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May is National Building Safety Month, and in support of the President’s efforts during this important month, the Corps is fostering resilience and emphasizing building codes. Resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions (Executive Order 13563). Implementation of building codes is a highly effective way to increase project and community resilience. With this website, we are highlighting aspects of community resilience and building design and siting. Expand the text and click the tiles below for information on each subject.
Nationally and internationally, there are many efforts underway to help improve resilience where it matters the most – at local levels for greater community resilience. A community can be defined at almost any scale, shape, or size, but always represents a collection of interconnected people, environments, services, economies, infrastructure, etc. In community resilience, emphasis is placed on bringing together a broad base of stakeholders and supporting partners to help a community define its greatest risks and support decisions that decrease those risks and increase resilience. The Corps is a part of the support team made up of other federal partners, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology; non-governmental partners including the National Academies of Sciences and the Society for American Military Engineers; academia; the private sector; and, of course, state, regional, and local organizations and individuals.
In March of 2015, the Chief of Engineers established the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Resilience Initiative. The Corps has long-incorporated resilience into its projects and delivered resilient solutions, and the lead for this initiative is the Chief of Engineering and Construction because our infrastructure is at the heart of what the Corps provides for resilience. This initiative is intended to update the Corps’ standards and criteria to reflect the most current risk-informed decision-making practices for improved project resilience and to provide greater support to community resilience both locally and through national policies. This initiative applies to all of the Corps and to resilience at project, system, and community levels.
Building codes are sets of minimum standards and guidelines for the siting, design, construction and operation of buildings. Building codes are designed to provide for the health and safety of residents and occupants.
Building codes, when properly applied and enforced, protect people and property. Building codes are especially important in areas that are prone to specific disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, floods) or for buildings where failure would be catastrophic (e.g., hospitals, schools, or nuclear facilities).
Building codes, when properly applied and enforced, protect people and property. Building codes are especially important in areas that are prone to specific disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, floods) or for buildings where failure would be catastrophic (e.g., hospitals, schools, or nuclear facilities). Globally, an important foundation of infrastructure resilience is the use and enforcement of building codes.
As the resilience field continues to mature, the Corps anticipates that building codes, design standards and criteria will include resilience-specific considerations. Meaning that, while building codes and design standards, like those highlighted through this website, help to increase resilience when applied, they do not yet, by and large, include elements that set them apart as “resilient-specific” building codes, standards, and/or criteria. The Corps is looking to evolve its own standards and criteria to specifically include resilience considerations, such as risk, adaptability to uncertain future conditions and unknown rates and scale of change, and recovery criteria. The Building Resilience website will reflect and highlight those updates as they come about.