15 Replies Latest reply on Sep 27, 2017 3:32 AM by Brian Stoppee

    Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?

    Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

      2017 has been the year North Americans have seen it all: earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and all the other mean weather that should only live in the minds of science fiction writers. We have seen death, destruction, and unimaginable suffering.

       

      Some newer, well-engineered buildings survive well, while others become rubble. Decades of engineering research has gone into designing structures which are better prepared for high risk situations. So, why has it not been implemented on a more wide-spread basis?

       

      International Building Code is updated almost annually. Research universities are constantly engineering new disaster solutions. But, if the building code exists, is it being implemented?

       

      Well, that depends. But, depends on what?

       

      When you want to build a new home, one step is to go to a local government office and get a building permit. That’s where building codes are implemented. But, as the saying goes, “All politics is local.” So, if local government doesn’t adopt the new codes, they are not implemented. Canada, the United States, and Mexico have close to 100 states, provinces, and territories. Many codes come into those states’ offices and get passed to the municipal level. And, in North America, we have over 10,000 of those municipalities. That’s a bunch of needed implementation.

       

      What can you do? Maybe you can make a personal inquiry to your local building office, or maybe you can encourage a local media outlet to do some investigation for you.

       

      Talk about it as if this is a matter of life and death.

       

      It is.

        • 1. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
          Nancy OShea Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          https://forums.adobe.com/people/Brian+Stoppee  wrote

           

          Well, that depends. But, depends on what?

          Money.   Why do you think the hardest hit areas are often situated in the poorest & oldest neighborhoods?  A newly constructed home built to withstand a category 5 hurricane or a Richter 7 quake is going to cost more to buy than an older home.  

          • 2. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
            Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

            https://forums.adobe.com/people/Nancy+OShea  wrote

             

            https://forums.adobe.com/people/Brian+Stoppee   wrote

             

            Well, that depends. But, depends on what?

            Money.   Why do you think the hardest hit areas are often situated in the poorest & oldest neighborhoods?  A newly constructed home built to withstand a category 5 hurricane or a Richter 7 quake is going to cost more to buy than an older home.  

             

            Another factor is the financial health or priority levels of the municipal government. Instituting the new building codes require staff training and sometimes additional staffing.

             

            Also, when older buildings (residential and commercial) are renovated, those structures are no longer "grandfather" and new building codes apply. So, some governments may choose not to adopt the new safer code, possibility as a result of constituent complaints. (Yes. Once your home, office, school, or hospital is destroyed that becomes a different level of complaints, especially if loved ones are lost.)

            • 3. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
              John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              I have NO IDEA about the practice in the US, but this article says there are problems of code enforcement in Mexico Mexico City Quake Jolts Complacency Over Code Enforcement - The New York Times

               

              I know that when we built our last house (Clark County WA) we had a large "window wall" on the back of the house, and we had to have a welded I beam frame up each side and across the top to strengthen that wall for earthquake protection

              • 4. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                Nancy OShea Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I wonder how many single family homes are re-modeled without permits or inspections.   I think the number is fairly high. 

                • 5. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                  Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                  https://forums.adobe.com/people/Nancy+OShea  wrote

                   

                  I wonder how many single family homes are re-modeled without permits or inspections.   I think the number is fairly high. 

                   

                  That's another one which varies. Some states have different requirements for what construction work you can do without a license much less a permit and inspection.

                   

                  It reminds me of the film "Witness" where Harrison Ford's character, Detective John Book, is at an Amish home and the grandfather, Eli Lapp, says to Book something like, "I don't like your laws," and Book responds with something like, "I can't tell you how often I hear that."

                  • 6. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                    Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                    https://forums.adobe.com/people/John+T+Smith  wrote

                     

                    I have NO IDEA about the practice in the US, but this article says there are problems of code enforcement in Mexico Mexico City Quake Jolts Complacency Over Code Enforcement - The New York Times

                     

                    That IS a great article. John. Thank you. It's the kind of thing Janet & I had been looking for. As it says Mexico (North America) has the best building code in the world. How's implemented doesn't always work well.

                    • 7. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                      Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                      it works the other way as well guys... a client with NEW way to build will run into red tape because it doesn't match what head office thinks is up to standard.

                       

                      this senario is very common in software as well i.e, new hardware | systems get reported as not up to min-specs because they are not on some out dated list

                       

                      thats why we have a local gov to step in and say no to bs rules from on high and its also why all coders think in terms of work arounds

                      • 8. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                        Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                        Ussnorway  wrote

                         

                        it works the other way as well guys... a client with NEW way to build will run into red tape because it doesn't match what head office thinks is up to standard.

