A Coalition of industry associations from across the Pacific Northwest have joined forces to build a more resilient future for the region.
Operating across British Columbia, Alberta, Washington and Oregon, the Pacific Northwest Building Resilience Coalition (PNBRC) promotes the design and construction of resilient buildings better able to resist fire and water damage, and able to withstand extreme weather impacts and disasters such as earthquakes and wild fires
There was no one issue or event that sparked the formation of the Coalition. Rather it was a growing awareness among some of the most experienced experts in the construction industry of the need for safer, healthier, and more energy efficient buildings for growing communities, while at the same time reducing vulnerabilities to natural disaster risks.
It is a daunting challenge. The demand for more affordable housing is rising at a time when land, building materials and construction costs are also rising. This has led to situations where choices of location, materials and construction methods could create risks that home owners or commercial property owners/managers are unprepared to bear.
Coalition members, mainly in the concrete, cement, masonry and reinforcing steel sectors, realized that consumers, policy makers, engineers, architects and community leaders needed to better understand the risks created by such choices.
The urgency of the need for better communication on these issues was soured by the devasting impacts of wild fires in British Columbia, Washington and Alberta that destroyed communities and claimed many lives. Extreme weather events across the region also laid bare the harsh realities that many homes and business establishments were unable to withstand or recover from the damage caused by floods and wind.
One of the first undertakings of the Coalition was a critical examination by Vancouver-based GLOBE Advisors of carbon sequestration in wood-based building products. This study examined the basis of industry claims that wood-based building products were less expensive, more environmentally friendly, and carbon neutral in their impacts compared to traditional concrete or steel structures. Based on peer-reviewed findings, the GLOBE study confirmed many of these claims were vastly overstated.
The Coalition has developed a suite of communications portals to make known the need for Building Better Buildings, and the importance of ensuring building codes and land use planning adequately addresses the need for resiliency in the face of changing climate realities.
Drawing upon the research efforts of the Portland Cement Association and the Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Coalition members are reaching out to industry and government leaders to develop policies and programs that will lead to more durable and sustainable homes, buildings, and infrastructure.
Partnerships have been formed with the U.S. National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, the Cement Association of Canada, and the U.S. Resiliency Council, each of whom are represented at this year’s PNWER Summit.
The Summit’s Disaster Resilience Symposium is a great opportunity to inform elected officials, legislators and others about the importance of resiliency planning. That is why the Coalition is pleased to sponsor a keynote address by Evan Reis, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the U.S. Resiliency Council.
The pioneering work of the Council has helped greatly to raise awareness of the need to rethink how we build our cities and towns to make them more resilient to hazards thought impossible only a decade ago.
Over the next week do connect with delegates from the Coalition member associations and learn about how we can build a more resilient future for all.
The Coalition members include: The Northwest Cement Council, Concrete BC, Concrete Alberta, Portland Cement Association, the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, the Oregon Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association, the Washington Aggregate and Concrete Association, the Northwest Concrete Masonry Association, the Masonry Institute of Washington, the Insulating Concrete Forms Manufacturers Association and the Puget Sound Concrete Specification Council.