Expect the Unexpected

Disaster planning gets dicey.

Diana-120x150As extreme weather events and natural disasters continue to make headlines, robust disaster planning has never been more important to multifamily owner/investors and their operations teams. In the past two years the Northeast was hit by major storms Irene and Sandy, the Midwest has dealt with raging wildfires and the rest of the country has had more than its share of tornados, earthquakes, drought and major winter storms. In 2012 alone there were 11 extreme weather events in the U.S., and each had damages exceeding $1 billion.

In the August 2013 issue of MHN Magazine (Property Management feature) we provide a host of useful tips, from ensuring lines of communication remain open before, during and after a weather event, to protecting the building’s envelope during a disaster. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), it’s also important to stay ahead of climate change trends. NRDC recommends factoring in the impact of flooding, drought, water scarcity and other events even if they don’t seem likely in the area.

NRDC outlines a six-step process that includes educating people about climate change, setting up groups to talk about risks, strategies that can be used to reduce impact, implementing a plan and updating that plan as new information comes in. In this month’s Development & Design feature MHN takes a look at weather-resistant construction technologies. Developers are looking for architects and engineers willing to think outside the box for maximum protection against the elements that will protect their investment and, of course, the welfare of apartment residents and employees.

For example, impact glass and high-wind roofing shingles are being utilized beyond the required coastal zones. After disasters, building codes are typically evaluated to determine if changes need to be made. Developers usually have to weigh the benefits—and costs—of exceeding code.

We’ll be following this topic. If you come across interesting new materials or methods that can help apartment communities better withstand the effects of extreme weather, let us know. We will include your case study in an upcoming issue of MHN Magazine.

Diana Mosher
Editorial Director
dmosher@multi-housingnews.com