WASHINGTON — ASHRAE, along with organizations in America’s design and construction industry and building owners and operators, have agreed for the first time to incorporate resilience in planning, building materials selection, design, construction, and operational techniques to make the nation’s aging infrastructure safe and more secure.

The leadership of almost 24 leading design and construction industry associations with more than 700,000 members generating almost $1 trillion in GDP used the occasion of “Building Safety Month” to issue a joint statement on resilience.

The statement was unveiled at a press conference at the National Building Museum, where the Designing for Disaster exhibition presents design and building solutions for disaster mitigation.

“We recognize that natural and man-made hazards pose an increasing threat to the safety of the public and the vitality of our nation,” reads the statement, in part. “We further recognize that contemporary planning, building materials, design, construction, and operational techniques can make our communities more resilient to these threats.”

The leadership committed their design and construction sector organizations to significantly improve the resilience of the nation’s entire built environment through research into new materials, construction procedures, and other methods to improve the standard of practice. Among other things, they also committed the industry to educating itself through continuous learning, advocating for effective land use policies, responding to disasters alongside first responders, and planning for future events with a strategy for fast recovery.

“The built environment industry strives to design, construct, and operate buildings to withstand both natural disasters and man-made hazards,” ASHRAE president Bill Bahnfleth said. “We must use the knowledge gleaned from disasters like the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Superstorm Sandy, last year’s Oklahoma City tornado, and others, as well as predictions of the effects of climate change to our advantage to save lives and infrastructure in the future. ASHRAE is pleased to stand beside these other organizations in making this commitment to protect the public and our building stock.”

In addition to ASHRAE, organizations signing onto the joint statement on resilience include: American Council of Engineering Companies; American Institute of Architects; American Planning Association; American Society of Civil Engineers; American Society of Interior Designers; American Society of Landscape Architects; American Society of Plumbing Engineers; Associated Builders and Contractors; Associated General Contractors of America; Building Owners and Managers Association; International Code Council; International Interior Design Association; Lean Construction Institute; National Association of Home Builders; National Institute of Building Sciences; International Facility Management Association; National Society of Professional Engineers; Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors; Urban Land Institute; and U.S. Green Building Council.

Publication date: 6/16/2014

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