Building Resilient Commercial Buildings to Withstand Natural Disasters and Climate Change

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Chris Jackson

Business Development Manage

2176 Last modified by the author on 16/06/2023 - 14:20
Building Resilient Commercial Buildings to Withstand Natural Disasters and Climate Change

 

Resiliency is an essential aspect of a commercial building as this will decide how long the commercial buildings shall withstand destructive situations such as natural disasters and climate change.

Natural disasters pertain to any form of extreme weather conditions that pose a significant threat to health, safety, and property. Severe weather conditions include floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, earthquakes, wildfires, or any combination of these, which is an event no one wants to experience.   

Climate change goes hand in hand with natural disasters as the changing surface temperature of the earth promotes the possibility of more natural disasters in many ways, such as large amounts of water vapor by the hot temperatures shall become fuel for heavy rains making them more destructive for humans, properties, and animals. To demonstrate the catastrophic natural disasters leave, here are some notable natural disasters in the United States and the costs of repairs:    

  • Hurricane Harvey in 2017: This category four hurricane 2017 left a massively destructive effect across Houston, Texas. It produced over 30 inches of rain, destroying about 200,000 residences and commercial buildings.    

  • Hurricane Katrina in 2010: What started as a category one storm in the north of Miami, Florida, then transformed into a category three, Hurricane Katrina brought nothing but destruction from its arsenal of heavy rain, strong winds, and rising sea levels. The estimated cost of this severe hurricane is 180 billion dollars, about $550 per person in the US.    

  • Heatwave / Drought in 1988: A massive heatwave or drought hit the United States from June to August 1988, affecting farmers and agricultural industries that impacted food production. The heatwave produced fatalities and costs estimated at 54.4 billion dollars.   

Creating resilient commercial buildings to withstand the effects of natural disasters   

Over the years, the destructive effects of natural disasters are getting intense, and nothing can change that. The thing you can do about this is to get prepared to mitigate its impact, at least, and rebuild it with ease. One way to do it is to create resilient establishments that simultaneously withstand and recover from such effects. The resiliency of these establishments, such as commercial buildings, comes from the materials used and how the buildings get erected.    

Focusing on specific dangers  

When creating resilient commercial buildings, you must know what your enemies are and their adverse effects on your structure. There are areas where only a specific natural disaster happens, and it's wise to focus on its withstanding that specific disaster's destructive effects. Here are the things to focus on:   

  • Resilience to drought and heatwaves: Providing resiliency against drought and heatwaves is the same since you are dealing with the hot weather. To provide resilience against these two natural disasters, include creating green spaces around the environment to reduce the heat as it maintains the area relaxed and comfortable. Another way is to store rainwater to provide moisture in the ground in cases of drought and heatwave.  

  • Resilience to flooding: Commercial buildings near the sea need to install products or modify the structure to provide strength to flooding. One way is to elevate the establishment at least two meters above the ground so that flood water will only pass through the establishment.   

  • Resilience to Freezing Cold: To prevent the harsh effects of freezing weather, apply insulating products around the establishment to avoid the loss of heat inside. This natural disaster only happens in most areas, but it's always right to prepare for such instances. 

  • Resilience to Strong Winds: A way to prepare for the destruction strong winds provide is for you to build round or oval-shaped establishments, as these can mitigate the strength of the wind and eliminates the event of flying roofs that might cause harm in its area. 

Installing products that promote resiliency   

Creating resilient commercial buildings is not limited to creating one from scratch, as you can also install products to add protection from natural disasters and the adverse effects of climate change. Here's a list of materials and products you can use for creating resilient commercial buildings:   

Materials
 

  • Material #1 - Fiber-Reinforced Polymers: Fiber-reinforced-polymers are popular construction materials when it comes to creating resilient commercial buildings due to their lightweight and robust features that can provide additional protection and support to facilities and is also best used for retrofit applications, especially on building columns and beams when rebuilding an establishment.  

  • Material #2 – Cross Laminated Timber: Cross-laminated timber is a strong and durable construction material perfect for a resilient design for your commercial building. This type of timber consists of layers of wood panels in alternating directions and stacking with adhesive agents. It covers both aspects of resiliency as it can withstand earthquakes due to its thick frame and can provide faster retrofit projects of dilapidated buildings as you can get it pre-fabricated. You only need a few joints to install this timber in using this type of protective timber. A genuinely great material fit for resilient commercial building projects.    

  • Material #3 – Sustainable Materials: Areas prone to natural calamities experience destructive effects on their establishments, which means mainly rebuilding happens. When you talk about rebuilding, sustainable materials are what you need to quickly rebuild the affected buildings and make them even more robust than their former build. Sustainable materials include bamboo, straw, recycled materials, and even rammed earth.   

Products   

There are existing products that also promote resiliency against natural disasters. These products include weather and shock-resistant products in the event of heavy rain or earthquakes. Commercial buildings contain essential components to keep them operating, and resilient products are what you need to mitigate at least the damage it gives to these components. Products like the hinged metal access door are one of the many products that can protect essential elements, and you can easily install them on retrofit projects.   

Final Thoughts   

The adverse effects of climate change are shown one by one all over the world. Groups of people are willing to stop or at least mitigate the destructive impact of climate change. Suppose you are not one of these groups. In that case, your role is to prepare appropriately for the natural disasters caused by climate change, and one way to do it is to create resilient establishments for the benefit of everyone.  

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