                         

                        What kind of "NEW way" comes to mind?

                        • 9. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                          Ussnorway Adobe Community Professional

                          just in the town where I live;

                          • plant weeds to repair the land... it stops soil getting washed away and turns worthless land into good land in 5 years

                          reason given to stop it = looks untidy (to have weeds?) instead of dirt mind you

                          • extra concrete to save power bills... this is well established pratice

                          reason given to stop it = that type of building needs concrete X thick and the THICK clerks assume having more must be bad because the book they are reading the rules from doesn't mention having more

                          • build a school on land donated to build it on

                          reason given to stop it = the map in Canberia (about 1000 k away as the crow flys) lists the area as a flood risk... obviously the people that have lived here for generations are unaware that area flooded back in the dream time?

                           

                          my fav example I encountered was in the year 2000 when I went to get my licence renewed... I have a HCR witch is Heavy combination and ride (motorbikes) but they tried to give me just a HC because their system said my ride part expired in the year 1900

                           

                          I asked to speak to the boss and when this genius realised I looked pretty good for someone at least 120 years old and I wasn't going to just accept this because the computer says so, he said to me, and I quote "I could ring head office and see if they made a mistake?"

                          • 10. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                            Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                            Ussnorway  wrote

                             

                            just in the town where I live;

                            • plant weeds to repair the land... it stops soil getting washed away and turns worthless land into good land in 5 years

                            reason given to stop it = looks untidy (to have weeds?) instead of dirt mind you

                             

                            This is curious. You have my attention.

                             

                            In what part of the planet do you live?

                            • 12. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                              Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                              What a beautiful place. Thank you.

                               

                              My knowledge of building code in Europe is zero.

                               

                              Ussnorway  wrote

                               

                              https://forums.adobe.com/people/Brian+Stoppee   wrote

                               

                              In what part of the planet do you live?

                              Google Maps

                              • 13. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                                Chuck Uebele Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                Yep all depends on money, location, types of disasters that can happen, and the frequency that they might happen. Here in the South Bay of Los Angeles, various codes are updated as needed. One of the update was that houses had to be bolted to their foundation. This happened after the 1934 Long Beach earthquake of 6.4. Any remodeling on a home will require that the house be retrofitted with foundation bolts. Business are required retrofitting of building made of brick. Up here in Central Calif, one of my favorite restaurants was built in an old theater. The owners finally decided to move their business, because the cost of retrofitting outweighed the cost of building a new place. When we remodeled our home, our current code required that the "New" addition be up to code for things like shear walls, but the older part of the house didn't need to be updated. So I told my wife, if there is an earthquake, go to the new part of our house. As far as cost, here in CA, earthquake insurance is offered, but it isn't something you have to have, where as if you have a mortgage, the bank will require you to have insurance, but just not earthquake insurance - the frequency of earthquake damage in one particular area is relatively small - you're betting that that 100-200 year quake that they keep telling you about doesn't come in your lifetime. When I taked with my insurance agent, when we bought our current home - all new construction - she pretty much said that earthquake ins would be a waste of money with a new house.

                                • 14. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                                  Nancy OShea Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  <The owners finally decided to move their business, because the cost of retrofitting outweighed the cost of building a new place.>

                                   

                                  Yeah.  Downtown Los Angles is home to a lot of great old concrete buildings that have never been retrofitted.  Back in the day, concrete was the preferred building material because it resisted fire.

                                   

                                  The current owners have 25 years to bring them up to current earthquake code.   Wow, 25 years!  Unless the LA Conservancy makes them landmarks, I'm willing to bet most will be torn down to save money.  

                                  • 15. Re: Don’t We Need Disaster Resilient Buildings?
                                    Brian Stoppee Adobe Community Professional

                                    https://forums.adobe.com/people/Chuck+Uebele  wrote

                                     

                                    Up here in Central Calif, one of my favorite restaurants was built in an old theater. The owners finally decided to move their business, because the cost of retrofitting outweighed the cost of building a new place.

                                     

                                    That's the difficult component to this, Chuck: the cost to preserve historic structures can be such a financially painful situation that business owners and homeowners cannot afford to stay where they want to be. It become a local rallying call to find ways to make a region's heritage risk resilient.