Twenty-one associations representing professionals responsible for the design, construction, and operation of buildings, homes, transportation systems, landscapes, and public spaces recently announced an agreement to promote resilience: the ability to plan and prepare for, absorb, recover from, and adapt to adverse events.

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

The group expressed a commitment to:

  • Researching materials, design techniques, construction procedures, and other methods to improve standards of practice.
  • Educating their members through continuous learning.
  • Advocating effective land-use policies, modern building codes, and smarter investment in the construction and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure at all levels of government.
  • Responding alongside professional emergency managers when disasters occur.
  • Planning for the future.

“The promotion of resilience will improve the economic competitiveness of the United States,” the statement reads. “Disasters are expensive to respond to, but much of the destruction can be prevented with cost-effective mitigation features and advanced planning. Our practices must continue to change, and we commit ourselves to the creation of new practices in order to break the cycle of destruction and rebuilding.”

The organizations that signed the joint statement on resilience are:

  • American Council of Engineering Companies.
  • The 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.
  • ASHRAE.
  • Associated Builders and Contractors Inc.
  • The Associated General Contractors of America.
  • Building Owners and Managers Association International.
  • International Code Council.
  • International Facility Management Association.
  • International Interior Design Association.
  • Lean Construction Institute.
  • National Association of Home Builders.
  • National Institute of Building Sciences.
  • National Society of Professional Engineers.
  • Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
  • U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Urban Land Institute.

“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.”