and be visionary about how we design and build new construction to withstand threats for decades to come,” Ivy said. “As we are seeing already, climate change is expected to fuel another above-average year for wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, and other severe weather. The time to act is now.”

In a letter[2] issued to Congress, the signatories emphasized disaster costs are staggering and preventable. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information[3], between 2014 and 2019, major weather- and climate-related disasters killed nearly 4000 people and caused more than $550 billion in damage. Yet with new investments to support forward-thinking planning, design, and construction, the building industry can be a leader in saving lives and reducing costs.

Organizations co-signing the letter have also released the Resilience Building Coalition’s progress report, “Preparing to Thrive[4],” outlining steps the organizations have taken in research, education, planning, advocacy, and disaster response since signing the Building Industry Statement on Resilience[5]. These activities have bolstered community resilience before, during and after disasters, and emphasize the critical need to do so across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic divisions, AIA said in a press release.

The industry letter signatories include:

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: https://www.constructionspecifier.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Opener-30.jpg
  2. letter: https://content.aia.org/sites/default/files/2021-05/RBC_Sign_on_letter_5.26.2021_FINAL.pdf
  3. National Centers for Environmental Information: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/summary-stats/US/2016-2020
  4. Preparing to Thrive: https://content.aia.org/sites/default/files/2021-04/RBC_Report_5yr.pdf
  5. Building Industry Statement on Resilience: https://www.aia.org/resources/9336-building-industry-statement-on-resilience

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